There has been
some backlash. High school athletic commissions in several states have begun to
limit how far teams under their jurisdiction can travel (box, page 68). But,
ultimately, there's little to suggest that this surge in national interest
won't continue. There's talk of a national high school
"superconference" as well as a cable network devoted solely to high
school sports. "It's not that far away," predicts Ghazi. Meanwhile,
promoters like Treatman are orchestrating must-see-TV matchups for next season,
and Oak Hill's Smith claims that, having booked his schedule for next winter,
he is already penciling in dates for '07-08.
coach at The Episcopal Academy, admits forlornly that the era of big-time high
school basketball is here to stay. "The stars are identified earlier,"
he says. "Thus the promoters want to get them out in front of the general
math teacher who has been at Episcopal since the '70s, Dougherty laments how
high school hoops has "mushroomed." But what are we to expect,
Dougherty wonders, when Francis publishes a list of the nation's top
fifth-grade talent and the mothers of second-graders are e-mailing him about
scholarships? Recently Dougherty expressed his unease about his team's
appearing on ESPN2 and ESPNU this season. But when one of his star guards,
Henderson, was asked a similar question about playing on television, he
shrugged, smiled and said, "You get used to the little red light."