CEDAR RAPIDS — A disciplined passion presents an opportunity to grow.
Trey Sampson’s passion is basketball.
Through discipline, he has taken advantage of the opportunities basketball presents. A formerly four-sport high school athlete at Cedar Rapids Xavier, Sampson discovered his love of basketball in college after first committing to football. He has played for the DMACC, Missouri Western State and Minnesota State-Mankato teams, competing in several national tournaments.
During the summer, he plays for the Eastern Iowa Premier Showcase Summer League where he leads the league in scoring. Created by Ray Vasser, this league aims to provide an exciting basketball experience for the community and players. Moreover, Vasser said the league gives players a chance to display their skills.
“(The EIPSSL) is a good platform with a video taping of them playing against some high level competition,” Vasser said.
According to Vasser, Sampson has fulfilled the league’s mission.
“(Trey is) using it as a platform for the next level ... Players could garner a lot from him,” Vasser said.
Sampson said he will head to Las Vegas after the league season and tryout for international teams at a pro-am event.
“Travel the world and live a little bit,” he said.
But aside from furthering his basketball career, the league has been an invaluable developer of moral fiber as well as a constructive outlet for frustration.
Sampson said basketball is “therapy” to him.
“A lot of violence has been coming around Cedar Rapids, and there’s other ways to get anger out,” he said. “... When I’m mad, I go to the gym. Playing basketball and competing, that’s the way to get some aggression out.”
When asked what he gained from the EIPSSL, Sampson said the league increased focus and respect.
Former Cedar Rapids Washington prep Mo Arrington, however, may have put it best.
“We keep it competitive, but we all keep the sportsmanship,” he said,
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Furthermore, a season can keep players occupied during the summer. While Sampson admitted to the infrequent Netflix binge, he vehemently advocates for the structure a league can provide young players.
Keeping players busy keeps them out of trouble.
“If I’m not watching Netflix, I’m probably somewhere in the gym or at work,” he said.
The EIPSSL has given players like Sampson an active release that manages to simultaneously instill priceless virtue. Stan Hughes, who coaches the Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery team, said that the league’s purpose is “to get these young men some exposure, allow them to showcase their talents ... give them a chance to work on some things that can help them further their careers, maybe in college, high school.”
Hughes spoke to the importance of having fun at the same time.
The EIPSSL provides an opportunity players like Sampson and Arrington have taken — to further themselves as players and people while also growing their love for the game.
The league wraps up its regular-season Saturday at the Isaac Newton gym with three games, starting at 1 p.m. The EIPSSL playoffs begin July 1, with semifinals July 6 and the championship July 8.