High school girls basketball players get chance to showcase their talents

Full time collegiate student-athlete writing about the ins and outs of women’s basketball, both as a spectator and as a player.

 

 

As a high school girl basketball player, the opportunities to showcase your talents can be hard to come by depending on the school district you play for. For those who aspire to continue their athletic careers into college, getting a chance to play in front of college scouts is now readily available for those near the DFW metroplex.

Fieldhouse USA, located in Frisco, Texas, hosts a plethora of tournaments each year. There are two in particular that draw the most crowds. The Super 64 National Showcase held in July and the Heart of Texas Showcase held in April contain anywhere from 256-352 girl’s basketball teams in one weekend, with games tipping off back to back across 12 courts.

This past weekend, the Heart of Texas Showcase hit the hardwood and attracted crowds in the thousands. Over 300 girl’s basketball team competed between the lines over the weekend, with every team guaranteed at least three games in front of possible college scouts.

Women’s basketball coaching greats like Geno Auriemma and Kim Mulkey have been spotted taking a seat on the sidelines, with all Division One conferences being represented.

Games ended for the Heart of Texas Showcase on Sunday evening, with the next NCAA certified tournament at the Fieldhouse, the Super 64 National Championship, gearing up on July 6.

Take a look into the atmosphere of the Heart of Texas Showcase with this audio story, linked below.

Dallas wins big with 2017 NCAA Tournament

Full time collegiate student-athlete writing about the ins and outs of women’s basketball, both as a spectator and as a player.

 

 

Not only did the National Championship game garner national attention with the surprise matchup of SEC schools South Carolina and Mississippi State, but it in fact was the NCAA’s first sellout game since 2014 with 19,221 in attendance.

In total, 38,431 people were in attendance within the two-game span. Viewership also increased with 3,886,000 viewers for the national championship game, which was a 29 percent increase over 2016’s. The hashtag #WFinalFour reached an estimated 1.7 billion social media accounts and all four teams competing became top 10 trending topics nationally throughout the Final Four weekend.

The “Tourney Town” that Dallas presented for fans had an average of 6,000 visitors per day. Dallas also held the “The Read to the Final Four” program in which 44 schools in the Dallas Independent School District participated in a bracket-style reading competition, with the schools advancing based on the number of minutes read. The program produced one million total minutes read between all 44 schools that competed.

Overall, bringing the women’s final four to Dallas was not only beneficial for Dallas and the community but also for expanding interest in the women’s game.

“Dallas is such a great city for sports. The Cowboys, the Mavericks, the Rangers, the Stars, and now we have the Wings,” former TCU women’s basketball player Jada Butts said.

“I think having a new WNBA team in the city and then the women’s NCAA tournament has really brought awareness to the sport of women’s basketball.”

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Mouths to Feed: Life After Unlimited Meals

Full time collegiate student-athlete writing about the ins and outs of women’s basketball, both as a spectator and as a player.

 

 

Before April 2014, NCAA rules stipulated that the meal plan provided with full-ride scholarships would do the trick regarding all athlete’s nutrition, but it left many student athletes hungry.

Most famously, Shabazz Napier of UConn sat in a locker room after winning the Division 1 men’s basketball national championship and announced to the media and the public that there were sometimes “hungry nights” where he wasn’t able to eat, but he said he still had to “play up to my capabilities.”

This statement, along with a combination of other movements, caused the NCAA Council to approve “unlimited meals and snacks” for student-athletes in conjunction with their athletics participation. That being said, the new ruling covered not only the athletes that were on full-scholarship, but also those that were walk-ons. Prior to this ruling change, scholarship student-athletes had the ability to receive three meals a day, or be given a food stipend. In other words, this was a major step in the nutrition of student athletes across the US, on scholarship or not.

To get a better idea of how the rule affected different colleges across the country, a couple former athletes were able to give me their experiences as they were witness to the changes while they were in school.

“Before the unlimited meals we only had the option to sit and eat. If we were rushing to a team function or practice we would have to pack snacks before,” TCU basketball player Latricia Lovings said. “With the unlimited meals that took away the pressure of what to eat before practice. We knew if we didn’t have time to stop to grab something we would have a snack in the locker room.”

“We were told that we were able to receive unlimited breads and spreads. Every week or two, we would get some bread, peanut butter, jelly, hummus, trail mix, and cheese sticks in our locker room,” Cal State Northridge volleyball player Julie Haake said.

