Crucial Time on the College Basketball Calendar Outside of First Practices in October
For three weeks during a five day period spanning from Wednesday, July 11 through Sunday, July 15 and repeating over the next two weeks (five days stretches each), the three major shoe companies will be sponsoring these sometimes AAU sanctioned events geared at today’s high school crop in hoping to latch on to a place the kids can enroll by August in landing a college of their choosing.
Coaches need to shore up their rosters, and us as fans are hungry for information on what all 351 NCAA Division I schools plus also in Divisions II and III will look like when we turn the corner towards the end of autumn in gearing up for a new season come early November.
Too bad we cannot be flies on the wall at these events, but I am sure there will be plenty of movement going on amidst what will be a very fluid time for the sport:
On Monday morning, Seth Davis sent to email subscribers to The Athletic website some brief details on what usually takes place (and has mostly been like this since the early 1980’s when Sonny Vaccaro ran the Nike camps and gave Michael Jordan his first sneaker deal with the University of North Carolina).
As per NCAA rules, scores of coaches can watch as many high school players compete, but they cannot speak with them face-to-face. At least, the coaches can send text messages and speak on the phone with any player who will be entering their senior year of high school.
This is grassroots basketball at its’ finest, as Nike will hold the EYBL Peach Jam in Augusta, Ga. while there will be an Under Armour Challenge in Atlanta and finally Adidas will stage their Gauntlet Finale in New York City.
Next week, there will be even more events spread throughout the nation. Finally, on July 25–everyone will be stationed in Las Vegas (thankfully inside 60 degree air conditioned gyms while everyone else will be baking outside in nearly 110 degree heat).
Although the Amateur Athletic Association sometimes gets a bad rap by some members of the media, they will only have a hand in some of the events.
As the players get to travel and bond with teammates and find mentors, they will be competing against very stiff competition. Even though for the most part, parents of the players wish they would be staying close to home helping out fill their summer idle time by mowing the lawn, washing their cars, and doing other ancillary tasks–the whole point of the summer recruiting circuit (along with other recruiting periods in college hoops) helps gives coaches, their assistants, reporters and everyone else in the sport a chance to be together in a low-maintenance setting. Seeing the likes of Roy Williams shooting the breeze with a Mike Brey, John Calipari, or Tom Izzo, while Mike Kryzezewski might mix things a bit with new Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean or Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, just to name a few.
Bottom line, the coaches are mostly looking for the new “diamonds in the rough.”
And The Freshmen Shall Lead Them
Unlike the mostly bitter recruiting moments involving college football, it is always interesting to see what goes in the minds of the coaches in trying to land their next big star on campus. They will be wearing polos bearing their school logos, in a more relaxed and casual dress code unlike when everybody tries to dress like Frank Sinatra from the Rat Pack heyday during the regular season and NCAA Tournament the following March.
Each coach has a specific plan on what type of player (forward, center, or guard) they are looking for to complete their rosters for the upcoming season.
It may sound coy, but it is true–the really good players mostly end up enrolling in the Power 5 Conferences and hopefully get that proverbial boost their school would need to earn potentially a top 6 seed come Selection Sunday.
With the Rice Commission Report looming, Change is Coming
The general structure of recruiting will be totally different by July 2019. At the very least, if you plan to follow the key moves via Twitter and other blogs here on WordPress, keep this basic dynamic in mind:
Coaches will need players, players are desperately looking for scholarships and the fans deserve the right to know what is happening with the sport in general and what direction that compass might be pointing before Halloween takes over.
As Seth Davis bluntly put it,
“Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program”
I hope to spend a few Mondays the remainder of July chronicling any tangible moves which take place, rather than documenting the general movements every waking hour.
I will try my best to keep those types of blogs clear and concise, with very little fluff.
And for those of you attempting to soak up some rays, please don’t forget your sunscreen (Coppertone Sport is my pick every time) when you attempt to read my blogs and keeping your smartphone batteries from losing their juice.
Remember, comments are always welcome on this or any of my past and future blogs.
Please have yourselves a good night, and hope you all have a very pleasant Wednesday. I expect there will be tons of movement across the college basketball landscape over the next three weeks plus.