Playing CLBL VS Tuscarora Basketball

By Jaha Knight

The Central Loudoun Basketball League (CLBL) is the local basketball team for boys and girls in grades 3-12 in Central Loudoun.  Anybody can participate in this recreational league; students can attend the open tryout dates and the coaches place them on skill-based teams. A lot of kids play CLBL just for fun and for the love of basketball.

“I play CLBL so that I can play basketball with my friends at little to no commitment. Also, it’s not as competitive [as high school basketball], which I enjoy,” said junior Madison Chestnut.

Not everyone likes the pressure of high school sports, because you are expected to perform at a high level and attend all practices, all while maintaining a certain GPA. High school basketball is considered more competitive than the recreational league, because after the three official tryouts, students can make freshmen, junior varsity, or varsity teams, or be cut.

“Not playing high school ball really gives me a lot more time for my job and homework, because we only have one to two practices per week, and a game on Saturdays,” said Chestnut.

One might ask why a student wouldn’t try out for their school team if they’re still interested in competitive basketball. For senior Sofiane Fellah, who is juggling a job and an intense course load, CLBL allows him to “play competitively without it being so time consuming.”

“It’s the best option,” said Fellah. “I take 5 AP’s and work 20 hours a week, so having practices everyday of the week instead of one day would give me substantially less time for homework and free time. Playing CLBL gives me much more opportunity for being successful in other areas I care more about. As a Knowledge Engineer intern for my IT Company, it enables me to become more productive in my workplace.”
The only disadvantage of playing CLBL is that students cannot get recognized by division 1, 2, or 3 colleges. As Fellah explains, Tuscarora basketball can provide more opportunities for those students interested in playing on college or professional teams.

“[Tuscarora basketball] plays against the top talent in the county, while CLBL is a recreational league. If one wants to play D1,D2, or D3 basketball, then Tuscarora basketball is the way to go,” said Fellah.

There are other reasons certain students prefer to play CLBL: some kids get discouraged from trying out because they don’t think they’re good enough to make the team.  However, this is a “common misconception,” said head girls’ varsity basketball coach Michael Newkirk. “I go to the CLBL championship games to look for young girls who maybe didn’t have the courage to try out for high school ball, and after seeing them play, [I] help them build those skills to advance to the high school level,” said Newkirk.

Whether you play CLBL just for fun, or you play high school basketball to advance to the next level, there is not one league that is better than the other. It depends on what you want to get out of the sport and what will make you happy.