 

“I loved the new unlimited food ruling. There was a huge difference in the way we were able to fuel our bodies,” Kansas State volleyball player Kersten Kober said. “I personally believe this ruling is extremely valuable to the NCAA and its athletes. Providing athletes with the proper nutrition required to perform is essential.”

 

As an athlete who started my college career in 2013, I experienced life before snacks, and am now experiencing life today with unlimited snacks. The change was jaw dropping from a player’s point of view. I went from understanding that our staff was allowed to buy us bagels but we had to supply our own cream cheese, to having options of almost every kind of topping I could have wanted on a bagel or any other type of food.

Every Minute Counts: Time Constraints for Student-Athletes

Full time collegiate student-athlete writing about the ins and outs of women’s basketball, both as a spectator and as a player. 

 

 

How do you spend your Saturday? More than likely, you spend it quite differently than a Division 1 athlete.

Student-athletes spend a lot of time in Study Hall.

Having been a member of a women’s basketball team for the last four years, I not only have gone through the struggles of time constraints, but I have watched many quit the sport they love because of it. What surprises me the most is how little light has been shed on how much time athletes have to spend on their sport a day, and this is the reason for this week’s topic.

Former Division 1 women’s basketball player Caitlin Diaz spoke on her experiences.

“Playing basketball in college was a blessing, but it takes a strong, committed person to stick it through.”

“We had practice film for an hour, then a two-and-a-half hour to three-hour practice. Then weights,” Diaz said.

This chart shows the total hours that were spent on only sport-related activities per day while in season.

This holds true to most student-athletes across campuses around the United States, no matter the sport.

Spending five or more hours per day on athletic requirements leaves little time to focus on your academics.

 

 

When season rolls around and hitting the road for road games comes around, getting to spend time in class is difficult.

“It is very rare that I attended all of my classes in a course of a week but I was still expected to get everything done for each class,” Diaz said. “It definitely became extremely overwhelming & that’s why it takes strong dedication to be a student-athlete.”

Diaz playing in a non-conference game during her senior year at TCU.

This chart shows the average hours spent per week on athletic activities in season.

Every year, the requirements and the need for success in a sports program goes up, therefore more time is spent working on that particular craft. Some discussions have been raised, with talks of different rules being created by the NCAA.

Schools do their best to help alleviate the stress on students with available tutors and academic advisors, but as the time required for athletic activities goes up it is becoming harder for students to stay ahead.

*charts made by Klara Bradshaw, data collected in 2010 from Washington Post 

Best Competitive Basketball Gyms in DFW

Full time collegiate student-athlete writing about the ins and outs of women’s basketball, both as a spectator and as a player. 

 

 

Every summer, thousands of young girls from across the nation crowd into gyms across North Texas. The reason why? Great talent, great competition, and now great venues.

As a high school basketball player looking to continue their career, the summer tournaments are critical to getting the right exposure and DFW has become the place to do it.

Photo taken during the Heart of Texas Showcase, one of the biggest events of the summer in AAU girl’s basketball.

There are two big gyms that fill the seats with spectators and college coaches, Fieldhouse USA in Frisco and Bob Knight’s Fieldhouse in Duncanville.

Fieldhouse USA hosts a plethora of tournaments each year, but there are two in particular that draw the most crowds. The Super 64 National Showcase held in July and the Heart of Texas Showcase held in April contain anywhere from 256-352 girl’s basketball teams in one weekend, with games tipping off back to back across 12 courts.

Bob Knight’s Fieldhouse is named after the famous coach Bob Knight, who is most known for his near 30-year career as a head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers. The field house opened in 2010 and the facility is a total of 150,000 square feet. Assistant Coach for SMU, Edwina Brown, spoke about DFW becoming the competitive market for women’s basketball. Brown brought in a nationally top-10 recruiting class last season and knows how crucial the DFW area is for recruiting.

Photo taken at Fieldhouse USA in Frisco, Texas.

“I think that it’s because the players are so talented in this area and people from other states wanted to play against the best. The DFW area has become a center for sports because of that competition, along with the job market and I think the population of Dallas,” Brown said.

“People are coming to Texas because they want to compete with the best.”

Any high school player knows the excitement in getting to play in front of their possible future college coaches, and as an old high school player I owe my college career to the exposure I got from playing in those summer tournaments.

*All photos were taken by Klara Bradshaw.