Patrick Clevenger, a junior at James River High School, was planning on getting lots of exposure with the Virginia Havoc travel basketball team with a full schedule of spring and summer tournaments. Then the pandemic struck.
This is a critical time for Clevenger, who is planning to play basketball in college. The travel schedule gives coaches a chance to find talent and the Havoc, coached by former Virginia Tech standout Shawn Good, was Patrick’s chance to be seen. However, Division I coaches were banned from the travel by the NCAA due to the pandemic so even the limited schedule of games wouldn’t help.
Then along came Stefan Welsh. The former Arkansas Razorback, who is now basketball coach at Woodside High School in Newport News, took it upon himself to find a way for boys in the Commonwealth to get some exposure. Welsh started the “Seen Circuit” for college hopefuls to play in the fall.
Welsh organized a group of eight teams with 88 players representing the different area codes throughout the state. Area Code 757 has three teams, 804 has two and 540, 703 and 434 have one team each. Clevenger was chosen to play on the 540 team, which is also coached by Good.
“It gives the kids a chance to be seen by college coaches,” said Good, who is also the head coach and associate athletic director at Roanoke Catholic High School.
The teams get together and play at various locations. The first event was at Dale City in Northern Virginia and last weekend the teams were at Virginia Beach. This coming weekend another event is planned for Richmond, and that’s the last scheduled event.
“There are so many talented players around the country who haven’t had the opportunity to earn scholarships this summer,” said Welsh, who went on to play professionally in Israel, Dominican Republic, China and Canada. “I had to do what I could for the players in my state, so I decided to start a league to help them out.”
Patrick is hoping to land a scholarship with a Division I team. James River High is scheduled to begin practice on December 7 with games to begin on December 21. The Knights have a new coach this year in James River and Roanoke College graduate Ethan Humphries.