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College basketball coaches universally oppose own proposal to change July recruiting

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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Over the years, Peach Jam — the finals of Nike’s EYBL summer circuit — has grown into being the preeminent event during July’s Live Period.

Played in the newly-renovated Riverview Park Activities Center, Peach Jam features six courts that are packed to the gills, with college coaches on one side of the floor, fans overflowing the bleachers on the other and a track circling the building overhead that can get four- or five-deep with people if the matchup is right.

It is without question the best and most intense basketball you’ll see in July, not only because of who is watching and what scholarships are going to get earned, but because of the honor that comes with winning a Peach Jam title.

But it’s also because of situations like this: James Wiseman, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2019, has long been considered a Kentucky-lean. But he’s also currently living in Memphis, having played his junior season at East High School for Penny Hardaway. He’s at Peach Jam playing for the Bluff City Legends, a team that, up until March, when Penny was hired by Memphis, was named Team Penny.

In Wiseman’s first game on Wednesday night, when he was facing off with the No. 2 player in the class, Vernon Carey, we had this scene courtside:

That’s Penny, the current Memphis head coach, and his assistants, Mike Miller and Tony Madlock, sitting next to John Calipari, the former Memphis head coach, and his entire staff, all of them there recruiting a kid that lives in Memphis and might end up being the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft after he decides whether he will play his college ball for the Tigers or the Wildcats.

And this year’s Peach Jam may be the last time we see that.

As I reported last month, the NABC is proposing rule changes to the Condoleeza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball that will change the way that summer recruiting works. Instead of three five-day periods where coaches are allowed to be on the road, scouting and evaluating players at grassroots events around the country, the NABC is proposing a series of regional camps that thousands of players nominated by Division I coaches will attend, with the best of the best then attending a national camp. It would be run by USA Basketball, feature coaches from the G League, Division II and Division III and even NBA players leading drills and coaching teams, and — most importantly — be the only place in July where coaches are allowed to attend.

The goal?

To rid youth basketball of the stranglehold that summer coaches have on the recruitment of players around the country.

And quite frankly, it is a terrible idea, one that is a reactionary PR move being made to convince the public, people that don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, that the NCAA is trying to change after the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball.

I spent 36 minutes explaining why on Tuesday’s podcast, so I’m not going to go into the specifics again. If that’s what you’re looking for, listen below.

What I will say here is this: I am currently at Peach Jam. I have spent the last 24 hours talking with coaches from all levels of the sport about these impending changes, and I cannot find a single one that thinks these changes are a good idea.

Not a single one.

The most positive response I have heard: “I guess we’ll make it work whatever the rules are.” That was from a coach that has been in the Final Four recently.

One coach told me that this is the kind of rule that will get changed in three years when people realize how stupid it is. Back in 2003, the NCAA passed a rule that eliminated the April live period, and by 2011, the coaches had successfully argued their way back into being at “non-scholastic events” in the spring. They wanted to be at the events, because it didn’t take long for them to realize that banning themselves from the biggest events did not actually kill off those events.

Just like this rule is not going to kill off shoe company-sponsored events like the EYBL or the random, assorted AAU tournaments that pop up all over the country every July.

The coaches just won’t be in the gym.

It’s not going to stop the games from being played, it just means they’ll be paying to watch a choppy live-stream of the games that keeps getting pixelated instead of paying for a packet to sit on chairs that are too close together and bleachers that couldn’t be more uncomfortable.

And the irony of it all is that this is self-inflicted.

The NABC is the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The people proposing are the coaches themselves.

So this is my plea: One of those coaches that is for this change and that helped put this into motion needs to come out publicly and say so. We need an explanation as to why these changes are needed, and why they aren’t idiotic. Someone needs to own this.

Because as far as I can tell, no one actually in the gyms thinks this is going to help.

Nike hosting loaded event for Phil Knight’s 80th birthday

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Phil Knight knows how to throw a hell of a birthday party.

The Nike founder will be welcoming 16 of some of the country’s best programs to Portland over Thanksgiving weekend next year to commemorate his 80th birthday.

Duke, Florida, UConn, Georgetown, Michigan State, North Carolina, Arkansas Butler, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford and Texas will all be in attendance, along with Portland and Portland State.

