Malik Newman (Jon Lopez/Nike Basketball)

July Live Period Preview: The most notable events during the summer

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Malik Newman (Jon Lopez/Nike Basketball)

The July evaluation period will kick off at 5:00 p.m. today. We’ve already told you what the live period is and why it’s important. We’ve given you a list of 15 players to keep an eye on this month and 12 programs that need to make noise this July. And we’ve given you a full breakdown of what grassroots basketball is.

Here are the three events that you’ll want to make note of in each of July’s three live periods:

FIRST PERIOD (July 9-13)

  • LeBron James Skills Academy (Las Vegas): LeBron camp is the best of the best when it comes to summer development camps, not only featuring 80 of the nation’s best high school players but also bringing in 30 of the top collegians from around the country. This is the camp that the kids associated with Nike teams end up at. Raphielle Johnson will be covering this event.
  • Reebok Breakout Classic (Philly): Reebok also hosts a top 100 camp during this live period, featuring some of the best players from the eastern and southern US as well as a handful of some of the nation’s elite recruits. Rob Dauster will be at the Breakout Classic on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Adidas Unrivaled (Chicago): Adidas’ answer to the Breakout Classic and LeBron camp. It takes place in Chicago and will feature 100 of the best hoopers from the midwest. Scott Phillips will be in Chicago for Adidas camp.

SECOND PERIOD (July 16-20)

  • Nike Peach Jam (North Augusta, S.C.): The finals of the EYBL, which is the spring-and-summer long league featuring the best of the Nike-sponsored AAU teams. There are four EYBL events and the top 24 teams make it to Peach Jam. This is the best event in July. Rob and Scott will both be at Peach Jam.
  • The UAA Finals (Atlanta): Under Armour’s answer to Peach Jam. The UA Association is the spring-and-summer long series featuring UA’s AAU teams. The UAA Finals will feature showcase games on Wednesday night and Thursday morning and afternoon before getting into bracket play. Plenty of high-level, top 100-caliber talent will be making their way to Suwanee Sports Academy. Rob and Scott will be at the UAA Finals as well.
  • NY2LA Summer Jam (Milwaukee, Wi.): The best Nike and Under Armour teams will be in Georgia and South Carolina, meaning that the nation’s best Adidas teams and the rest of the unsponsored talent from the Midwest will be at Summer Jam.

THIRD PERIOD (July 23-27)

  • Adidas Super 64, Las Vegas Classic, and Fab 48 (Las Vegas): Vegas has become the epicenter of all things summertime hoops, with LeBron camp, USA basketball, an NBA summer league and three of the summer’s biggest AAU tournaments all taking place during basketball’s offseason. The three tournaments listed here will take place in gyms all over the city and will mean that a late night trip to the casino could mean a chance run-in with a famous coach … or future college all-american. Raphielle will be out in Vegas for all of these events.
  • AAU Nationals (Louisville): AAU moved their National Championship — as well as their Super Showcase event — from Orlando to Louisville this summer. The best option for people that don’t make their way to the Sin City. Scott will be in Louisville for both tournaments.
  • Live in AC (Atlantic City) and Summer Final (Philly): Most of the nation’s elite players will end up in Vegas or at Nationals, but Live in AC and Summer Final do a pretty good job of bringing in talented players and teams from the east coast and the south. Rob will be back in Philly for the final weekend.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.