July is an important time of year in the college basketball world.
The upcoming July 15, 22 and 29 weekends are evaluation periods, when coaches can go on the road to watch prospects and recruits in-action.
Why exactly is this time of year so critical? What do IU fans need to know going into these three weekends? Read below for a general guide on the in's and out's of the month, including answers to those questions and more.
There are so many rules and regulations when it comes to college basketball recruiting. Recruiting periods, quiet periods, dead periods are all terms fans have probably heard before, and what kind of period it is changes regularly depending on the time of year and date.
For three weekends in July, starting on a Wednesday at 5 p.m. through Sunday at 5 p.m., we have what's called an evaluation period. College coaches - including IU and its staff - will go on the road and watch prospects play in a number of different events.
Those dates this July run from the 12th-16th, 19th-23rd and 26th-30th. On full days, games can start as early as 8 or 9 a.m. and run until 10 or 11 p.m - making for quite a long day in the gym.
The head coach and all three assistants can be on the road watching recruits during these periods. They aren't allowed to talk to the recruits or their families in-person at these events, but at games featuring the top prospects, there's often a horde of coaches all sitting side-by-side on the court watching a target play.
For example, it wouldn't surprise to see IU head coach Archie Miller, Kentucky head coach John Calipari and North Carolina coach Roy Williams all sitting in the same vicinity courtside this July to see New Albany (Ind.) High five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford play.
A 6-4, 185-pound guard ranked as the No. 5 player nationally in 2018, Langford plays for Twenty Two Vision on the adidas circuit, alongside a number of other IU targets. The major shoe companies - Nike, adidas and Under Armour - all sponsor major tournaments during these evaluation periods, enabling top prospects to go head-to-head in front of these coaches. A number of top recruits also play for unaffiliated teams.
Sometimes these events are all spread out in different locations across the country, meaning college staffs have to plan how to split up their resources, like which coaches go to which events and how much time they spend there.
The First Weekend
For July 12-16, Nike holds an event in North Augusta, Ga., adidas hosts an event in Spartanburg, S.C., and Under Armour hosts an event in Cartersville, Ga. It's roughly a two-hour drive from Spartanburg to North Augusta, and a three-hour drive from North Augusta to Cartersville - so this weekend, coaches will log a lot of miles driving back and forth to watch kids play.
Nike hosts its Peach Jam tournament, which is arguably the most touted event of the summer. 40 teams compete on its Elite Youth Basketball League circuit in a round-robin regular season during the spring - 16 games played for each squad, with four contests each spread out over four weekends. The top 25 finishers advance to Peach Jam, where an elimination tournament is hosted, with a winner emerging by Sunday (losers continue play throughout the weekend in consolation games so coaches can still see them play.)
Peach Jam even has its own media guide preview (link), and the championship game has been televised live on ESPN the last couple of years.
The 6-0, 150-pound Garland - ranked as the No. 12 player nationally - plays for Bradley Beal Elite, who's one of the top seeds after a 13-3 regular season finish. Garland earned third team All-EYBL honor for his play, averaging 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per contest.
Anderson is a 6-6, 205-pound four-star guard, ranked as the No. 101 player nationally. He plays for MeanStreets based out of Chicago, another top seed after an 11-5 regular season finish.
While IU will certainly be represented at Peach Jam, the staff will spend a lot of their resources at the adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, where a number of priority targets will be in-action. The setup is similar to Peach Jam with a tournament where winners advance in play and losers play in consolation games.
The aforementioned Langford joins Lafayette (Ind.) McCutcheon three-star guard Rob Phinisee, Plymouth (Minn.) Armstrong three-star forward Race Thompson and Pickerington (Ohio) North four-star forward Jerome Hunter among others at the adidas Finale.
Phinisee - a 5-11, 155-pound guard ranked as the No. 120 player nationally - suits up for Indiana Elite. The 6-8, 200-pound Thompson (No. 121 player nationally) will play for D1 Minnesota, and the 6-7, 185-pound Hunter (No. 47 player nationally) represents Ohio Nova.
IU is a heavy contender in all three recruitments. Hunter has a list of final five schools including the Hoosiers, as well as Michigan, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Xavier. Thompson is considering IU alongside Minnesota and Iowa State, and Phinisee visited campus four times over the last year.
The Hoosiers aren't targeting as many prospects on the Under Armour circuit this cycle, but many coaches will make their way to that event in Cartersville. Just like Nike and adidas, UA hosts a tournament this weekend to declare a winner among the teams who play on its circuit.
The Second Weekend
With the first weekend consisting of shoe company tournaments, the second is a bit more wide open. Under Armour hosts its All-American camp, which is a different setting compared to the previous events. Instead of playing alongside the AAU team you have practiced with, this is more akin to an All-Star setting, although obviously with college coaches watching the contests stay highly competitive.
The Third Weekend
Similar to the proximity between locations in the first weekend, almost everyone reunites in Las Vegas for the third and final period. adidas hosts its summer championships, which is an open event, while a number of other teams from the various circuits participate in events like the Fab 48.
Just about anyone who is anyone in college basketball will be in Vegas for this weekend.
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