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Josh Tec's Grassroots Showcase Primer

21, Apr 2022

Josh Tec's Grassroots Showcase Primer

LOUISVILLE—Let me note, at the top, that I will save the overtly passionate homerism for my home city for another time. You will be hearing plenty of loving sentiments as the weekend progresses, so don’t worry.  

But, I will remove my Cardinal-red, bourbon-brown, and twin-spire-green tinted glasses to say that both of the Grassroots Showcase events we ran in Louisville were among the best of the year. College coaches, it’s an event that makes your job easy. The airport is literally across the street, parking is convenient, there are hotels everywhere, and there are hundreds of teams with recruitable players to evaluate. It’s a one-stop-shop. That goes for college coaches at every level by the way. There’s something for everyone. 

This event is massive. With three powerhouse platforms converging together during a live period, there’s going to be a lot to take in, so I’m here to try to give coaches, fans, and whoever else a bit of an indication of what I’m looking forward to, what and who I’ll be watching, and more. 

Before delving into the minutiae, here’s what the head honcho himself, Justin Young has to say about the weekend as a whole:

“The beauty of the Grassroots Showcase is really the celebration of the independent teams in travel basketball. This is the best of the best in that category. You won’t find a stage like this anywhere else in the spring. Nowhere. We are looking ahead at guys who will be bracket busters. We see those storylines play out so early in the game because of events like this. There is no parallel.”


A is for Allstars

I don’t like to speak in such blunt terms often, but I staunchly believe that if you’re a college coach in the building, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not watching the Atlanta Allstars this weekend. Both the 2023 and 2024 teams have recruitable players for all levels of college basketball. 

The 2023 group of Allstars runs out three versatile forwards that all stand around 6-foot-9. The trio comprised of Brigham Rogers, Spencer Elliott and Dylan Faulkner have, and continue to, amass a host of offers and interests from D1 programs of all levels. 

Highly-skilled guard Brandon Rechsteiner runs the show for the 2023 Atlanta Allstars, and he’s as good of a guard as there’ll be at the Grassroots Showcase. Rechsteiner has offers and interests from some of the most revered mid-major programs in the country. 

Then across the other guard and wing spots are Mason Etter, Kyle Walters, James Connoly, Carlos Marlow. All receiving and deserving of attention and offers from various levels of college basketball.

Versatile and deep, I can’t think of many teams that will provide more value for college coaches to watch. 

I know 2024 is probably not as much of a focus for a ton of schools right now, but I’d recommend the 2024 Atlanta Allstars as well. The team is as deep with college-level talent as the aforementioned. Get in on these guys sooner than later. 

If you’re a college coach coming to specifically recruit a player from a different team, pencil in an Allstars game or two. They have dudes. I wouldn’t say it so firmly if I didn’t truly believe it. 


Empirical Elation

To say that I’m elated to see 3D Empire again would be the understatement of the year. Last AAU season, the Anthony-Black-led 3D Empire squad was the best independent team in the nation and one of the best teams in the nation period. This program is as good as it gets. 

A group that may have flown a little bit under the radar due to age and the star power of the 2022 team was the 3D Empire 2023 team. They were awesome. I raved about that team so much toward the end of the summer last year, and it looks like the band is back together, which I’m thrilled about. 

6-foot-5 guard Gehrig Normand should be a hot name among coaches. He emerged as a star last season, and he carried that momentum into a bevy of offers from schools ranging from the Big-12 to mid-major schools around the general Texas area. 

If you’re looking for a guy that can light it up from the 3-point line, 6-foot-3 guard Bobby McWard is your guy. 

Also looming on the perimeter are Carter Ruck, Nazir Brown and Sammon Johnson who are all talented prospects. 

Two especially intriguing matchups on their schedule pit 3D Empire against Florida Pro at 4 p.m. on Saturday and against Team Trezz out of North Carolina on Sunday. 


A Midwestern Favorite

I love getting to see teams out of the general HoopSeen geographic landscape, so whenever an opportunity to see MidPro Academy arises, you better believe I get fired up for it. 

Their 2023 group was as fun a team to watch as I got to see last season, so I’ve been chomping at the bit to see them again. Whether it be Iowa-bound big man Owen Freeman, Ethan Kizer soaring through the air with his hair flowing behind him like a cape, Ty Pence, Brock Harding or any of the rest of the bunch, I know I’m in for quality hoops when I sit down to watch this group. 

I know that I’ll be there for at least one of their 2023 games—against CP25 at 1 on Saturday—but I’m also excited to see what some of the younger MidPro guys are lookin’ like. 


Notes from the OG

We heard from Justin Young at the top, but with his 20+ years of experience in this business, I felt that it was important to get some more on what he’s looking forward to specifically. 

Here’s what he has to say about a matchup that he has circled:

“I’m excited to see Xavier Booker of George Hill and Jordan Butler of 1 of 1 lock horns. I’ve been a sucker for a good big man match-up my whole career and this one should have all of the intrigue you want from an opening night game. There will be major colleges on the sidelines and hopefully the match-up will be equally as grand. Give me a pairing of top 50 prospects all day long in the NCAA Live Period.”

JY on some prospects to watch:

“April is an interesting point on the recruiting calendar because I think you can still find guys who can help right away. We have two players in the HoopSeen Association that I think college coaches will want to see right away. Jaborri Mcghee of CP25 AL/MS and Trey Byrd of Team Trezz. Both guys have been cooking all spring and for programs needing a pop in the 2022 class, I think these guys are worth a good long look.”


Tennessee Flavor

Between the Stars Basketball teams, the Tennessee Blazers, the Tennessee Tigers, Team Brandan Wright and Team Mookie, Tennessee will be well-represented inside the KY Fair and Expo Center. I have most of them penciled in on my schedule, but I need to make sure I see as many of the Volunteer State teams as I can because they always have great teams and players. 


Josh Tec

Josh Tec is a Georgia State graduate with a degree in journalism. Tec aspires to work in basketball media as his career continues. At Georgia State, he graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors and was recognized as a leader in the classroom. Outside of basketball, Tec loves movies and perpetually seeks out his next favorite film.