CARLSBAD — With the beautiful Carlsbad coastline as the backdrop and the historical Army and Navy Academy school site as the setting, more than 200 of the region’s top basketball players participated in the inaugural 3P Crème of the County basketball showcase, which organizers said was a major success.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected it to turn out the way it did,” said Aaron Burgin, a Coast News staff writer, who in his spare time is a basketball scout and operator of the Full-Time Hoops scouting service. “We are extremely excited and elated with both the turnout and the great basketball action on display.”
Jim Thompson, the founder of the nonprofit 3 Point Play, the event’s title sponsor, was also impressed with the event.
“It went off without a hitch,” Thompson said. “You can’t ask for more than that.”
The Crème of the County gave middle- and high-school basketball players a chance to showcase their talents in front of several college coaches and basketball scouts, as well as their families. It was held at Army Navy’s Duffield Sports Center.
Burgin, who partnered with Army Navy about two months ago to host the showcase, said the gymnasium was the perfect venue.
“Duffield is one of the newer basketball gyms in the county, and it’s large enough that it can house the fans, but intimate enough so that fans really get to see the action up close and personal,” Burgin said. “We’re already looking forward to next year.”
Craig Matthews, the school’s facility events coordinator, echoed Burgin’s sentiments.
“We were definitely pleased with the turnout and the reception to the event, all the way around,” Matthews said. “Everything ran smoothly and the basketball action was top notch.”
Each player played in one showcase game- the “Crème” games were reserved for players who are considered among the top 20 players in their graduating classes, and “Select” games were for other local standouts.
Several of North County’s brightest basketball talents were on display, including Richard Polanco, a junior at the host school, who is being recruited by several Division 1 universities, including the University of Southern California; and Taurus Samuels, a sophomore point guard at Vista High School who is also being recruited by a number of Division 1 schools.
Samuels said he enjoyed some of the additional activities at the showcase, including stations where the players were measured, weighed and had their wingspan and vertical leap measured.
“It made it feel more like a combine than a showcase,” Samuels said. “It was definitely one of the best showcases I’ve attended.”
The Coast News was one of the event sponsors.