One hundred players gathered at Cheyenne High School on Las Vegas for the fifth consecutive year of the Coast2Coast International Showcase conducted in Las Vegas. The players come from different backgrounds and experiences, but one thing motivates them all – the Showcase offers a tremendous exposure opportunity so putting your best foot forward is priority # 1.
The talent, size and athleticism jumped out at the large number of coaches, scouts and agents in attendance from the first practice through the first evening of games.
47 players entered the Showcase with previous professional experience, while 97 had played in college including 44 with a D-I background. Our ten head coaches, most of whom are active professional coaches always looking for players directed crisp, focused practices to ready each team for the intense competition that the Showcase format provides.
All ten teams played their first Pool game on Night One. A handful of players were most notable, amongst many who played quite well. 6’10 Travion Leonard showed his strength, size and skill were going to be a problem. Franklin Agunanne a 6’10 stretch four demonstrated big potential. 6’7 powerhouse Azaro Roker asserted himself. The explosive and skilled 6’6 wing, Latrell Jones put on a shooting clinic knocking down multiple jump shots. 6’9 Joshua Martin displayed his athleticism and feel for the game. 6’7 live wire Zahir Porter got a lot done. 6’1 lead guard, Victor Mbachu ran his team with confidence and flair. 6’10 Donovan Deal was a force in the lane. 7’0 Will Brown showed off his multi-skilled game. 6’1 Elijah Hardy was electric in lighting up his opponent and showed elite skill with the ball.
Day Two would see two rounds of games – with teams vying for a top four finish overall to secure a space in the Day Three semi-finals. The games were close, highly competitive, physical and fun. The intensity was palpable!
Andy Hipsher a head coach in the Czech Republic spoke to the campers about handling yourself as professional athlete in a well-received presentation. All the coaches make themselves available to speak with campers about paths to a professional opportunity and ways to raise their profiles to land an even better job for the veteran players in the Showcase.
Four teams emerged as semi-finalists with hard fought results. Team Israel lead by 6’4 Trendon Hankerson and 6’4 Artur Labinowicz secured the # 2 seed in a tough, come from behind effort over Ireland (who still held on for the 4th seed.) Ireland was lead by 6’8 DeAndre Anderson and 6’3 Tyrese Williams on Day Two. Team Taiwan captured the # 1 seed with the play of 6’8 Kingsley Okanu and 6’3 Ryan Allen being significant. Team South Korea secured the # 3 seed in the semi-finals with 6’2 Donte Tatum and 6’1 Timothy Haggie having solid games.
Coast2Coast prides itself on the quality of coaches that staff our camps/showcases. Las Vegas 2023 was no exception as Greg Gibson (Finland), Tyler Gatlin (Japan), Andy Hipsher (Czech Republic), Dragan Petricevic (Romania), Matt Jones (Israel), Raymond Westphalen (Belgium), Thomas Roijakkers (Germany), and James Andrisevic (Japan) demonstrated their coaching prowess and professionalism.
All ten teams saw action, as the six who finished out of the semi-finals played in consolation games. Meanwhile the four semi-finalists went at it.
Team Taiwan knocked down 10 of their first 12 shots and never looked back in a win over Team Ireland in one semi-final. Latrell Jones and 6’10 Jordan Naughton were especially impactful. Ireland was lead by Tyrese Williams. Team Israel saw 6’5 Tavares Broady, 6’8 Justin Sylver and Trendon Hankerson lead the way as they prevailed in a tight struggle over Team S. Korea as Donte Tatum had a big game.
Team Israel captured the Showcase Championship with a thrilling two point win over Team Taiwan. A Back and forth battle that saw Showcase MVP Trendon Hankerson score on a clever drive to the rim in the final seconds to secure the victory.
A great three days of high-level basketball, evaluation, exposure and development!