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Showcases Give Talent Hunters Help


Reprinted From:
Baseball America Online

Houston -- The Area Code Games and Team One Showcase are familiar gatherings to college recruiters, scouting directors and parents of talented high school juniors.

Bob Williams and Jeff Spelman run the largest and most prestigious summer showcases in the country for rising high school seniors. They are the equivalent of the McDonald's all-star games of prep basketball, but lack the same corporate or industry support.

Williams, a successful real estate developer in Northern California and former College World Series participant (Michigan State, 1954), started the Area Code Games in 1986 as a single event.

It now encompasses tryouts around the country, youth teams that travel abroad and a six day combination showcase and tournament. The tournament attracts more than 400 scouts, coaches and agents.

The name "Area Code Games" was originally adopted as a way to define boundaries for each team's players in 1986, when just six teams of high school juniors from California participated. Though the invitees are now from a national pool, Williams was granted a trademark for the name in 1994.

The Team One Showcase is made up of three regional showcases, plus a national showcase, to be held this year in St. Petersburg, Florida. Spelman started Team One in 1992 after working in the sports information departments at the universities of Louisville, Notre Dame and Virginia. At Notre Dame he worked under Pat Murphy, now the coach at national runner-up Arizona State.

The name "Team One" according to Spelman, was based on the small framework from which the event started. "I thought the name had a lot of marketing potential," he said, "and realistically I was a one- man team at that point. You've got to smile at yourself once in a while, and the name just came naturally."

Most of the best high school juniors play in the Area Code Games and Team One Showcase, but in a less-than-scientific scouting world, how many would have otherwise been well known to the scouts and college recruiters?

Baseball America Online



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