For the past two years, Chicago native Evan Turner has helped provide a unique opportunity to hopeful high school players by funding the annual Evan Turner Showcase (previously the Swag Air showcase) at Orr Academy high school. The event, created by former high school basketball talent evaluator Dan Poneman in 2010, gives 250 high school and junior college athletes the chance to play in front of college scouts and coaches, in hopes of earning a scholarship.
This year, the showcase was held on April 9, during the Trail Blazers’ final homestand of the 2016-17 NBA season. Although Turner could not be there in person, his support makes a tremendous impact.
According to Poneman, about 70 percent of invitees leave the showcase with scholarship offers. Although the hope is that players will go on to be successful and give back to the Chicago community, the event team, which includes Turner’s mother, Iris James, also wishes to expand and include other communities around the country in the future.