Summer basketball league: Make it happen

Baseball? Check.

Fast-pitch softball? Yup.

Slow-pitch softball? Of course.

But you know what summer league is missing from the Copper Country? Basketball.

From playing in tournaments at Finlandia University, seeing the participation of noonball at Michigan Tech University and the interest for basketball among recent and current high school athletes, there is enough passion for the sport for a summer league in the area.

But passion and logistics are two different things.

The main issue when starting any type of league is finding a committed person who is willing to undertake the responsibilities for running a league. This includes opening the gym, finding refs and scorekeepers and being willing to give up a summer night every week to run the league. Which is understandably a lot to ask of someone, but I imagine there is a hero among us here in the area. Not all heroes wear capes.

That’s the blaring negative, so, you may be wondering what are the pros to this situation?

-Easy money-

In the Carney Men’s Summer Basketball League I was a member of, you paid $400 per team. That included 13-14 games and a postseason tournament. For the Copper Country League, if you charged $300 per team and had 10 teams, there’s $3,000. Sure you’d have to pay refs, too, but if you’re a high school coach, there’s a couple grand added to your program.

And if you’re a player and your team has eight people, that’s $3.75 a game in a 10-game season. Or just get a business to sponsor your team. Advertising for the businesses and your team is paid for. Everyone wins.

-Mix it up-

Open gyms are neat, but if you’re a high school athlete, it can get tiresome playing the same people from the end of March through August. Playing against older people also provides younger athletes the opportunity to better themselves against more experienced competition. You hear tales of current NBA players who got better playing at YMCAs, or other rec gyms, against relenting, older competition. Now I’m not saying a summer basketball league in this area will guarantee anyone an NBA contract, but no one has ever gotten worse playing a mixture of opponents in age and skill.

Additionally, a league in the summer provides extra incentive for high school athletes to work on their individual skills. Sure, you might want to do the two-ball ballhandling drills in April, fresh of the season. However, by late summer or the fall – unless you’re extremely dedicated, which in that case, you’re lucky – the drills become monotonous and you lose your enthusiasm. But if you have a summer league game coming up, you’re less willing to lose that passion to better yourself.

And for the high school graduates and elders, playing an actual game with refs, halves, a scoreboard and an actual 3-point line (Seriously noonball guys, we need to change the whole everything counts as 1 philosphy) is exponentially better than playing the same routine games up to 7.

-Team building-

High schools already take their teams to weekend team camps, but with a league, they’d get a whole summer to play together.

Over the past two years, the Carney league received so many high school teams, they made a separate division for them. Basketball is year-round down in the Central U.P. That’s why they’ve owned boys teams from this area, recently. If you want to shift the culture, a league would be a decent start.

-You could see your name in the DMG!!!-

I’ll put the scores and top scorers in the paper. Maybe I’ll even live-tweet some games. You could be famous.

Someone just has to make it happen.