Twine Line: Rivalry set aside for betterment of Elkhart basketball
Posted: 01/22/2013 at 1:15 am
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Mark Barkhizer head coach Elkhart Memorial 2012-13 varsity basketball (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Troy Noble 6/12/2012 (Truth Photo By Anthony Anderson)
Memorial’s Mark Barnhizer and Central’s Troy Noble are teaming up, and it’s Elkhart basketball that should reap the rewards in the long run.
The city’s two varsity boys basketball coaches went together to all 13 public elementary schools over two days last week introducing a new Elkhart Community Schools instructional league for third- through sixth-grade boys.
The league will be free to students and take place in March at North Side Gym.
A similar venture is planned by ECS for the girls as well, tentatively next September.
Yes, both high school boys programs will probably continue to host their own camps at various times, and, yes, there are other basketball learning opportunities as well, both through and independent of the schools, but this is the first effort in recent memory that brings the two city programs together so formally, and, again, at no cost to students.
“I think we’ve needed it for a long time and I think it’s going to be great,” Barnhizer said over the weekend. “I think it will give kids who wouldn’t have an opportunity that opportunity, and I’m excited about it. I think Troy and I both were kind of surprised at the responses of the kids. I think there might be 400 kids, I really do, and I think we’re going to figure out how to make this a really good thing.”
Barnhizer, who’s in his seventh year at Memorial with a 92-57 Charger record, and Noble, in his first year at Central, each say Elkhart players tend to run behind the curve when it comes to basketball development.
“Part of the reason that kids can’t dribble and shoot the way they should is they’re not doing it soon enough in Elkhart,” Barnhizer said. “I don’t think you’ll see the benefits of this (league) in the next couple years, but I hope this is the beginning of a change, and I think down the road you will see benefits.”
“Seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade is not soon enough to start teaching our kids the basics of basketball,” Noble said. “From what I’ve seen, Elkhart has better athletes than Penn and Northridge, but Penn and Northridge have better basketball players. We need to change that.”
Penn, Northridge and most other places around the area also have just one high school within their communities.
Barnhizer and Noble don’t dispute the theory that historically the two-high school status of Elkhart has been a stumbling block for instituting a more thorough and uniform teaching of the game at the elementary level.
“I’m not sure what’s prevented it,” Barnhizer said, “but there’s always been a feeling that you don’t want to step on people’s toes in the elementary schools. There’s also been concern about costs here. I think it is definitely harder in a (multi-school town) to do this. When you have one-school in town, there’s also a tendency to have deeper staffs, but we’re just going to do our best to work through that.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be that way at all,” Noble said of whether working with the city’s rival program will be an obstacle. “I think we’re both going to benefit, and more important, kids and the game of basketball are going to benefit.”
According to Bob Woods, athletic coordinator and director of business operations for ECS, the idea for the league has been “talked about” off and on for years, but it was new Superintendent Robert Haworth who has been “both very supportive and very influential” in getting it going.
Woods said Monday that Barnhizer and Noble have been enthusiastic about the project and are giving their time and expertise at no additional compensation. Coaches at the middle school level are on board as well, and current high school players might be involved.
Woods said donations are being sought to pay for such items as the T-shirts each participant will receive, while costs such as lighting North Side Gym will be paid through the ECS budget.
“Elkhart Community Schools has a goal of providing programs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” Woods said. “This is just one of those programs, be it athletics, fine arts or something else. By having our children involved in productive programs, it helps them with their self-esteem and with making the right decisions in life. If they don’t have positive outlets like this, that’s when they get involved in other things that aren’t so productive.”
The deadline for boys to return the forms they received last week is Wednesday. Forms should be returned to the elementary schools. Individuals with questions should call Woods at 262-5532.
League times will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. on March 4, 6, 11, 18, 20, 25 and 27.
“There are kids right now who play on 10 teams and love it,” Barnhizer said, “but not all kids love the game the same way, and not all of them have had a chance to find out if they love it. I think this will give more kids that chance.”
Contact Anthony Anderson at email@example.com.
Anthony’s Top 25
11. Aaron Thomas
12. Matt Grieser
13. Brent Eaton
For more on these greats of the last 25 years visit Basket Blog at etruth.com.
Anthony’s Twine 12
1. Concord (1) 11-1
2. SB Adams (2) 11-1
3. SB Riley (6) 9-3
4. Penn (4) 9-4
5. Plymouth (5) 11-2
6. NorthWood (3) 11-2
7. Westview (7) 13-1
8. Mishawaka (8) 8-3
9. SB Washington (9) 5-5
10. Marian (—) 7-6
11. Goshen (12) 8-4
12. West Noble (11) 12-1
Last week’s ranking in parentheses. Teams chosen from among the 38 making up the NLC, NIC, NSC, NECC and independents Bethany and Elkhart Christian. Dropped out: SB Clay.