That is one amazing lineup. Happy birthday to Phil, and Happy Hoops Thanksgiving to the rest of us.

The event will actually be two separate eight-team tournaments, but will all be played the Rose City over three days.

 

Nike and Under Armour host showcase events as the Shoe Wars continue to heat up

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Nike and Under Armour each held August showcase events on Saturday night. Under Armour held its nationally-televised Elite 24 in Brooklyn in the 10th year of an annual event while Nike created a team of the EYBL’s best to compete for the weekend in the Bahamas to keep their players in-house.

The Nike EYBL Select team won in front of five NBA scouts as 2017 guard Gary Trent Jr. had 18 points and 2016 five-star forwards Jonathan Isaac, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum all had 16 points.

Here’s some of the highlights, including 2016 forward Miles Bridges throwing down some powerful dunks.

Under Armour’s Elite 24 was a good national showcase for 2016 guard Frank Jackson, who finished with 20 points. Big man Dewan Huell, a 2016 native of Florida, added 18 points. Frank Jackson, 2016 wing Josh Jackson, 2016 forward Edrice Adebayo and 2017 forward Billy Preston were named MVPs of the game.

Under Armour made sure to mention how the Elite 24 has turned into a major high school all-star game on Twitter and also took a subtle jab at Nike for organizing the event in the Bahamas.

Things are continuing to get interesting in the shoe wars between companies to keep high-end talent.

Kris Dunn, Georges Niang, Buddy Hield among college players at Nike Basketball Academy

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Saturday morning the first annual Nike Basketball Academy got underway in southern California, with the event hosting some of the top college and high school players in the country. Those in attendance will receive instruction from coaches as well as NBA players such as Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

The college roster doesn’t lack for talented players who should factor into the national Player of the Year conversations next season. Among those invited are Providence point guard Kris Dunn, Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Iowa State forward Georges Niang. There are also two players in the group who have yet to play a game at the Division I level in LSU’s Antonio Blakeney and Ben Simmons.

LSU is one of three schools with multiple players in attendance. Arizona has two in guard Kadeem Allen (who redshirted last season and center Kaleb Tarczewski, and Gonzaga forwards Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer are representing the Bulldogs. Below is the list of college players in attendance at the camp, which runs through the weekend.

Kadeem Allen (Arizona)
Paris Bass (Detroit)
DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph’s)
Antonio Blakeney (LSU)
Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia)
Isaac Copeland (Georgetown)
Tre Demps (Northwestern)
Kris Dunn (Providence)
Daniel Hamilton (Connecticut)
Buddy Hield (Oklahoma)
Justin Jackson (North Carolina)
Damian Jones (Vanderbilt)
Shawn Long (UL Lafayette)
Georges Niang (Iowa State)
Gary Payton Jr. (Oregon State)
Jakob Poeltl (Utah)
Taurean Prince (Baylor)
Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga)
Ben Simmons (LSU)
Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)
Isaiah Taylor (Texas)
Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa)
Denzel Valentine (Michigan State)
Tyrone Wallace (California)
James Webb III (Boise State)
Troy Williams (Indiana)
Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)

Oregon giving out Phil Knight bobbleheads on Saturday vs. USC

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It’s n0 secret, Nike chairman Phil Knight is a University of Oregon graduate, and a generous one at that. Over the years, he has provided the Oregon athletic department with millions of dollars in donations for athletic facilities and dozens of different uniforms.

The athletic department is giving everyone in attendance at Saturday’s game against USC a free Phil Knight bobblehead, with ‘Thank You, Uncle Phil’ written on each one.

Knight graduated from Oregon in 1959. In 2012, his decades of contributions earned him enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, part of the same class as Reggie Miller and Ralph Sampson.

[h/t CBS Sports]

Xavier team managers post picture of new uniforms (PHOTO)

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In its first season in the new Big East, Xavier has unveiled its new basketball uniforms through the team manager’s Twitter account on Saturday.

This is the third program to show glimpses of their new threads this week. Kansas freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins previewed the Jayhawks new unis in a GQ photo shoot, while Baylor decided to take it easy on spectators’ eyes and went with a more traditional look.

Here is forward Jalen Reynolds in the new Musketeers home uniform:

source:
@XavierManagers

[h/t College Spun]