Wildcats Select AAU basketball to livestream workout

Friday, June 12, 2020 | 4:12 PM

AAU basketball has yet to return after extensive delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak, but a local organization is ready to tip and plans to give coaches, families and fans a look at their talent pool through a different prism.

The Wildcats Select, founded by co-directors Nate Perry and Tom Droney and part of the national adidas Gauntlet circuit, are having a “Training Day” event from 1 to 4 p.m. June 20 at Cool Springs Sports Complex in Bethel Park.

Here is the unique part: The tryout-type event will be livestreamed via Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook.

“It’s all about the kids receiving the most exposure possible during these hard times,” said Perry, a former Hempfield standout. “It’s going to feel great to see our guys again.”

Livestreaming is a way around the NCAA’s extended dead period, which forbids contact between college coaches and prospective recruits until July 31. The showcase will help players get seen — a boost of sorts since recruiting has been turned on its ear.

Normally, schools would have made dozens of offers to AAU players, who would be more than two months into their seasons.

“We want these kids to gain exposure, so any way we can connect them with college coaches and scouts, we will do that,” said Droney, a Sewickley Academy alum who played at Davidson. “Livestreaming the event is not the ideal circumstance, but it gives college coaches a chance to see kids that they haven’t seen yet and also monitor other kids that they already knew about or have been recruiting for some time.”

The event is not open to the public, and select media outlets will be permitted.

One of the better players coming up the ranks with Wildcats Select is Laurel Highlands phenom Rodney Gallagher, who will be a sophomore in the fall. The point guard led the Mustangs to a WPIAL Class 5A title this season and has offers from Pitt and Penn State.

Social distancing guidelines will be in place at the event. Other AAU outfits that have not started live games also are aware of the safety protocols, some of which will be hard to follow in a contact sport like basketball.

The Western PA Bruins, one of the top girls programs in the area for more than three decades, has been practicing outdoors for about three weeks in small groups.

Bruins executive director John Tate said he invited 200 players to the workouts, and 15 opted out as they erred on the side of caution.

“There’s only so much you can do without changing the nature of the game,” Tate said. “Basketball is not a sport you can play with a mask on.”

The Bruins also have discussed a livestream event, but details are not set. They will open with a preseason event in early July at Grit Athletix in Swissvale against teams from Erie, West Virginia, Central Pennsylvania and Maryland, Tate said. More details will be announced later.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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