Dave Nichols: All-star basketball showcase to make delayed debut after three-year break

Let’s try this again.

Three years ago, I asked my bosses if the paper could organize and sponsor boys and girls high school all-star basketball games to showcase the best players east of the Cascades. I wrote a several-page proposal with footnotes and charts.

It didn’t take much convincing actually. As long as the organizational duties didn’t get in the way of my day job – and we could make sure the financial aspect would work itself out – everyone was on board.

As it turned out, everyone in town involved in basketball loved the idea and wanted to be part of it.

We found a gym and a date, invited players and coaches, lined up officials and other volunteer staff. We designed a 16-page program and sold advertising. We ordered uniforms, T-shirts and trophies for the players. SWX was going to broadcast and stream the games.

Then four days before the games were supposed to be played in March 2020, the world shut down.

The Pandemic robbed a lot of people of a lot of things. So, The Spokesman-Review High School Basketball Showcase getting canceled Ranks more along the lines of “big bummer” as opposed to, well, much worse things that could have happened.

We thought about trying to bring the games back last year, but with teams still forced to postpone or cancel games during the season due to COVID-19 outbreaks in their schools, it seemed prudent not to force it.

Now that we’re another year out, and with things pretty close to “normal,” we feel confident enough to try this again.

(Re)Introducing The Spokesman-Review High School Basketball Showcase!

The girls game will Honor Jack Blair, the Central Valley and Lewis and Clark Coach and administrator. The game was the idea of ​​Ron Adams, the Spokane Stars girls AAU coach, who wanted a way to honor his friend and co-founder of the Stars program. It was held for 25 years, until 2018 when Adams had to step back from it, and featured dozens of college-bound players.

The boys game will Honor Denny Humphrey, the Hall of Fame boys Coach at Cheney and Ritzville. Humphrey Retired in 2002 as the fourth-winningest Coach in the state with a career record of 552-277. They currently still Rank 12th.

The games will be held March 14 at Lewis and Clark High School. The girls game will start at 5:15 pm; the boys game will follow at 7.

These games will pit “Metro” against “Region” all-stars and will promote the highest quality of high school basketball and provide the players an opportunity to play with and against the best basketball players – Seniors and underclassmen – that Eastern and Central Washington and North Idaho has to offer.

Since it’s an in-season game we can’t invite current coaches to participate, so we’ll ask retired area coaches, who should be celebrated in their own right, to help us out in that regard.

The “Metro” teams will be comprised of Greater Spokane League all-league selections and college-bound players, based on availability.

The “Region” teams will feature all-league players from the Mid-Columbia and Big 9 conferences, North Idaho and outstanding players from smaller schools in the area.

Our games will be the first all-star games to be played in the Pacific Northwest each season. By playing two weeks after the state tournament, the players will still be in “basketball shape.”

When we tried this in 2020, only one invited player had to decline the Initiation due to a prior commitment – ​​and we even had players from the West Side reach out with interest.

Our goal is to make these competitive, entertaining basketball games and an annual event and marquee attraction during the high school sports year.

We expect these games will generate heavy media attention, both in Spokane and across the state, and they will be promoted heavily in the paper and by our media partners.

We hope the basketball community of Spokane will be as fired up about this event as we are, and we hope to see you on March 14 for the Inaugural Spokesman-Review Basketball Showcase!

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