Players Look to Make Impressions in State Basketball Tournaments

State Championship Awaits

The end of the high school basketball season is here, and while many of the top players will be participating in AAU tournaments and big national camps, a good performance in a high school tournament can establish some credibility for 

Division I prospects. For some, a run in their state tournament will be a showcase, where they may not have gotten attention earlier in the year. 


In the classic documentary “Hoop Dreams,” one of the main characters from a smaller public school gets attention from colleges after a big showing in the Illinois state tournament. It’s this type of exposure that players hope for at this time of year. Just as college players can shine during the NCAA Tournament, this is the time for a number of high school prospects.


The Illinois high school basketball scene is a good place to start when looking at big postseason tournaments. Last year, the class 4A tournament was won by Jabari Parker’s team for the fourth consecutive year, as the Duke star flashed his skills. This year looks to showcase either Jahlil Okafor, a Duke commit or Cliff Alexander, who will be attending Kansas next year. After a showdown in the Chicago Public League playoffs, one of these players will have a good chance of winning their first Illinois championship after all the years of Parker dominating.


Indiana has a famed history of small-town hoops, with the inspirational sports film “Hoosiers,” commemorating an upstart winner of the state tournament. This year’s tournament may not be as cinematic, yet it will have a few interesting players going at it. Trey Lyles out of Arsenal Tech in Indianapolis will be joining Kentucky next season, so this tournament could be his farewell to basketball in the state. Jalen Coleman is another Indianapolis product, but will be part of the class of 2015. His performance in the state tournament last year led to his transfer to La Lumiere High School in efforts to advance his game and find more of a challenge. 


While Iowa might not be a major destination for college and pro teams, its state basketball tournament is a huge draw in the region. Held in the capital of Des Moines the tournament is praised for the large field and the mix of the different elements of the state. In recent years top prospects like Harrison Barnes have come through, and with the large number of teams chances are that any player can make a name for himself.


State basketball tournaments are an important aspect of basketball lore. They can be the building blocks for legendary players, or the peaks of some kids’ careers. The next few weeks tournaments will play out across the country, allowing every spectator to be a scout right from their seats.