OPINION: If You’re Not First, You’re Last – The Importance of College Basketball Summer Recruitment
That’s the famous quote from from Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, isn’t it?
Well, it reigns true to NCAA basketball scouts and coaches who are looking for a program’s next big star. Even though the players being recruited will only be rising seniors or even rising juniors, where they play in the month of July can have big implications on their futures.
First off, the main reason why this period is so important to college coaches is because of the NCAA’s strict regulations when it comes to meeting and watching prospective student-athletes. There is a schedule built to the day of when certified scouts and college coaches are allowed to attend tournaments, camps, and events built to attract premier high school basketball talent. Coaches from around the country flock to wherever the best players are, and ooze over those who have made a name for themselves in high school and can continue to at the Division I level.
According to the NCAA recruiting calendar, the current time period, July 6-31, is considered a ‘dead period,’ where no recruiting is allowed to take place. That is, except for a series of days throughout the month. Those are July 12-16, 19-23, and 26-30, with recruiting beginning at 5 p.m. on the first day and ending at 5 p.m. the final day. July 31 is a ‘dead’ day, and then August 1 until Sept. 8 is a quiet period’ until the academic year officially begins on Sept. 9, meaning that recruitment can start back up in full.
So for now, recruiting is especially important, as players do not have academics to worry about. It’s summer, and it’s basketball all day, every day for young stars to be.
One of the biggest recruiting events takes place through Hoop Group, a basketball company that hosts camps and events for budding high school players. It’s Elite 1, Elite 2 and Summer Jam Fest camps and tournaments in eastern Pennsylvania have attracted over 40 D1 programs and 180 total college coaches. Under Armor and Adidas have hosted events as well across the mid-Atlantic. These programs have seen class of 2018 top prospects such as Jake Forrester, Jahvon Quinerly, Jordan McCabe and Moses Brown, the sixth-highest rated prospect, according to ESPN.
The exposure is perfect for the players, but leaves coaches and programs drooling for more. These opportunities give coaches a taste of what to expect, and then must use this time as well as previous recruiting to go further and hopefully offer high schoolers a chance to play at the college level.
But if you’re not in attendance, you may already count yourself out of the running.