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Seventh-grade Jordans never pan out

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Gator, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    A few years back, we had a father call and call and call the office blowing up his kid, who was dominating at the middle school level. At first I kind of blew it off, but then saw him at a big local youth basketball tournament. He was pretty good for the seventh grade (I think he was about 5-10).

    But the way his father was barking him, you'd think he was already given a free ride to Duke. His town's high school basketball team isn't very good, and I thought to myself that they could use a kid this good.

    That was then. I sort of forgot about this player because, well, out of sight and out of mind. Turns out the kid didn't grow another inch (OK, maybe 1 or 2) but he got no better when he got to high school. I mean like none. Players passed him in the skill department like it was nobody's business. Funny, I never heard from that dad again.

    Sorry to waste your time, but I just thought about that kid for the first time in a long time tonight and needed rehash old memories. I'm sure some of you can relate.
  2. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    he didn't get better because you didn't cover him enough. way to take away his scholarship, jerk.
  3. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Sometimes they do, though. A few years ago we had a weekly Young Athlete of the Week feature (which I hated, by the way) and we did one on a 12-year-old girl who was just tearing it up on the basketball court. She would routinely score about 90 percent of her team's points, to the point that we got some comments that called her a ball hog.

    Fast forward to her high school days, and she ended up as the star on her team and made our All-Area first team her junior and senior year. She was actually a better softball player than she was basketball and ended up going D-1 in fast-pitch.
  4. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    Well, he's got a brother coming up through the ranks (which is why I thought of him in the first place), so I guess I have another shot. Although he must not be as good ... dad has yet to call.
  5. Is there D-I slo-pitch softball?
    Cause if so, I wanna know where. I still four years of eligibility.
  6. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    No, but high school slow-pitch is still very popular in many parts of Mississippi, which is why I made the distinction.
  7. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    I think in most cases it has to do with kids growing at different ages. All the kids who dominated sports when I was in middle school were the ones who had hit their growth spurts and had matured a little bit already. But by our senior year, most of those kids were nobodys because everyone else had caught up to them by then.

    It's always interesting following kids for a few years during that age and seeing how kids pan out. Reminds me of the film "Hoop Dreams."
  8. I think you're right about the growth spurt theory. I saw it firsthand with a Little League World Series team from our town. The players were still better than average as mid-teens, but by high school everyone had caught up.

    However, I once had a middle school coach wear me out with talk about his point guard, how this seventh grader was already the best guard in town. Now, the HS team was coming off a state championship season, so I was skeptical. But as a courtesy to the coach, I caught one of their games. The kid was as good as advertised. He went D-I and ended up having a good career in the NBA.

    My advice? Go see for yourself. You never can tell where you will find a good story.
  9. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    That point I was trying to make was about the father ... How he thought his kid was going to dominate as a seventh-grader, and he was already making calls to the local paper. And then how he kind of fell into obscurity once the kid could no longer compete. Truth be told, I kind of feel bad for the kid, who was a three-sport athlete, but rarely played in any of them. He always seemed like a nice kid.

    I just wish that parents would realize that if your kid really is that good (especially in a major sport like basketball), he'll get his ink.
  10. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    We had a kid like that when I was in school. He tore up the youth league, but never developed beyond rec/middle school. He was given the nickname "Boys' Club." He played on the varsity for three years, but never got off the end of the bench, so whenever we were up by 20 points in the fourth quarter, the student section would start chanting "Put in Boys' Club."
  11. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    I always get annoyed at the people who complain about coverage of their kid because I grew up in a metro area where there were only two newspapers to cover the whole area and both did a shitty job with high school coverage. Well, hard to say shitty because granted there were like 100 high schools in the area and obviously they couldn't cover everyone. But in six varsity seasons that I played for three different sports at a mid-size school, I think we had one game covered. We never had a feature on any of our students. Usually even just seeing a boxscore without even a recap was thrilling to me.

    In a way, I'm kind of envious of the kids who grow up in smaller towns where practically every single one of their games are covered. There's features. There's athletes of the week. Etc. And yet they bitch about it. I would've loved for our school to be covered the way some schools are. A lot of people take it for granted and don't realize that they are lucky to live in an area that gets such extensive preps (and even youth) coverage. It's not like that everywhere.
  12. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree with you more. We do cover a lot of HS games, and have the Athlete of the Week, etc. And it's still never enough. But here's the tricky part. As the economy goes, and everyone is downsizing, our harder work is still never enough. At my shop, we no longer have interns, meaning everyone is stretched a bit thinner, and we can no longer get to as much.

    So people are used to seeing "Tournament A" covered and "Championship game B" covered, because it's been that way in the past. Now if we don't show up, people are all over my ass. It's the nature of teh beast, I guess, but it sucks nonethless.
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