Boys summer basketball tryouts were scheduled to take place one week ago today. Girls club teams already had their tryouts on March 8.
Virtually all summer basketball programs in Nebraska are working on contingency plans because of the crowd limitations caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those plans include suspending activities until at least April 13, providing detailed basketball workouts, setting up accountability groups with players and closing facilities to athletes.
On March 13, the NCAA suspended in-person recruiting through at least April 15. The first NCAA evaluation period for men’s basketball — when college coaches are allowed to watch athletes compete in person or visit their schools — is scheduled for April 16-18.
Virtually all evaluation period events scheduled in April have been postponed. Adidas was planning to bring one of its three events April 24-26 to the Iowa West Field House in Council Bluffs and the Union Bank & Trust Sports Complex in Elkhorn.
There isn’t a specific date when summer basketball programs in Nebraska will begin tryouts or practicing.
“If we were able to play middle of May, what does that look like? And middle of June, what does that look like?” Omaha Sports Academy co-owner and General Manager Bob Franzese said. “While we are anxious to get back on the court, the safety of our athletes, spectators and officials will be of the utmost concern.”
Last summer OSA teamed with Nebraska Elite Volleyball and opened a $10 million, 135,000-square-foot facility that is projected to host up to 400,000 visitors per year.
“We have a big enough facility where we could have a coach or two out there with six or seven athletes,” Franzese said.
The Nebraska Attack girls program doesn’t have a facility and is doing everything it can to help athletes in its program be ready when the basketball world resumes.
“We are in constant contact with our kids and families,” Attack director Zach Isherwood said.
The program is working to help fill the void.
“We have given our kids detailed basketball workouts that include different drills. Each drill includes video demonstration, and each week we will add more advanced training and drills building on what we did the prior week,” Isherwood said. “We have also set up a strength training program through Loyalty Training, which includes online video and demonstration for the girls to use. We have also set up accountability groups (five athletes per group) where the girls report to each other on what they did each week. That also helps the girls keep in contact with each other during this difficult time.”
Like others, the Lincoln-based Nebraska Lasers girls program has suspended all youth and high school activity until April 13. It will reevaluate then based on state safety recommendations.
“We are waiting on a response from the NCAA on the spring evaluation schedule and will adjust our high school schedule accordingly,” Lasers director Andy Markowski said. “We suspended families’ payments until June because we are a nonprofit and want families to not worry about finances during these uncertain times.”