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Satellite camps help ‘fringe kids,’ coach says

Al Willman
The Detroit News
These are the players from schools participating in the Classic.

Detroit — Last week’s NCAA ruling banning satellite camps has been a hot topic around the country.

And Michigan high school athletes and coaches have joined the fray.

“I feel like that’s a bad thing,” Detroit Cass Tech senior Taeshon Trotter, an Ohio commit, said Tuesday at a preview for the Prep Kickoff Classic. “Those camps opened doors for us. They let a lot of coaches get a lot of exposure for us and just helped everybody get a feel for what colleges you could go to and what they want from you.”

One of the biggest arguments in support of the camps is that they provide exposure for prospects for Group of Five colleges, or lower competitive levels.

“It’s (about) the fringe kids and creating those opportunities,” Detroit King assistant Terel Patrick said. “Look at how much success those fringe kids had. We had two Detroit kids go to Iowa. Both had great success. You’re not eliminating the opportunities, but you’re making it a little more inconvenient for those opportunities to be presented to the kids.”

The bigger picture, however, is the effect the camps have on participants — in life.

That, Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said, is what’s most important.

“To tell universities that they’re not allowed to go to camps and work with young men and be mentors to them, and motivate them so they can do something better with their life, that kind of makes you look at people and say, ‘What are you here for?’ ” Wilcher said. “Are they there just to make money off us or what?

“The NCAA has to understand that coaches are in college to help mentor kids, to help save lives, to help change young men to become great fathers, great grandfathers, to become great husbands and become better brothers. So they’ve got to keep that in the forefront and make sure that men are here to help men. That’s what it’s all about.”

Al Willman is a freelance writer.

Prep Football Classic

Kickoff: Thursday, Aug. 25-Saturday, Aug. 27, Wayne State, Detroit

Aug. 25

■Woodhaven vs. Lincoln Park, 4 p.m.

■Chippewa Valley vs. Lake Orion, 7 p.m.

Aug. 26

■Allen Park vs. Taylor Kennedy, 4 p.m.

■Canton vs. Dearborn Fordson, 7 p.m.

Aug. 27

■Chelsea vs. River Rouge, 12 p.m.

■Southfield Arts and Technology vs. Detroit King, 3 p.m.

■Detroit Cass Tech vs. Oak Park, 6 p.m.