Scott Cavin’s goal is to get his players some exposure in front of college scouts.
This weekend will be perhaps the biggest stage so far.
Cavin, the executive director of the S.C. Sports Academy, will lead his basketball squad as it competes in the 3rd Annual Swanny’s Classic over the weekend in Pawleys Island.
The players from the S.C. Sports Academy, a post-graduate academy in its first year based in Garden City Beach after moving from Greenville, will be the first from an area team to compete in the prep school and junior college showcase.
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Just being in the tournament, Cavin said, is a win for the squad. Tournament organizer Bret Swanson, who runs recruiting service Swanny’s Roundball Review and jucojunction.com of the Rivals.com network, saved a spot for the local team.
“Even if we lost all those games, it gives these kids a lot of exposure, and that’s a result of [Swanson],” Cavin said. “Now that we’re in this local tournament and since we’ve been playing so well it’s just an honor for us. He doesn’t have room for all the teams to compete but he made room for us. It’s just a blessing. The kids have worked really hard and for him opening that door for us has been a blessing.”
The S.C. Sports Academy, which features former local prep standouts Travis Frye (Socastee), J.C. Cavin (St. James), JZ Anderson (Carolina Forest), Brenden Wynne (Myrtle Beach), and See Heng Man (Socastee), is 15-10 since the season began in September. Many of the players have already been scouted by prospective colleges.
“These guys are good basketball players and after our last road trip, seven of the guys have now been talked to by [junior college], Division-II or NAIA programs so their exposure is already there,” Cavin said. “So far we’ve played all of the Region 10 JUCO teams except for Spartanburg Methodist, which couldn’t fit us in its schedule. We beat Brunswick Community College by five points in overtime. We beat Denmark Tech by 18 in regulation. So we’ve been very competitive and we’ve played some of the top JUCO and Prep school programs.
“I’m very pleased, although the focus hasn’t been about winning but rather showcasing these local kids in front of college coaches,” he added “I do a lot of substitutions in the game because I want these kids to get exposure and minutes on the floor.”
However, the program’s evolution has had its obstacles. Getting sufficient funding has been the main difficulty.
“Financially, we’ve kind of been hurting,” Cavin said. “The kids’ families have to pay for all the fees out of pocket, and it can be expensive. Each of these families are covering the costs of our expenses but we’re seeking sponsors in the Myrtle Beach area. It’s tough, though. … Financially, it’s been very expensive to travel with 14 kids all over the southeast every weekend and two times on weekdays.”
Several of the players live in a five-bedroom beach house in Garden City, where they focus on athletics, improving test scores and more.
“Our goal is to help high school graduates get into a four-year university with a basketball scholarship. There’s a couple of kids who needed SAT help, to get their SAT scores higher to meet some of the college guidelines,” Cavin said. “But there’s a purpose for South Carolina Sports Academy, not just basketball, but we’re trying to teach these guys to become mature men and we want to give them the opportunity to compete and become better.”
And this weekend is a big opportunity.
“The thing with these showcase tournaments is, whether we win or lose isn’t the issue. It would matter for us to be able to play these great prep academies,” Cavin said. “For us to come out with two or three wins in this tournament would be huge just because the kids would get great exposure. So, it would be a big deal if we won.”