Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's tough to be a basketball recruit in July

Watching the tired expressions and weary-legged jump shots on the final evening of Nike's elite LeBron James Skills Academy camp brought to mind something Charlotte's Jay Bilas said earlier in the camp.

Some players are scheduled to go straight to Atlanta for the Peach Jam Tournament. Later in the month they will compete in a huge AAU event in Las Vegas.

Bilas, the ESPN analyst and former Duke player, said the July schedule is too intense for high school players.

"There's no way on God's green earth that it's right to have kids gone from home and away from their high school coaches and their home base for a whole month," Bilas said.

Earlier in the summer, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski made similar comments. One problem is the NCAA's well-intentioned legislation to limit the coaches' summer player evaluation period to July 6-15 and July 22-31.

That causes the top event organizers to schedule their camps and tournaments in July in order to get college coaches in the stands at their events. Players want to attend all those events to get exposure.

"For a high school kid, being on the road (for all of July) with nothing but basketball, that's a lot," Bilas said.

Perhaps Krzyzewski and the ACC can take the lead in creating a staggered summer evaluation period that will be gentler on young players' legs.

- Ken Tysiac