High school basketball season was supposed to have ended last weekend.
Travel team basketball — what we’ll call “AAU’’ for convenience — was supposed to begin its high-profile, college exposure events this weekend.
That's not happening, of course. The full April schedule of showcase events for evaluation by college coaches is, at best, in jeopardy.
It means that, in all high school/college sports, the recruiting calendar has been trashed, the traditional methods of coaches finding and procuring players scuttled.
Opportunities to be seen by college coaches in person will thus be on the endless list of things lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
“For some kids, not getting to compete, it’s going to be a big struggle for them to get noticed,’’ said Tom Baughman, the girls basketball coach at Donegal High School.
Baughman is also Director of Athletic Operations at Spooky Nook Sports complex, oversees the Spooky Nook Basketball Academy and coaches the Nook’s 16-under girls showcase team.
“For some of the older kids, the concern is they’re missing their chance,’’ Baughman said.
The NCAA has suspended in-person recruiting, including evaluations, through April 15.
The Hoop Group, the New Jersey-based company that runs many of the top showcases in the Northeast, including the boys Spring Jam Fest at Spooky Nook scheduled for April 18-20, is closed through April 1, according to its Twitter feed.
Multiple phone calls and emails to Hoop Group have not been returned.
The first big event for Baughman’s team had been scheduled for this weekend at Spooky Nook, although the facility is closed, except for the hotel, through March 30.
LA Cats, a member of the LA Elite AAU program in Lancaster County, is a boys travel program that is entered in the Spring Jam Fest at Spooky Nook and a bigger event the weekend of April 24-26 in Pittsburgh.
“We’re paid and registered,’’ said Doug Kraft, the Cats’ coach. “But I really don’t think there’s going to be a spring AAU season.’’
The spring and summer AAU circuit, in recruiting terms, is mostly for high school juniors and sophomores. For seniors (the current high school class of 2020), the work is mostly done.
There are exceptions, and they could be acutely impacted if the spring season doesn’t happen.
Still, Kraft said, “I hope we have a spring season, but let’s be honest. It’s not that important right now.’’
Baughman said he’s in regular contact with his players through a team app and Facebook page, giving them workouts they can do at home and simply keeping the gang together.
“As soon as this ends, everybody’s going to be looking to get back in the gym,’’ he said. “So I tell them, don’t be bored — pick up a basketball.’’