By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 11/20/13
In only five years, the Boys Philly Showcase has become one of the biggest recruiting events of the year.
The first weekend of the five-pronged event ended Sunday as 26 elite club programs and 14 top high school squads from around the country played in a Team Invitational Tournament at Episcopal Academy.
That came after Saturday’s 2015-2016 Showcase with nearly 500 elite players.
On Friday 10 elite club teams and high school squads played in the Charity Showdown at Citizens Bank Park – the first lacrosse games every played at the Phillies’ home stadium.
Overall, NXTsports, which operates the Philly Showcase through Showcase Lacrosse, announced that 187 college coaches attended the weekend’s events. In all, over 1,500 athletes competed and the three days drew several thousand fans.
NXT President Andy Hayes is proud of how well the event is run and how much talent invades Philadelphia. But he’ll brag most about the money raised at the Charity Showdown for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and its work for pediatric concussion care. The total will be in the tens of thousands.
“We’re trying to run an event that gives these players, parents and referees and everybody involved an experience they’ll never forget,” Hayes said, “which I am sure we accomplished.”
Hayes said the Charity Showdown, which last year was held at PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union pro soccer franchise, has two purposes.
“We’re always looking for a way to give our guys in the local lacrosse community something that outdoes the previous year,” he said. “And as a bonus we raised a lot of money for pediatric concussion care.”
On Saturday the competition at the individual Philly Showcase was top-notch, by accounts of coaches and players alike. Hayes credited Brett Manney, the Director of Showcase Lacrosse, as the driving force behind the collection of talent.
“That’s all Brett Manney; he did an incredible job,” said Hayes. “We jokingly call him the No 1 recruiter in the country.
“The lineup of kids was incredible. We had 20 college staffs sending both coaches to one event. That sort of validates all the hard work. We worked hard to bring in a lot of good teams and a lot of good players. That makes it easy for people that want to recruit.”
Sunday’s tournament featured many of the top club teams from all regions of the United States.
“We took another big step forward from last year and got teams even further west,” said Hayes. “I was watching scores come through and just about every game was highly competitive.
“There were a lot of great players playing at Episcopal Academy (Sunday).
“I don’t think we’re done yet. Things can be better next year, but we had an incredible weekend moving to next weekend’s freshman event.”
Indeed, this Saturday 200 of the nations’ top freshmen are coming to Downingtown’s United Sports to compete in the Freshman Showcase, which will include Fab 40 All-Star Games and a King of the X competition, just like the Junior-Sophomore event. There also will be an Uncommitted Senior Showcase on Saturday and a Sunday tournament of elite club teams in the Class of 2017.
Hayes promised that the 2017 talent this weekend will be exceptional.
“We had the top 200 freshmen committed even before five of them committed,” said Hayes. “Again, credit Manney; he is the one that makes this happen.”