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News & Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
College basketball legends are made in March, but they're recruited in July.
Today marks the beginning of what is perhaps the second most important month on the calendar for coaches, with three straight evaluation periods giving them one last chance to hit the road and watch prospects in action on the AAU circuit.
Let's make some sense of what's known as the "July live period":
1. What's an evaluation period, and why does it matter?
There are five evaluation periods each offseason, typically two in late April and three in July. During such periods, coaches can watch players compete live at AAU events, visit their high schools or make phone contact with prospects and their parents. Coaches aren't allowed to speak with recruits face-to-face away from their high school campus, though.
With two weeks of evaluation completed in April, July is typically where scholarship offers are handed out and coaching staffs look to make a final big impression before they turn their attention back to their teams on campus to begin preparing for the season.
2. Where's the action?
Events run by shoe companies are the most well-known, but tournaments will take place all over the country for the next several weeks.
Peach Jam, Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League final in North Augusta, S.C., is the king of all AAU hoops events, but championships for the Adidas Gauntlet in New York and the Under Armour Association in Atlanta are major draws for top programs, too.
Locally, Phenom Hoop report will host the JMAC Classic July 18-20 before partnering with Team CP3 to host a major event July 20-22.
3. Is this the last July evaluation period?
This could be it, with the National Association of Basketball Coaches pushing for a new system that would instead send players to regional evaluation camps run by USA Basketball and supported by the NCAA.
The move would come in response to the FBI probe into college basketball that broke in September with the arrest of several NCAA assistant coaches and shoe company executives who are accused of making or taking bribes designed to guide players to programs sponsored by the companies.
Under the new format, coaches would still have April evaluation periods before spending May and June evaluating players on the campuses of their high schools and in scholastic competition with the goal of having those coaches become more involved in the process.
4. Where's the N&R heading?
For the second straight year, we're heading to North Augusta for three days at Peach Jam.
Along with elite players being recruited by North Carolina's ACC programs, Team CP3 features several players with local ties, such as Wesleyan Christian's Keyshaun and Kobe Langley along with Nick Brown of Westchester.
Last season, news of Marvin Bagley's decision to reclassify before committing to Duke broke at the tournament, Kevin Durant showed up to take in a few games, and Greensboro Day coach Freddy Johnson spent time talking with Carolina's Roy Williams while watching Team CP3.
There's never a shortage of storylines at Riverview Park Activities Center.
Contact Brant Wilkerson-New at 336-373-7008.
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