Editor's note: Canterbury girls basketball coach Scott Kreiger will provide insight as the coach of the Indiana All-Stars girls basketball team in periodic blog posts.
Not Enough Uniforms
It's a common problem when selecting the All-Star team that there simply aren't enough uniforms. Not in the literal sense – of course each player will have her own gear. But from the viewpoint of some people each year, deserving players are left off of the team.
Anyone who pays attention to girls' basketball around the state knows that there are talented players everywhere. Local sportswriters, television sportscasters, and internet webcasters do their jobs by recognizing the talents and achievements of the star players in their coverage area.
Message boards abound where fans (who often remain anonymous) trumpet the virtues and bona fides for their favorite players and teams. Some buy magazine ads or send out nicely-designed color flyers to coaches and media around the state, all in an effort to promote a player who, at least in the opinion of their supporters, belongs on the team.
There are rumors of mysterious "old boys" networks where special consideration is provided to some players, but not others, based on who you know. And when the final list is officially announced, the whole thing bubbles over with a freshly churned froth of joy, anger or disbelief, depending on one's point of view. It happens every year and 2012 has been no different.
All-Star games director Charlie Hall has the unenviable task of selecting the teams for both the boys and girls each year. I appreciate the fact that he encourages and solicits input from the All-Star coaches before any final decisions are made.
Of course, Miss Basketball is an automatic selection based on voting by coaches and media members. But, the other spots are all up for grabs. There is no clear model for picking the remainder of the team; it is generally a combination of factors including lifetime achievement, performances during the senior year and even appearances at the Top 60 Workout.
Opinions are collected from high school and college coaches. Some attention is paid to the college choice of the player, in deference to the opinion of the coach who has extended a scholarship offer.
Hall sees many players in person and watches dozens of videotapes of prospective All-Stars. Along with the All-Star coaches, he considers possible combinations of players in the overall makeup of the team. Individual strengths, weaknesses, playing styles, and attitudes are evaluated.
To use a common explanation, the goal is not to identify the best players, but to select the team with the best chance to beat Kentucky. As a result, there will always be some agreement and some disagreement, but never universal satisfaction with the selections. However it sorts out, there will never be enough uniforms because someone, somewhere, somehow was left off of the team.
I'll have some more thoughts on this topic later...