About the SHOT IN THE DARK Foundation

The Shot in the Dark Foundation carries on the legacy of film producer, basketball scout, and community organizer Daniel Poneman’s work in the Chicago basketball community over the past decade. 

The Foundation’s mission is to help showcase kids from urban communities to be seen by college scouts offering athletic scholarships. The Foundation also helps these young men and women utilize the opportunities that the scholarships have provided so that they can create better lives and futures for themselves, their families and their community members.

Our mission is not to create more NBA stars - but rather to find kids who can use their athletic talents to get a college education, and come back to the community that raised them and use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to give back to that community. Our goal is to help nurture the next generation of teachers, mentors, coaches and leaders who will help shape the future of America’s inner cities.

Our annual event, the Chicago Prospect Showcase/Evan Turner’s Prospect Showcase, is a free basketball camp and showcase for high school seniors from Chicago area schools, designed to display their talent in front of college basketball scouts and coaches in hopes of getting a scholarship offer.

Since 2009 close to 1000 young men have played in front of more than 500 college coaches and over $50 million in scholarships have been awarded as a result of this annual showcase event. This year, for the first time we’ve added a girl’s division to showcase the talent of young women with basketball skills and college potential.

This showcase doesn’t target “elite” talent or top level Division I prospects with NBA futures. These elite players have already been noticed and usually have an abundance of scholarship offers. This event is designed to help kids who are talented but whose best chance is to receive a scholarship to a junior college, or a school at the DII, DIII or NAIA level--and this showcase is almost always their only chance of being seen by the coaches from these schools.

This event is made possible through the contributions of generous donors who share our vision of helping to create brighter futures for young men and women through basketball scholarships.   

Our event is truly one-of-a-kind, as it is the only free showcase in the Chicago area, thus accessible to every young man and woman with college potential regardless of their financial situation.

However, in order to keep it going and expand our programming, we need your help.

Our goals for 2018 and beyond are to run our camps and showcases more than just one weekend a year, and to continue to expand our mentoring and leadership training so that our kids will have support when they return to Chicago after graduation.

Additionally our plans include bringing our showcase model to other cities across America and ultimately changing the lives of kids in developing countries around the world through helping them procure basketball scholarships to schools in the US.  To date, we have run camps and showcases in Trinidad and Tanzania.  Our first showcase in Nigeria will take place this May.

None of this can happen without your donations, so we are asking you to help.

Every $75 contribution sponsors one player to be in the showcase and have the chance to completely change the trajectory of their lives.  

We also want to extend our gratitude to  NBA player Evan Turner and WNBA player Jewell Loyd -- two unique stars who have made good on their desire to do more for the kids of Chicago by supporting these camps and showcases. In 2015, Evan first lent his experience and resources to help grow our event. Now Jewell has joined the cause to see that young women have the same opportunity as the young men. Evan and Jewell have generously helped to ensure that all players can play free of charge, get a jersey to take home, receive lunch at the showcase, and hopefully procure a college scholarship.  



Damian Robinson

"The Prospect Showcase opened doors for my life. I had nowhere to play ball after high school, but at the showcase I got my first scholarship offer to play at Bakersfield Junior College in California. After playing two great years there I finished my career at Montana State Northern and earned my 4-year degree. That showcase was a true blessing."

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Marcus Gatlin

"Daniel Poneman has had an amazing impact on me. Playing in his showcase two years ago allowed me to be seen by Harper College, where I went and averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Daniel also taught me something that I will take with me forever - he said 'forget about D1 or D2 - if it's a 100% free education TAKE IT! It's not about 'level' - it's about going where you'll have an opportunity to be great and be happy.’"


Mike Brooks

"The showcase was a true blessing. Dan came up to me after my last high school game and invited me to play. A lot of schools stopped recruiting me after I transferred during my junior year, forcing me to sit out the whole season. The showcase gave me the opportunity to display my talent amongst some of the best competition in Chicago. I got a scholarship offer from Calumet St. Joseph, a four year school, at the showcase. I just finished my sophomore year there and have enjoyed every moment of my career so far. I'm 321 points away from 1,000 for my career. None of this could have happened without the showcase.”


De'Quaniis Jackson

“It’s tough out there as a 5'8" guard. You can be the toughest and the strongest, but nothing will make you taller. Daniel’s Showcase looked at pure talent. It gave me an opportunity to show what I can do on the court. Because of the showcase, I've played for a phenomenal program, great coaches, and with great players at Parkland College.”

You have the power to make a life-changing difference for the futures of young men like De'Quaniis, Marcus, Mike, and Damian and now, young women, moving them from an uncertain future to all that is possible with a college education:


The Shot in the Dark Foundation is an Illinois based 501c3 (pending) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. **All donations to the Shot in the Dark Foundation will appear on your credit card / Paypal account as Atypical Sports and Learning Foundation.**