The first experience of the EBO Alaska summer basketball team was an eye-opener.
The 12-person Elite Basketball Organization team -- comprised of middle and high school players from Juneau and Skagway -- lost all five of its games at the Annual Mats Madness Tournament in Fresno, Calif., over Memorial Day weekend.
But coach Carlos Boozer Sr. said the team was competitive in every game.
``We held our own,'' Boozer said. ``We had a 17-point lead on the No. 5 AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) team in the nation, but they beat us by seven points at the end.''
The tournament was hosted by Darren Matsubara, the Fresno-based AAU coach of Boozer's son Carlos Jr., now a sophomore center at Duke.
The EBO team leaves Juneau Thursday for a summer schedule that begins with a tournament June 10-14 at Duke University in Durham, N.C., with head coach Mike Krzyzewski. After a break where the team will practice at Maryland, Kentucky and Illinois universities, the team will close out its trip with three more tournaments.
From July 6-9 is the Mr. Basket-ball Invitational Tournament at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. After that is the Adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas July 14-19. The trip ends at the Best of Summer High School Tournament at Cal State University at Dominguez Hills on July 20-24.
Boozer said the tournaments - many of which got Boozer Jr. notice from college coaches - offer unparalleled exposure for players seeking college scholarships.
``Every major college coach in the nation will be at these tournaments,'' Boozer said.
The Adidas Tournament and the Best of Summer High School Tournament put together information on each player into a comprehensive book that is sent to every Division I, Division II and NAIA school in the country, Boozer said. The information is used by college recruiting services to rank players.
The EBO Alaska team has no ranked players, but Boozer believed his sixth-grade son Charles Boozer could soon be ranked at his age level.
Other players from Juneau are: Clay Brown, Jarret Brown, Leon Bus, Robert Carte, Jon Chapman, Sterling Henderson, Alex Heumann, Jon Carlo Malacas, James Severin and J.J. Sevier. Skagway's Mitchell Snyder rounds out the team.
Boozer said per NCAA rules, the team cannot fund-raise, and the $42,000 trip is being paid for by donations and parents. Donations can be sent to EBO Alaska, P.O. Box 34152, Juneau, AK 99803.