Filling a Void

 Jake DeLaney working at a summer basketball camp in Ellicott City, Maryland. Photo by Nate Frierson

Jake DeLaney working at a summer basketball camp in Ellicott City, Maryland. Photo by Nate Frierson

The Chattanooga basketball landscape is missing something. Unlike many other large metro areas, Chattanooga does not have any sort of showcase for high school basketball talent. High school basketball players have to travel to Atlanta or Birmingham in order to play in front of college coaches. However, Covenant College Senior Jake DeLaney plans to fill this missing gap through his Senior Integration Project. An Interdisciplinary Studies Major, DeLaney was seeking a practical application for his three concentrations of Coaching, Sports Management, and Business when he decided to put on his own showcase here in Chattanooga. The IDS major provides a unique opportunity to go beyond simply writing a paper and allows the students to put their ideas into practice. “IDS encourages the idea of being creative and one way they do this is through the project option for your SIP.  Having three concentrations naturally pushes you to be creative with what you learn in your concentrations and this showcase is a great chance to incorporate all of my concentrations in a creative way,” said DeLaney.

High school showcases are a great way for coaches to discover players who they might not normally see. This is especially true for schools at the Division III level such as Covenant. DeLaney, who himself attended several showcases as a high school basketball player, said that his goal with the showcase is to “put high school players in front of college coaches and showcase their skills through drills, tests, and scrimmages  The hope is that these things will show what each player is capable of on the basketball court and what they could bring to the college level.” Oftentimes, these types of high school showcases are packed with hundreds of kids and are simply a moneymaker for the showcase itself. With his showcase, DeLaney is trying to do something different and benefit everyone involved with the event. The showcase will be free to attend and will feature between 40 and 45  of the top high school players from around the Chattanooga area. DeLaney expects about 15 college coaches from a variety of schools to attend.

Covenant College will be well-represented at the event as DeLaney is partnering with Covenant alum Dan Gilbert, founder of Chattanooga Area Basketball Club (CABC), to put on the showcase. Working with CABC is important because the organization is well connected within the youth basketball community in the city. Here, CABC and DeLaney have the same goal of improving the quality of Chattanooga youth basketball and giving the young players of the city their best chance to play in college. “Chattanooga is not known for their high school basketball talent and the city has never held a basketball showcase or exposure camp.  My hope is that my showcase could help put Chattanooga basketball on the map and encourage the growth of basketball in the Chattanooga area,” said DeLaney.

A three year member of the Covenant men’s basketball team, DeLaney transitioned to the role of student assistant coach this year after being sidelined by an injury. DeLaney is currently pursuing a career as a college basketball coach and he believes this will give some valuable experience and connections he can use going forward. “I want to get all of the experience I can in this profession, and learning how to manage and organize a showcase like this will be very beneficial for my growth as a coach,” said DeLaney.

The CABC Chattanooga Showcase will take place at the Baylor School in Chattanooga on April 18th from 9am-2pm.