The tip-off for what is slated to be the 20th Annual Nixa Summer Shootout has been pushed back a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Unless something changes, we’re moving our June Summer Shootout to July," Eagles coach Jay Osborne said. "We’re at the mercy of county and school administrators. We all want to do what is best for the players and their parents. Everything is still up in the air. But we’re hoping that within a month and a half, we can get back to normal. If we can’t, we’ll cancel and try something else. I’m not sure what we would do."
The Summer Shootout has become an off-season staple for many programs throughout southwest Missouri and beyond, attracting an average of 120-140 junior high, freshman and varsity teams, with as many as 400 games played.
"We won’t break any records this year," Osborne said, alluding to some schools likely not holding any activities this summer.
The Summer Shootout will consist of games Tuesdays and Thursdays the first three weeks and Tuesday and Wednesday the final week. No W-L records are kept and no champion is crowned.
"We’ve looked at changing the format. But right now we don’t put records on a board or keep track of records," Osborne said. "It’s a chance to play a lot of kids and evaluate players."
Osborne is set for Nixa to host individual workouts in June.
"We’re going to start individual work within the guidelines our administration has set forth," he said. "We’re going to be allowed to do some small work while social distancing. We can work on shooting and ball-handling fundamentals."
Osborne would like to think his players' enthusiasm will help make up for any rust they may have picked up during their forced idle time the past couple of months due to the coronavirus.
"Being away from basketball for six to eight weeks, I’m looking at it positively and think it will be good for them," he said. "It gives them a solid chance to rest, re-evaluate and look at what’s really important. When you step away from something you love and then come back to it, you should appreciate it a little more. We’re hoping they have a greater appreciation for what they have around here. After having our freedoms taken away, I hope the kids realize all the good things they have and come back with renewed energy."
Osborne adds he hopes his players have made due and still shot hoops, even while all area gyms were off limits.
"It’s been a great opportunity for them to go old-school and play basketball out in the driveway," he said. "It’s good for them to play with a 12 mph wind coming out of the west that makes you have to shoot with just the right amount of arch. In the good ol’ days, you went outside and played. Kids nowadays have so much access to indoor facilities."
As for himself, the 28-year Nixa coach reports he has done his best to keep from gaining too much weight and has stayed occupied by watching, what else, basketball.
"I’ve been watching on-line clinics. The best thing I’ve done is get on YouTube and watch NCAA Tournament games," said Osborne, a Kansas native and Jayhawks fan. "I watched the ’88 Kansas game in which Danny Manning (had 31 points and 18 rebounds) against Oklahoma, (Steve) Alford’s Indiana team in ’87 and the regional final in ’92 between Kentucky and Duke with Christian Laettner’s shot at the buzzer."