Any time a group votes to make a major decision, there is always the chance for second-guessing.
This time I’m not talking about last week's votes that took select schools out of the LHSAA’s championship event mix in football, basketball, baseball and softball.
I have a beef with two other decisions — one made last year and the other last week — regarding the McDonald All-American Basketball games. A year ago, there was an expectation that LSU freshman Javonte Smart, a four-year standout at Scotlandville, would claim a spot on one of the boys teams.
Smart was not selected and from there he took it out on opponents with a vengeance, scoring over 40 points multiple times as the Hornets won another LHSAA Division I select title.
Last week Walker’s Tiara Young scored 50 points in a win over Live Oak. That career game came not long after Young, an LSU signee, learned she was not selected for the McDonald’s girls game, despite being ranked among the nation’s top 24 players for over a year.
“Somebody I knew posted it on social media,” Young said. “My first thought was, ‘Wait, I can play with those girls.' ”
Do the two nonselections in back-to-back years illustrate a lack of respect for players from Louisiana? Could they be brand-related or AAU team related?
It is hard to say. But I know that many times when I step into a high school gym in Baton Rouge area and beyond there are talented players and teams who play on an elite level.
I know not all of Louisiana’s best players will become elite college players or advance to the pro ranks. Over the years, Baton Rouge and Louisiana have been blessed to place players in the McDonald’s game and other national all-star games. I’m just a person who wants more for Louisiana and our players.
Sure, our players don’t play in places like New York or Los Angeles, but that does not mean they are not talented enough to play at the highest levels. I’d like to see them get that chance more often.
A small step?
Former Capitol High and LSU star Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx hosted a regional youth-based Elks Hoop Shoot competition last weekend at BRCC. It is a small part of Augustus’ plan to give back to her hometown and help boost the basketball played in it.
Augustus’ efforts to sponsor the EBR Girls Basketball tournament did not come to fruition last fall, but I am eager to see what she does next. And what some of our other basketball alums could do.
That LHSAA thing
We won’t know what will happen when the LHSAA’s select schools start hosting title events in the four select/nonselect sports at either school-based sites or neutral sites located close to the highest seeded team.
Many questions about sites and more are unanswered. Will college sites around the state embrace the chance to get involved? Could this change alter what happens with LHSAA sponsors and sites that bid on future LHSAA events for nonselect schools?
Change is one constant in life. But in this case, I do mourn the loss of decades of tradition in football and basketball.
Did I like all the morphing number of games played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome or basketball tourney sites since the split? No, I have not. But the chance to play in large venues is not something all states or high schools have.
Yes, the select schools will now have a voice and their own autonomy. They do make up one-fourth of LHSAA schools. As we’ve said with each split — things won’t be the same.