TROY — Jason Bradwell learned a lot about the world of prep school basketball before his stepson Ray Jerome left Albany Academy for Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, and found out even more once he got there.
"People I don't even know ask me questions all the time," Bradwell said. "'When is this due? When is this happening? Is it too late if my son wants to go? What's it like?' That's why we're providing information for the parents."
A parent/coach round table will be one part of the first-of-its-kind Northeast Prep School Showcase Sept. 16 at Hudson Valley Community College. As for the players, they'll get on opportunity to perform drills and compete in front of dozens of prep school coaches.
The showcase is open to young men who are entering grades 9-12 this school year, and will run from noon to 5 p.m.
"I've spoken with a lot of people in the area, and there hasn't been an event like this for prep school only," said Bradwell, who is co-director of showcase with his father, Mel Bradwell. "The purpose is to get kids an opportunity to play in front of prep school coaches. Expose them to opportunities that are presented by going to a prep school. There are great academic and athletic schools out there."
Jason Bradwell said the prep route to college is a relatively new frontier for players in the Capital Region. Among the recent players who chose to take that path are Andrew Platek, who went from Guilderland to Northfield Mount Hermon School (Mass.) to North Carolina, and Thomas Huerter, who went from Shenendehowa to Cheshire to Siena College. Jerome left Cheshire for Penn.
Sydney Brown of Shenendehowa, Anthony Mack of Catholic Central and Elijah Burns of La Salle all went to Blair Academy (N.J.) and are now at Columbia, Miami and Notre Dame, respectively.
"There are great [prep] schools out of the area," said Bradwell, a 1996 Niskayuna graduate who officiates Division I college basketball games. "A lot of kids from New England and other areas go prep, but we don't have that many upstate New York kids going prep. It's taken off more recently."
Bradwell said he will be moderating the round table parent/coaches discussion.
"During the player warm-ups we'll have the parents sit down with three prep coaches, the parent of a prep player and a college coach, and we'll talk for 45 minutes or so," Bradwell said. "We'll talk about all the things parents don't know. We'll have the information they're looking for about the process. About being away from home. About school work."
Bradwell said approximately 45 prep basketball coaches have accepted offers to attend the showcase. Each of them will be given a bio sheet on each player which will include such things as position, height, attending high school, whether they are willing to reclassify and contact information.
Local basketball trainer Steve Dagostino and his staff will conduct the player warm-ups and some drills before 3-on-3 games take place.
"Some people feel this is taking high school kids away from a school or a coach," Bradwell said. "I have two things on that. If a young man has made the decision to go from public school X to prep school Y, they're going to do that. Number two, these prep school leagues are better than the local basketball leagues, so why hold someone back from blooming and blossoming?
"An example would be a student that is taking regents math who wants to go to honors math. I am going to push them and help them go in that direction."
Bradwell said prep players in general are seen by more college coaches.
"At Cheshire, they had an open gym and over 140 college coaches came. You're not going to get that at a public school," Bradwell said. "The exposure is second to none. Often times a coach will come to see a player and see another guy."
The showcase fee is $150 and sign-up information can be found at www.showcaseeventsllc.com.