At 5 pm on Wednesday, the last of three, five-day live recruiting periods begins.
The place to be this weekend?
There will be not one, not two, but three marquee
AAU tournaments taking place there: the Las Vegas Fab 48, the Las Vegas Classic and the adidas Super 64.
Obviously, the Super 64 is run by adidas, which means that all of the teams sponsored by adidas will be taking part. The Las Vegas Classic is run by Hal Pastner, who is the father of Memphis head coach Josh Pastner and a coach affiliated with Nike. The Fab 48 tournament is not affiliated with a shoe company, which means that they are free to invite any team team regardless of the logos on their shoes.
And that’s where some issues have arisen. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
In a letter obtained by the Review-Journal, attorney Bryan Freedman claims to Nike general counsel Hilary Krane that several teams featuring elite college basketball prospects have been threatened with the loss of future Nike sponsorship if they play in the Fab 48. The letter, dated July 12, claims that Nike demanded some teams breach their written contracts with the Fab 48.
“Fab 48 is not affiliated with any shoe or apparel company, so participation in the Fab 48 by Nike-sponsored teams does not violate the terms of Nike’s grassroots basketball sponsorship arrangements,” the letter reads. “Nonetheless, Nike’s representatives have been acting in a manner that can only be construed as an unlawful attempt to destroy our client’s business.”
The consensus top prospect in the 2013 class is Chicago Simeon High forward Jabari Parker, who plays for the Mac Irvin Fire AAU team. Parker, who has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, recently announced he trimmed the list of colleges he is considering to 10 finalists.
Parker was originally scheduled to play in the Fab 48, but Mac Irvin Fire coach Mike Irvin confirmed Monday that his team instead will play in the Las Vegas Classic. The Las Vegas Classic is organized by Bigfoot Hoops, run by longtime Nike grassroots coach Hal Pastner.
“We just changed it,” Irvin said of Mac Irvin Fire’s tournament affiliation.
This is relevant because the best teams usually have the best prospects and the best prospects draw the most people in attendance, be it media members, fans and coaches. If people — especially coaches — aren’t going to these tournaments, than the tournament organizers aren’t making any money.
The biggest payday comes when those coaches buy packets that contain the rosters for the teams taking part in the event. Those packets cost hundreds of dollars. That’s a lot of money that may not be coming in. Ahh, amateur basketball.
The tournaments in Vegas are notorious for being spread out and difficult to schedule for those looking to scout and recruit, and this confusion surely won’t help matters.