EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The coronavirus has brought plenty of cancellations, postponements and uncertainty to the local sports scene.
This includes the summer AAU and travel basketball landscape, but one local organization has stepped forward with a solution.
Pocket City Basketball has joined with the Evansville Basketball Academy to create the inaugural Pocket City Summer X-League.
This league for high school-aged players began this weekend. The response was enormous with enough players signing up to put together 22 teams.
All of the Evansville high schools are represented, along with several other Tri-State schools.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the league does have several rules to follow. This list of guidelines includes separate entrances and exits in order to help separate people, as well as only one spectator for each athlete to assist with social distancing. Meanwhile, basketballs and bleachers must be cleaned periodically.
“Once the season stopped, the ball stopped bouncing for a lot of kids, so what we really wanted to do was to have an option for the kids to be able to compete again,” N.D. Kendrick, director of Pocket City Basketball said. “Competition is what drives sports, so we wanted to be able to provide that. It definitely provides a safer option. At the end of the day - the congestion of hotels, traveling back and forth to events - we figured the best thing to do was to have something locally, and then we can send out some footage to college coaches ourselves.”
“Not many people have been playing ball, so it’s kind of nice getting our legs back into it,” Caiden Byrd, senior at Central High School said. “We were supposed to play about 60 games, but we missed all of it because of the virus, so it’s very nice to get back into it. I can already tell we’re playing better as a team. We’re just kind of gelling together, getting used to it.”
League games will be played every Friday and Sunday all the way through July.