In the past I usually wrote a story about the happenings of the workouts after each day. I had time to come back and analyze how the players performed, how they did or did not live up to their expected play. With today’s social media, a 24-hour window is now down to 24-seconds. The advent or Twitter, SocialCam, InstaGram and Facebook have made contemplation wasteful and immediacy the key to credibility.
The style of reporting is now two-fold, immediate and contemplative. You can tweet the score, socialcam a moment, post a picture and be in the moment. Later on you can add more interesting material but not the immediate, it now has to blend both and be worth reading.
The first day of the USAB17u trials started with a Thursday evening session of drills and shooting. Almost all of the players were returning from last year’s participation in the 16U FIBA Americas Zone Championship team tryouts. Some high school players made it onto the 19u FIBA World Championship team last year in Chile. Most of those high school participants will be here on Saturday for the opening of the 18U America’s Zone team. This 17U group is competing for a spot on the USA team that will play in the FIBA World Championships to be help in Amsterdam in August right after the Olympics in London.
All the members of last year’s gold medal 16U FIBA Americas Zone team were here as were new faces joining the crowd. The usual players, the big name, high-ranking were the focus of attention for members of the Media in attendance. This is the one platform of high school competition where there is as little bias as possible along with most of the best players in America in their class. You can’t hide here, you have to hit shots, you have to step up and defend, you have to make plays and deliver the ball. Excuses start to fade away as each player with some level of hype gets exposed as the real deal or a pretender.
The second day of competition on Friday was full of drills, half court breadowns and in the later part of the day, games between set teams of about 8 players each. The norm is for a package of six games, 15-minutes each which lasts about an hour, 30 minutes. Each team gets to play three times during the rotation. With all this play it’s easy to determine who are the best on the court and in their respective class. The teams have some set plays but in the end each player has to bring their talent to the floor. As noted, you can’t hide.
A few people out there who do Media and Rankings have anointed themselves as experts under the guise of their affiliation. Parents are very easily susceptible to this hype and in turn become victims of it or even purveyors of this same hype. This is another benefit of being asked to compete on this platform and get as much feedback as possible. Is this the perfect venue? Not bad if you look at the other options in a shrinking calendar.
The level of digital communications has opened up new options for players and “experts” to become more engaged with the basketball community to the point of creating a fan base for themselves. With these new options the crew of Blue Star Media people (Kevin Lynch, Mark Lewis, Prentice Beverly) covering the USAB trials for both 17u and 18u were given the opportunity to bring immediacy to this event by using the new tech of Twitter and SocialCam to alert people to the play of the young athletes. Game play, drills work, interviews were now available to our followers on an almost instant basis. If kept everyone engaged and informed.
Do I miss the old “system” of watching, writing and posting of a day-long story at the end of each session? Not in the least. People can now make their own opinion on what they view from our SocialCam, Instagram and Facebook posts. Our job is to present the viewer, reader, observer, lurker, fan the opportunity to engage Blue Star Media and the sport they enjoy from an advanced digital perspective. Will writing go away? Not in the near future. The people with Blue Star Media will continue to find new digital avenues to bring you right there with the best information.
Mike Flynn is owner and operator of Blue Star Basketball and U.S. Junior Nationals. He is a National Evaluator and publishes the Blue Star Report which ranks the top 100 high school girls basketball players in the nation. He also serves as Secretary of the Middle Atlantic District AAU, National Chair for AAU Lacrosse, Consultant to Gatorade for girls basketball, member of the McDonald's All–American selection committee, & Consultant for Nike Global Basketball.
Follow Mike FlynnWebsite: www.bluestarbb.com/