AASP Presents: Star City Showdown (Harrisburg, PA)


HARRISBURG, PA -- Awaan Sweet, Owner of All Around Sports Promotion, is one of the pioneers in the modern era of Pennsylvania High School Basketball.

From hosting different showcases, aiding in creating a players' tape for recruiting to even running social media promotions to support local athletes, Sweet has made the extra effort in giving back to youth sports.

Sweet is a busy figure in the game, but for the past few months, he's been behind the scenes developing a plan to bring a bit of hoops culture back to Harrisburg this summer.

What's in the works? You'd have to visit the 'Burg to find out.

The Star City Showdown is an upcoming outdoor basketball tournament hosted in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The tournament will be held from August 2-4 at Brightbill Park, located in Lower Paxton Township. The Star City Showdown features high school boys and girls basketball programs with divisions ranging from varsity, junior varsity, freshman and an open division. 

So, you just might see someone's grandpa try to get some tick in the late summer weekend.

The RPN caught up with Sweet in an interview to discuss his plans for the Star City Showdown, modern era of grassroots basketball and an outlook on his developing promotion.

Tyreese Smith: Welcome to the brand, Awaan! For those who aren’t familiar with you, please introduce yourself. 
Awaan Sweet: "Thanks for having me, sir. My name is Awaan Sweet, and I wear many hats. Currently, I am the owner of All-Around Sports Promotion and the Vice President and Basketball Commissioner at Rutherford Youth Club. I also volunteer for two other local basketball programs. I was born and raised in Central PA. Everything I do currently is based out of this area."

Tyreese Smith: Creating your startup, All-Around Sports Promotion, what is the purpose behind your brand?
Awaan Sweet: "Growing up sports played a huge role in my childhood. There was even a year when I participated in as many as four different sports. As I grew older, I noticed that many local sports programs and traditions in the areas where I grew up were dying off. Everything seems to be shifting towards Travel and AAU-based models. The sports have become super expensive and time-consuming. Having a daughter (Alaina Sweet) who has been playing AAU for the last four years, I've noticed how much it has become a money grab. I'm just trying to do my part and bring back well-run events. In the future, we are hoping to branch out to other sports. My vision includes several different aspects and avenues. Currently, we are focusing on running affordable basketball tournaments and showcases. These are affordable for both the teams and the parents. Through our events, we want to help create exposure for as many student-athletes as possible. In the past year, we hosted two free showcases, a small local youth basketball tournament, and secured a referee contract with the Naval Base in Mechanicsburg. We're looking to get our hands on as many different sports-related ventures as possible."

Tyreese Smith: Furthering the mission behind AASP, you are in the works of bringing a showcase to the Burg. Run me through it, what is the, Star City Showcase? It takes me back to my childhood on the blacktop.
Awaan Sweet: "Last summer, I traveled to Allentown to watch the Mechanicsburg Boys Basketball team play in the A-Town Throwdown. The event was incredibly well-organized and exhilarating. As I soaked in the atmosphere, one thought kept echoing in my mind, 'How amazing would it be to bring an event like this to the Central PA area?' Creating something even half as successful as the A-Town Throwdown would be a great achievement."

"My involvement in the local basketball community only fueled my motivation." Sweet continued. "For months, I've been in discussions with Lower Paxton Township. A few days ago, we received final approval. I'm thrilled to announce that we're making this vision a reality. My plan is to invite every high school basketball program in District 3 to participate. I'm hopeful that we'll see a fantastic turnout for this first event, setting the stage for an even bigger and better tournament in 2025."

Tyreese Smith: We always have discussions about the modern era of grassroots, but what do you believe are the greatest challenges that have arisen at the youth level?
Awaan Sweet: "Money. It's the greatest challenge I face, plain and simple. Greed has turned youth sports into a hyper inflated nightmare. Shady organizations and trainers prey on parents' ignorance. Charging thousands of dollars per season with the promise that college scouts will discover their kids. But, what about the talented kids whose parents can't afford those astronomical upfront costs? Travel sports have become the domain of those with deep pockets. Not necessarily the most skilled players. It troubles me to see kids on travel teams who aren't the most talented, but just well funded."

Tyreese Smith: Making the transition from not just a parent and coach, but to being a director, what are you predicting will be some positives and then some things that will change as you’re starting from the ground up? 
Awaan Sweet: "For the past seven years, I have been volunteering with local nonprofit youth sports organizations. Prioritizing the children's well-being and development. Our primary objective has been to deliver top-notch experience, while making it affordable. I plan to apply this same mindset to my own company and program. Focusing on helping kids who would otherwise be unable to participate in sports. Using social media to promote a student athlete's talent and skills, while offering low-cost alternatives to expensive glorified pickup games can contribute to this goal. I hope that our efforts will inspire positive change in local youth sports and provide opportunities for all children to participate and grow."

Tyreese Smith: As someone who looks into situations long term, where do you see AASP at in the next five years? Rap to me.
Awaan Sweet: "If things go as planned in the next 5 years, then ur AAU basketball program will be well-established. Also, our multiple court facility will be a reality. I hope our program will be recognized for doing things the right way."

Tyreese Smith: Thank you Waan for taking the time to talk with me. Do you have any words of encouragement or motivation for people? Any last words? 
Awaan Sweet: "If you don’t like the path you are currently on, create a new one. Thanks for having me."

For more information on the Star City Showdown:


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