On the fourth episode of Inside the Lines Podcast, Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association (AHSADCA) director Jamie Lee came on to the show to discuss the first annual AHSAA Elite 100 showcase held in Hoover last week. Lee, who spent 16 years as a basketball head coach in the state, said the administration was very pleased with how well the event unfolded.
“We’re fortunate to have some really good basketball coaches in our state who jumped in with us,” Lee said. “From our staff’s side, we didn’t feel like it could go much better honestly. We spent a lot of hours in our office to try to get it ready and create a great product for our players and coaches.”
More than 60 high school coaches participated in the two camps, one at Hoover for boys basketball and one at Spain Park for girls basketball. This was the first time the NCAA and the AHSAA teamed up to provide a camp for high school athletes to showcase their talents in front of college coaches and recruiters.
“As long as the NCAA continues to work with the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) and wants high school associations to be involved, we will continue to be involved,” Lee said. “We have some ideas that might enhance the overall experience but yes, we will definitely continue to do this going forward.”
The event is already listed on the 2020 NCAA recruiting calendar for men’s basketball and Lee said the association is already working on finding ways to improve the camp next season. Some of those changes could come from suggestions made by the more than 40 college coaches in attendance who provided the AHSAA with plenty of feedback.
“Just that day, we had a lot of them come up to us to thank us for taking the time to do it,” Lee said. “They appreciated the way it was organized. We got a lot of feedback from them and we got a couple of suggestions but they were all very positive and supportive of what we are trying to do.”
Tallassee’s Tyrek Turner and Dadeville’s PJ Eason represented the local schools and each had stand out performances in front of the college coaches. They were joined by some of the top basketball recruits in the state, including Mark Sears of Muscle Shoals, Rongie Gordon of Jeff Davis and Colby Jones of Mountain Brook.
“I think basketball is in a great position in our state and it’s moving forward,” Lee said. “We have some good college programs in our state. I think we’re in a great place right now and I know we have a lot of really good players in our state.”
While providing opportunities for exposure is a top priority for the AHSAA, Lee wanted to make it clear there are more responsibilities as a high school coach.
While many players want to go play at the next level, most will not get that chance and Lee said he wants coaches to make sure each player is prepared to succeed at whatever they do.
“I think we have to make sure our high school coaches understand they have a platform that most people don’t have,” Lee said. “They’re not all going to coach the PJ Eason’s of the world. We want to use the game of basketball to teach those life lessons. Most of ours do that but I want to continue to enhance that.”
If you want to listen to the full interview with Lee, you can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and our websites. Lee also shared his thoughts on the possible use of a shot clock in high school basketball and the chance of seeing instant replay on the hardwood in Alabama.