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Dozens of NCAA-certified events around the country will be open to Division I coaches over the next three weeks, and the coaches can use the opportunity to traverse the country to track top targets and discover new ones. Next year, this month could look different if the NCAA committee, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, goes through with its plan to take recruiting power away from AAU coaches and give it back to NCAA.
Here is a look at several regional events worth attending as well as some big-time national tournaments that should draw representatives from every power conference school in the country:
NIKE EYBL Peach Jam
Dates: July 11-15
Location: North Augusta, S.C.
Breakdown: There’s no doubt that the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League continues to be the premier travel ball, with 20 of the top 22 picks in the June 15 NBA draft coming out of the EYBL. The Peach Jam, now in its 23rd season, has become the EYBL’s championship tournament, with the top 24 of 40 initial EYBL-sponsored programs earning the invite down to the Riverview Park Activities Center for three days of pool play and then two days of bracket play to determine the ultimate champion. The Philly-area Nike representative, Team Final, did not qualify and will participate in the nearby Peach Invitational Tournament instead. The clear favorite entering Peach Jam is Team Takeover, which features Villanova commit Justin Moore (DeMatha Catholic, D.C.) and Virginia commit Casey Morsell (St. John’s College, D.C.) and went a perfect 16-0 in four regular-season stops.
Under Armour Association Finals
Dates: July 25-29
Location: Las Vegas
Breakdown: The UAA used to compete directly with the Peach Jam for college coaches’ attention, but Under Armour is doing things a little differently this year, waiting until the final week of July to get its top programs together and decide a crown. The two-time defending champions (and winners of three of the last four 17-under UAA titles) are a local squad, WeR1, which this year features Abington and Villanova commit Eric Dixon up front as well as Bonner-Prendergast’s Isaiah Wong and Imhotep Charter’s Chereef Knox. Philly Pride, which finished 6-2 in the UAA regular season — only one game behind WeR1 — boasts Roman Catholic’s Seth Lundy, Perkiomen School’s Chris Arcidiacono and Imhotep Charter’s Donta Scott.
Adidas Gauntlet Finale
Dates: July 12-15
Location: New York City
Breakdown: Not to be confused with the Adidas Summer Championships, which take place July 18-22 in California, the Gauntlet Finale is the true championship for the Adidas Gauntlet circuit. There’s actually two Gauntlet circuits, Gold and Silver; the higher-level Gold circuit championship will be held at Basketball City, the Silver championship at House of Sports in Westchester, N.Y. The only local program sponsored by Adidas is K-Low Elite, and both K-Low 17-under teams qualified in their respective divisions. The top K-Low 17-under squad features Christian Ray (Haverford School), Christian Ings (Neumann-Goretti) and prepping Archbishop Wood grad Seth Pinkney.
Hoop Group Elite Camps
Dates: July 10-13, 17-20 and 24-26
Location: Reading, Pa.
Breakdown: The Hoop Group’s Elite Camps have invaded the campus of Albright College for the last 10 summers with a series of camps that began with an Academic Elite camp at the end of June and goes through a Jr. All-American camp at the beginning of August. But the first two of three camps during the live period — Academic Elite II is the third, July 24-26 — are especially loaded Elite Camps that each will feature nearly 700 high school basketball players spread across dozens of teams. Games will run Wednesday night, all day Thursday and Friday morning before the camps conclude with various all-star games and awards early in the afternoon. Word on the street is that the second Elite Camp (July 17-20) could be especially strong this year with the absence of the Under Armour All-American camp leaving many talented players available to go to Reading.
Hoop Group Jam Fests
Dates: July 13-15 and 20-22
Location: Atlantic City and Manheim, Pa., respectively.
Breakdown: Once many of the campers at the Hoop Group Elite camps are done at camp, they’ll often head off to join their teams at one of the Jam Fests that Hoop Group throws over the July live period weekends. The Atlantic City tournament over the first weekend is new this year. Typically, Hoop Group ran a high school event that weekend but moved that event up to the last weekend in June instead to compete with the college-run team camps. So players will head to AC before going to Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim over the second weekend, returning to the massive 30-court facility that also hosts their Spring Jam Fest each year as well. The most notable local team on the Hoop Group circuit are the Jersey Shore Warriors, which this year feature Lower Merion’s Jack Forrest, Bethlehem Catholic big man Kyle Young and Episcopal Academy junior Alex Capitano.
Elevate Hoops Tournaments
Dates: All three live periods
Location: Manalapan, N.J., Philadelphia and Atlantic City, respectively.
Breakdown: Always worth a look for the regional programs at various levels are the Elevate Hoops tournaments, which aren’t as big as the Hoop Group Jam Fests but still have plenty of quality teams (and Division I talent) in the 17-under and 16-under brackets to draw coaches to the sidelines. The first week features two tournaments at Sportika, a seven-court complex in Jersey. Then they settle locally with two second-week tournaments that will both be hosted at Competitive Edge Sports in King of Prussia as well as Thomas Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University). The third weekend includes the “Live in AC” tournament from Wednesday through Friday and then the Summer Final tournament at Competitive Edge over the weekend.