Nothing else kicks off the busy recruiting month of July better than big-time exposure basketball camps across the country. Camps featuring loads of division-I prospects from around the country and large numbers of college coaches in observation. With each of the top shoe companies involving themselves in such camps, it makes for a really exciting situation.
Nike has their version of their shoe camps now with Nike's position camps named after NBA players - Lebron James, Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash. Currently, Nike just finished hosting their annual Lebron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas and Westwind Prep's 6-foot-8 senior Zylan Cheatham represented the state of Arizona there and played exceptionally well.
Adidas annually has their Adidas Nations event in the late summer months, but, like Nike, the camp is designed primarily for the top prospects that currently play on shoe teams sponsored by the Adidas brand.
Then there is the exciting annual Reebok Breakout Camp, which requires no shoe affiliation with a team, but rather creates a forum for the top prospects in the country to come and ball out. While many of the top prospects at the camp are hand-picked by the Reebok staff and invited to the camp, there are also a large number of players that receive invites as a result of regional tryouts throughout the country.
Being selected for this year's camp from the state of Arizona are six different campers, with five showing up to camp on Tuesday afternoon, while one other will not be in attendance. Westview High School's 6-foot-9 senior post Andre Adams, Sunnyslope's 6-foot-10 senior Michael Humphrey, Westwind Prep's 6-foot-3 senior combo-guard Tate De Laveaga (Northern Arizona commit), Mountain Pointe's 6-foot-6 senior forward Chris Davis and Desert Ridge's 6-foot-2 senior guard Hunter Thomas all arrived to Philly on Tuesday, while Westwind Prep's 6-foot-8 senior Zylan Cheatham will not be in attendance for this year's camp.
Cheatham was invited as an at-large selection for this year's camp, but instead chose to go to the Peach Jam event in Georgia with the California Supreme (CA) Nike-sponsored AAU/club program. Cheatham also participated in this weekend's Lebron James Skills Academy in Vegas, and also recently the Amare Stoudamire Post Camp - both Nike sponsored events.
Upon arriving to this year's Reebok Breakout Camp in Philadelphia today, it was immediately apparent that many of the top prospects in the country are here. Such top-rated national prospects as Rashad Vaughn and Emmanuel Mudiay are both in attendance for this year's camp. Both prospects are rated as the top players at their position in the country for the 2014 class.
This camp annually has determined the national rankings around the country for the many top-rated national scouts in attendance. Many of the elite prospects from this camp become future NBA draft picks. From a recruiting standpoint, this camp does the job as there will be more than 500 college coaches in attendance throughout the week. A strong performance in this camp will change a student-athletes recruitment, and, ultimately, their playing career.
Which one of these Arizona prospects will make the strongest case this week among scouts, media and college coaches in attendance?
We shall find out, as our Arizona Preps staff will be here throughout the week to bring you daily updates of top performers in this year's camp.
I caught up with Sunnyslope's Michael Humphrey tonight at the camp, after he finished receiving his athletic apparel for the camp. Humphrey had this to say:
"This camp is amazing. We got so much gear that I couldn't carry it all. It was falling out of my hands as I walked up the stairs to my room. This is going to be a great camp."