Not every player is classified in star ratings or top 100 rankings. After playing their final game of their respective senior seasons, some student athletes consider their career on the hardwood to be over. That’s until four years ago when a local high school coach with a dynamic vision launched the DB Showcase, an annual event spotlighting local unsigned high school seniors. This event gives some players the opportunity of a lifetime.
“This event is similar to how I got my break.” said Dion Barry, event founder and head basketball coach of City University, a local charter school in South Memphis. “I was a street-baller gambling, playing for money and every summer a female assistant coach from a local JUCO saw me and kept asking why I didn’t go to school and invited me to try out for their coach. I came out, had a monster game, hit the game winning shot and the coach signed me on the spot and offered me a full ride scholarship.”
Barry was 25 at the time, with no high school degree, no organized basketball experience and was given one shot. He got his GED, graduated from junior college, transferred to then Crichton where he graduated with his bachelor’s degree and is now teaching.
When asked where he thought he would be if he never got that one last shot, he responded, “Man, I don’t even want to imagine. I know that I wouldn’t be here doing this. I guess its good that my jumper was on that day.”
There have been many success stories from this event, including students that have gotten to walk-on spots and gone on to eventually earn full ride scholarships to several schools. Most importantly, players have been given the life changing opportunity to go to college. Many past participants have had their lives go in a totally different direction due to this event alone. Barry stated that approximately 50 kids have placed into a college due to the event, which began humbly with a borrowed van. Making a trek to his native Chicago, Barry took a group students that he was mentoring to a camp to help them get exposure in front of a few coaches he had built relationship with.
“Kids were getting good looks from the coaches and I took like 7-10 kids every year and people were like, man this guy brings us good kids every season so I decided to just start hosting the events here in Memphis and try my best to build relationship with coaches here.”
Barry’s events have been a success and have included coaches from junior college, NAIA and even Division I schools looking to fill holes.
“If only one kid gets a break every year I feel like it was a success,” Barry explained. “The event is picking up momentum and I’m just excited to be a part of giving these young man the same opportunity that some one had to care enough to give me.”
This year’s DB Showcase will be held this Saturday, May 15th from 10-2 at Douglas High School and Sunday, May 16th from 6:00-8:00pm at the Memphis Athletic Ministries Grizzlies Center. If you are interested in signing up or helping in any way, please contact Dion Barry directly at (901) 515-8934