Those who invest their summers on travel teams are driven by the desire to play collegiate basketball.
The summer travel tour has evolved into the ideal platform for guys and girls looking for experience outside of their high school gymnasium. It’s where coaches at the next stage are intrigued, and scholarship offers are offered.
Families invest their hard-earned cash in traveling to and from competitions in order to gain such exposure.
Is it, however, worthwhile?
Craig Jackson, the program coordinator of a girls’ travel basketball program, stated, “I feel it’s beginning to get out of hand. Now you have coaches and competitions every weekend”.
“It’s more about college recognition and promotion than anything else, and getting your team into such tournaments is extremely costly and drains the pocket. The tournament directors will undoubtedly inform you of who will be present. Which schools have which mentors.”
The price of fame
Andrew Bergim, Peter Bergim’s son, is a student at Lincoln High School, where he has been a member of the varsity basketball team since he was in eighth grade. Andrew is also in his fourth season as a quarterback starter for the sporting club.
When it comes to their kid’s ability and potential, the senior Bergim advises parents to remain practical.
“How far you want your child to go is entirely up to you.” The true best players must be seen. “The greater the player, the more travel is worthwhile,” he explained. “I believe all parents believe their child is an exceptional player, but then you go to an exclusive event, lose by 35 points, and your child hardly even plays. It’s time to wake up.”
Back to basics
Many summer teams’ shoot-first, pass-second attitude has been accused of eroding fundamentals and developing bad basketball habits, which are typically apparent after players are back to their high school teams.
Ryan Meyer, a second-year girls’ trainer who hasn’t been enticed to lead a summer travel team, recognizes the benefits and drawbacks.
“It’s a wonderful recruitment tool for me, a great opportunity and platform for students to receive exposure, and a great opportunity for college coaches to assess,” he added.
“However, (high) school ball may sometimes provide the coach a more accurate image of how they’ll work within their squad once they’ve pledged. They’ll have a better sense of how they get along with their colleagues and the team organization.”
New friends, new foes
Travel basketball is great at getting players out of their comfort bubble so they may improve as players and individuals.
Kate Bunting, a senior guard for Whiteland, is a summer rookie. Bunting entered her debut travel basketball team during her freshman and sophomore years, unlike the majority of the athletes she sees in practices and games.
Bunting wishes she had begun sooner, but she is content with the present.
“I just adore traveling basketball. It’s exciting to meet new girls, establish new friends, and travel to new locations,” Bunting added. “About a week before the Derby, I was in Frankfort, and we watched so many fireworks.” It was incredible.