Baseline Recruiting organizes inaugural basketball showcase at Kiski School
Shane Phillips started Baseline Recruiting because he thought he could help a number of players from the WPIAL get recruited to play college basketball.
Once he realized how rich the area was with talent, he knew the next and most critical step was to form a showcase to boost prospects' chances of getting noticed by college programs.
As a result, the first Baseline Recruiting Showcase will be Sept. 24 at The Kiski School, Saltsburg.
He said other outfits put on growing showcases in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and on the east side of the state, “but there are no legitimate showcases for Western Pennsylvania,” said Phillips, who went to high school in Wheeling and played at South Carolina. “I have some college connections, and it just all came together. You don't have a good showcase without scouts and college coaches.”
More than 80 players have been invited to the showcase, including Hempfield junior Reed Hipps, Latrobe junior Bryce Butler, The Kiski School junior Asa Klimchock (formerly of Greensburg Central Catholic) and Franklin Regional senior Hunter Stonecheck.
Dozens of college coaches will be on hand to scout for potential recruits.
Phillips, a former coach at Bethel Park and Washington & Jefferson, said the area was crying out for a showcase.
“I think geography of the area alone, and the amount of high schools there,” he said, “plus, there's a lot of talented D-III and D-II players that have interest in playing in college but maybe don't get the proper exposure or recognition. I know of a lot of kids that might average 12 points for their high school team but could be major contributors on a college team.”
Phillips was an all-state player and leading scorer as a senior at Wheeling Central Catholic and helped the school win a state championship. But he earned his way as a walk-on at South Carolina, similar to what recent Mars grad Christian Schmitt did.
“There's a lot of factors as to why kids are under-recruited,” Phillips said. “I feel like I'm an example of that when I played. My senior year ... I only had a handful of schools that showed interest in me.
“Plus, with the dynamics of AAU in Western PA, not that many well-run programs invested in the kids, so opportunities are limited. I just wanted to give kids another platform to help get their names out there.”
The showcase also will feature an all-star game.
Greensburg Central Catholic will host its annual preseason varsity hockey tournament beginning this week at Kirk S. Nevin Arena.
In all, 10 teams will compete in pool play, five in the Maroon Division and five in the Silver Division, with division winners meeting Sept. 28 for the championship.
Penn-Trafford takes on Elizabeth Forward in the opening game at 7:15 p.m., followed by Norwin vs. West Allegheny at 8:45.
Other teams in the event are Thomas Jefferson, South Fayette, Hempfield, Greensburg Salem, South Park and Greensburg C.C.
The PIHL varsity season opens Oct. 2.
The Westmoreland County Coaches Association fall schedule begins Monday with the girls golf individual championship. The tournament, expected to draw around 40 players, is a nine-hole event and will be played at 12:30 p.m. at Hannastown Golf Club.
The WCCA boys golf championship will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 14 at Latrobe Elks. There are 17 schools and more than 100 individuals scheduled to compete in the 18-hole event.
The boys and girls cross country championships will be Oct. 12 at Westmoreland County Community College. The boys race begins at 3 p.m. with the girls following at 3:40. A junior varsity race goes around 4.
The WCCA's winter schedule includes the wrestling championships Jan. 5-6 at Norwin, boys and girls swimming and diving Jan. 26-27 at Derry and boys and girls track and field championships April 28 at Latrobe.