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Questions About High School
"Talent" Showcases

Tom Rizzi / Director
College Select Baseball Showcase

Question: Can you tell me a little about how you got into the "showcase business?"

Answer: It came about because of my son, when we were seeking a college program for him. There were no places in the Northeast at that time for him to be seen other than for college coaches coming to his games which we know is well near impossible with both college and high school seasons going on at the same time. After we got him situated at New Mexico State I decided to begin the College Select Annual Showcase.


Question: Your showcase requires a letter of recommendation from a player's high school or summer team coach. Many of the so-called "for pay" showcases do not have this requirement. How can a player and his parents determine if a showcase is going to benefit the player or simply put money in the showcase director's pocket?

Answer: First of all, the reason for the requirement is to maintain a high level of talent on the field every year. If the level of talent is not there, the colleges are not there! As for determining if a showcase is going to benefit the player I firmly believe that all showcases are a benefit but some are more beneficial than others. A lot depends on what the player is looking for. There is no need for a northern boy to go south for a showcase if he wants to go to college in the Northeast. For instance, we have had boys from the Midwest come to our showcase because they were interested in going to college here in the Northeast. One is now at Columbia and the other has still to graduate, but the only schools he was interested in were here in the Northeast. In fact he visited their campuses while he was here at our event.

The basic question to ask is a very simple one: Can it help me get a "leg up" on the competition for the school that I want to attend? Remember that showcases are not necessarily about scholarships. A good showing can give a player the advantage over the competition for admission to the college of his choice. We have a half dozen of our players now playing in the "Ivy" league and it is because of our event.


Question: When should a player attend his first showcase? (What grade in school)

Answer:  I firmly believe that once a young man is a varsity starter he should think about attending showcases. By starting early it does two things for a young player: First he can see how his talent stacks up against others and secondly he can be seen by college coaches, and if he impresses them they will follow his progress. Remember that even if a college coach can not talk to a player he can follow the player's progress!


Question:  Does attending a showcase such as College Select really enhance and improve a player's chances of getting a college scholarship or being drafted by the pros?

Answer:  The answer is an unequivocal YES!!!! Remember that college recruiting budgets have been cut and when a college coach can see, as in our case, 120 players all in one week-end it benefits everyone.  

Question:  How important is a player's hustle when participating in a showcase event?

Answer:  It has nothing to do with being at a Showcase! A ball player who is worth his salt hustles all the time ... and every time he goes out on the field.


Question:  Do the college coaches watch how a player interacts with the other participants at a showcase? In other words, do they note if the player is off to himself or if he blends in and gets along well in a new environment?

Answer:  This is another very key element for a player to be aware of. Showcases are not necessarily about going 4 for 4, or striking out the side. Remember that the player will be going off to school and in most cases will be away from home for the first time, on his own. How he copes is vital! Many kids are not up to it. If a player is at home here in the showcase element, then chances are he will be at home when he goes away to college.


Question:  How important would you say that a player's personal appearance is to his baseball future?

Answer:  At this stage it can be critical. Tattoos, earrings, long hair, etc. can turn off many a coach and blind them to the talent of the player. I always say if you look like a ball player, you will play like a ball player.


Question:  Would you recommend that a player hit with a wood bat in lieu of the metal bat, at a showcase? If he were more interested in being drafted by the pros, and not as interested in college baseball?

Answer:  If the player has not hit with a wooden bat -- showcase time is not the time to start. His timing will be all off.


Question:  Can't a player get the same kind of exposure by attending a free professional team's try-out day? These are held each summer all around the country. Similar to attending a well run showcase event?

Answer:  I do not believe that you will find as many college scouts at a pro try-out session as you will at a well run, established showcase event. The pro try-out is just that; a pro try-out!


Question:  If a player is the best on his team or in a league, won't the college coaches find out about him? Wouldn't this make attending a showcase a waste of time and money?

Answer:  The answer to part one is not necessarily yes. They may or they may not. Part of our service is to make coaches aware of players that they may not have heard of. In fact we have coaches who will call us about players and want to know if we have seen them. The key word is exposure and that can be tough to come by for a high school player, even if he is the best player on a team or in a league. Attending a showcase is never a waste of time or money if it is serving a purpose for you. I always have considered it an "investment" in my sons future and I still do.


Question:  Do you see the "game" portion of a showcase as important as the "skill" or try-out portion of a showcase?

Answer:  I consider it MORE important. Just because a player throws 88 mph doesn't mean he is a pitcher. The games show how a player reacts in certain situations. Can the speedy boy in the 60 yard dash run the bases as well? Maybe not! I think you get the point.


Question:  What percentage of participants at College Select eventually sign a college scholarship or professional contract?

Answer:  Those figures are tough to come by, but I can say that the majority of our players go on to play college ball. As I pointed out earlier our event can make a difference for a player getting admitted to the school of his choice.


Question:  What tips would you give to a first time participant to College Select or another showcase event?

Answer:  Relax and just play the game. That is the key for all players. Let the game come to you.


Tom Rizzi is the director of the COLLEGE SELECT BASEBALL SHOWCASE and a regular contributor to this sites message board.

College Select Baseball Showcase
(800) 782-3672
email: trhit@msn.com
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Revised February 09, 2003 .