Local teens vying for spots on AAU tournament teams
June 5, 2009
MANNHEIM, Germany — Most of the 33 boys and 14 girls who will suit up here Sunday have already played in some big games on the floor of the Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena, home of the annual high school basketball championships.
In terms of individual rewards, however, few of them will have played in any bigger games than the ones scheduled for the BFV Sports Arena on Sunday. The teens will be pitted against adult community stars in contests that will serve as the final cut for two 12-player teams ticketed for national AAU under-19 tournaments in Orlando, Fla., in July and August.
Those making the cut of 12 boys and 12 girls will be the first entries from Europe to play in a national AAU tournament, according to the man who’ll coach both squads and who came up with the idea of throwing the teenagers against adult players as a final exam.
"They’re going to be playing against bigger and better players when they get to the States," coach Bobby Seaberry said by telephone on Tuesday. "So we decided to get them started against bigger and better players here as a way to show them that this is no joke. We’re all business."
Sunday, the business, which Seaberry calls the "AAU Basketball Under-19 Boys’ and Girls’ Showcase," tips off at 1 p.m. for the girls’ game against players from the Heidelberg Lady Generals and Mannheim Lady Mustangs. The boys’ game against area community players is scheduled for 3 p.m. The public is welcome to attend, and there is no admission charge, Seaberry said.
The invitation to send Europe-based teams to the national AAU tournament came through the efforts of retired soldier Oscar Williams, now director of AAU Europe.
"I’d been running AAU teams in the States for 18 years," Williams said by telephone on Wednesday. "When my wife and I got stationed here, we started the same kind of program we ran in the States, a college-bound program where we monitor grades, make sure they take the SATs and do all the things they have to be eligible. Because of my past contacts with the AAU, they agreed to treat Europe as a state and invite a boys’ and a girls’ team to the national tournament."
Most of the players hoping to make the final 12-player AAU rosters are current or former DODDS-Europe performers. They are survivors of a winnowing process which began with tryouts in Ramstein, Mannheim and Stuttgart which involved around 80 hopefuls, said Seaberry, who has coached community-level teams to championships in 39 of the 44 tournaments he’s entered.
"We made a list of the best 200 kids in Europe," Seaberry said about the tryout process, "but we couldn’t invite anyone who’s too far away or who’s PCSing this summer."
Seaberry also invited several local-national stars to try out. He said he hopes they’ll help cement annual European participation in AAU events, which he sees as a way for players from this side of the Atlantic to come to the notice of U.S. colleges.
"In the past, we couldn’t do much for these kids," he said. "This will be a chance for them to be seen by college scouts."
Players who’ll be on the floor Sunday at the BFV Sports Arena in Mannheim, Germany, trying to earn a spot on the first Europe-based team to enter an AAU national tournament (DODDS school or national affiliation in parentheses):
GirlsShy’Kimeun Alexander (Patch)Veronne Clark (Baumholder)Ilka Froehlingsdorf (Germany)Adriana Archie (Patch)Racquel Davis (Bamberg)Takiara Fowlkes (Mannheim)Janelle Loney (Patch)Rebecca Luna (Heidelberg)Tesa Miller (Heidelberg)Maolis Pitti (Mannheim)Brittany Phillips (Patch)Kiara Sanchez-Herrera (Kaiserslautern)Elizabeth Styles (Baumholder)LeAndra Thomas (Wiesbaden)
BoysJa´Quaueis Alexander (Unavailable)Thomas Amrine (Ramstein)Tyler Armstrong (Patch)Chris Cuthbert (Heidelberg)Artrell Davis (Baumholder)Chris Frazier (Heidelberg)Malcolm Griffin (Heidelberg)John Gonzalez (Unavailable)Dimitri Hamel (Holland)Dorian Hayden (Unavailable)Constantin Huebner (Germany)Shaquille Hunter (Patch)Cameron Jackson (Bitburg)Christian Jarrard (Patch)Dasheem Jenkins (Heidelberg)Julius Johnson-Rich (Patch)Eric Jones (Patch)Eugene Jones (Heidelberg)Parris Manning (Vilseck)Alex Machado (Kaiserslautern)Xavier Moore (Unavailable)Brandon Oxendine (Ramstein)Jamel Perteet (Mannheim)Georgie Price (Unavailable)Thomas Russ (Kaiserslautern)Sven Schewior (Germany)Brent Schuck (Ramstein)Marcel Simon (Unavailable)Maurice Simon (Unavailable)Joseph Tarnate-Johnson (Bitburg)Dillon Wadsack (Ramstein)Justin Walker (Heidelberg)Michael Wallace (Ramstein)