1500x500.jpeg

Colorado basketball could be on the verge of major change thanks to a new program model designed to expose high school students to top talent — and top college scouts from across the country.

Founded by former University of Colorado standout Xavier Silas, Colorado Prep will open its doors this fall as the state’s first high school basketball team to play a national schedule, unaffiliated with the Colorado High School Activities Association. Colorado Prep will play in The Grind Session, a national league of prep schools described by Silas as the most competitive high school league in the country.

“In this little Mountain West region there’s not really (any scouts) coming to see these top kids at the rate The Grind Session is,” Silas said. “When you have a team full of talented kids playing against other talented kids it makes sense for college coaches to go see them. But that just doesn’t happen in Colorado, not because the talent isn’t there, but because of lack of exposure.”

According to a graphic provided by Silas, The Grind Session has led to 1,400 Division I offers for its players, produced 771 DI athletes, 31 NBA players and nine lottery picks through the last six seasons.

Silas said they have received 70 applications to join Colorado Prep in its inaugural year, but will cap the 2020-21 roster at about 15 athletes, including a few Colorado Springs standouts.

Colorado Prep has a partnership Astravo Online Academy, which will allow athletes to complete coursework online as they train and compete nationally. Silas said the academic and athletic schedule, including training and travel, will help prepare athletes for what they will face in college.

“Our goal is not to just get them a scholarship, but to prepare them to do well in the environment and succeed,” Silas said. “We will have a sports dietitian, teach them the nutrition side, and combine yoga, strength and conditioning and get them ready for what they’re going to face in college on and off the court.”

Colorado Prep will practice and host games at Sports Stable in Superior, and will be coached by retired San Antonio Spurs legend James Silas, and former NCAA coach Mike Moskowitz. Travel, scholarships and other expenses will be funded through a booster club and a sponsorship with New Balance as one of only two teams on The Grind Session partnered with the fitness brand.

Xavier Silas said Colorado Prep will expand to include a girls’ team next year and he was approached about starting a second boys’ prep team in Colorado for 2021, but plans are still in the works.

“The girls are banging down the door ready to go next year, so we are really excited,” Silas said.

Silas said when he returned to Colorado and started his club teams, Give Sports, he saw a need for a program like Colorado Prep.

“It breeds opportunity,” Silas said, adding that he understands there may be some criticism toward the new program.

“It’s just a different experience and a different option,” said Silas, who grew up in Texas, which has five associations to govern high school sports. “Colorado is different only having one governing body for sports, but that’s not the case in other states. CHSAA has been the status quo, but if it’s about the kids and their opportunity to get seen, then no one should have a problem with this. It’s not an us vs. them thing, it’s a competition thing. It’s about the kid being in a better position to be seen by scouts.”