WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - High school basketball is right around the corner and this weekend we had the unofficial start to the basketball season with the Elite 14 showcase in Wichita Falls. Newschannel six caught up with Coach Hedge to talk to him about the showcase and how big it has become.
"The evolution of this and the growth of it is just something....thats just... Its just above my imagination," said Hirschi head coach Donald Hedge. "I never envisioned this."
The 13th annual Elite 14 showcase tipped off Saturday November 4 with 31 teams in attendance. Coach Donald Hedge started the showcase when he became the head coach of the Hirschi Huskies 13 years ago.
"The main reason we did this was when I took the job over at Hirschi 13 years ago we were void of a basketball identity over here," says Coach Hedge. "And so we wanted to kind of create some stuff to kind of bring some awareness to basketball and that it kind of helped it kind of helped us build this program in a way."
The showcase has grown to be known to have some of the best players in the country participate in it. This year was no different including players like Miller Kopp who is in the ESPN top 100 for 2018 out of Houston Christian, RJ Hampton ranked number 4th in the class of 2020 and a host of other prospects that draw coaches and scouts from all over the country that even coach hedge gets a little star struck.
"Its amazing you know to see some of these college coaches," says Coach Hedge. "I am huge fan of Jamie Dixon at TCU he was at Pitt for a long time he's now at TCU doing some amazing things at TCU, and I'm just standing right next to him in the Hirschi gym its just the craziest thing, you know with Bill Self, OU, and Texas, and Texas A&M, you know its almost like these people are at Hirschi High School its unreal."
The showcase is also a chance for local Texoma players to get noticed and beef up their recruitin profiles. And a chance to showcase the city of Wichtita Falls as well.
"Its a great exposure for Wichita Falls getting people in here, Said Rider head coach Cliff Mcguire. "And then for us personally its a chance to play some really good teams some really good competition and see some different things that we might not see throughtout the year."
"We want these kids in Wichita Falls to know this is a reality and you know," says coach Hedge. I" tell my guys its my job to bring the attention to you. You do your job put your work in the gym in the summer time in the prep work its my job to try to market you and try to showcase you in a way and try to bring the college coaches to your attention."
Following another success year the Elite 14 showcase might be around for a long time.
"I love Hirschi when they say you are truly a Huskie till the day you die that is going to be me for sure." Said coach Hedge. "You know a lot of people have approached me about trying to move this thing you know a lot of people from the Metroplex area they coming and approach me to try to move this thing.. nope we're going to keep this on our side of town for our kids, our fans over here.