Time for a little change at MAC All-Star game

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
July 17, 2004
CLINTON Change is never easy.
There are always two sides one strongly for change, one strongly against change.
But it was all but impossible to find someone against the change made with the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Basketball game.
Thursday night at the A.E. Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College rising seniors participated in the mid-summer game for the first time in history which accounts for 40 girls games and 50 boys games.
In the past, the teams divided into North and South squads were made up of graduated seniors.
It was a nice way to recognize prep players who had completed a stellar high school career, but outside of that, the game didn't have much meaning.
With the change to using last year's juniors this year, the game took on a new feel one of opportunity.
The rising seniors had the opportunity to show off their skills in front of a jam-packed house in the Woods Coliseum, with the added bonus of showing off their skills to potential college recruiters.
Brooks was not the only coach who really liked the idea of having some of the best high school players in the state in one place in the middle of summer.
East Central Community College women's head basketball coach Brad Hodge was also in attendance on Thursday.
The Lady Warriors coach, who guided his team to the junior college national tournament, reflected Brooks feeling about the game.
Hodges also pointed to the stands which were completely filled by late in the girls game's second half and stayed packed until the last three minutes of the boys' game as a sign of the game's improvement by using returning high school players.
Of course, there is also a down side to using the incoming seniors this year the departing high school class of 2004 didn't get its annual last hurrah on the hardwood.
This is a one time downside, and the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game used seniors.
On the upside, there wasn't a player on the boys or girls All-Star squads who didn't feel they gained something out of the experience.
Choctaw Central's Chantay Frazier, who helped lead the Lady Warriors to a Class 3A State title this year, played for the South.
She couldn't stop gushing about the experience which started last Tuesday with practice and culminated in the game on Thursday of playing for the South.
The game also provided a learning experience for the players.
By combining their skills with some of the most talented players in the prep ranks, the athletes learned what it takes to play at a high level and how they compare to some of the other top players in the state.
It may be a change, but the restructuring of the All-Star rosters with returning seniors looks like a slam dunk.

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