New summer basketball league ready to tip off

Eastern Iowa league will showcase high school talent

Ray Vasser, coaching the Cedar Rapids Defenders in his 2014 photo, has started a new league for high school players. (Jeff Johnson/The Gazette)
Ray Vasser, coaching the Cedar Rapids Defenders in his 2014 photo, has started a new league for high school players. (Jeff Johnson/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A great alternative to AAU basketball will make its introduction in Eastern Iowa next month.

Ray Vasser, founder of the Eastern Iowa High School Summer Showcase League, is very excited about what this new league offers high school players in the area.

“My main goal was to offer a different outlet,” Vasser said. “We figured a homegrown league was something high school boys would be interested in.”

Games start July 11 at the Adora Community Gymnasium in Walker. As of now, the program has 32 players that make up four teams.

“Hopefully it’ll grow,” Vasser said. “The goal is to have eight teams.”

There are lots of perks about being apart of this league, Vasser said. It’s comparable to AAU, but a few differences make it more suitable for high school players.

“The most obvious difference is the cost,” Vasser said. “AAU can cost anywhere from $1,400 to $2,000 to play basketball for the first half of the summer.”

Vasser understands not every talented player can afford the steep cost.


“It’s not about the money,” he said. “It’s about giving kids lots of opportunities to play. We hope to help them realize their talent through an individual coaching experience.”

Vasser’s “plan right now” is to run this league through the summer. The cost has been reduced from $75 to $35.

Players were drafted through workouts that were held in late May to early June, which allowed coaches to familiarize themselves with each player’s talent.

“Only a very select few can play AAU basketball,” Vasser said. “This league is a great alternative.”

The EIHSSSL has an impressive coaching staff available.

“This league has provided the most coaching I think my kid has ever had,” parents have told Vasser already.

The staff includes Vasser, Kevin Sanders, Dylan Cronk and Stan Hughes. Hughes has coached at the college level and is listed as the head coach of the Cedar Valley Court Kings in Waterloo. He has helped develop big-name players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.

Teams will play two games each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The public is welcome to attend and college scouts also could be in the gym.

“This league is for players who have aspirations to play in college,” Vasser said. “It’s perfect for kids who want real critique of their game.”

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