With two evaluation periods and more than 30 tournaments and camps on the calendar, July is a pivotal month for college basketball recruiting.
Coaching staffs will fan out across the country to see and be seen by prospects putting their skills on display in a high-pressure environment.
This July takes on even greater significance for coaches in light of recent changes to the NCAA recruiting calendar, according to basketball organizer and Belmont Shore Basketball Club coach Dinos Trigonis.
"It's crucial, especially in light of winter-summer evaluation system put in place by the NCAA," Trigonis said. "Basically, these college coaches have the high school season and July to get a first-hand look at these players."
In past years, April has been set aside as an evaluation period. That's no longer the case and coaches will be eager to check in on prospects they haven't seen since the end of the high school season in March.
The first evaluation period runs from July 6-15 and encompasses several major events, including Trigonis' Pangos All-American Live camp in Long Beach, Calif., and the Nike Peach Jam in South Augusta, S.C., which will crown the inaugural Elite Youth Basketball League champion.
The second begins July 22 and ends on the last day of the month. The annual Las Vegas summer spectacular falls into that timeframe, as well as the AAU national championships in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
July's Big Five
Under-17 World Championship (July 2-11)
The FIBA U17 World Championship – which starts today in Hamburg, Germany – doesn't fall into the recruiting spectrum, but the first-time event could broaden horizons by helping identify the best players in the world at an earlier age.
The United States is favored, but China is considered an intriguing challenger. The Chinese roster includes six players 6-foot-8 or taller, including 7-footer Zhelin Wang.
The USA's complete roster can be seen here.
LeBron James Skills Academy (July 5-7)
King James may want to relocate this event – scheduled for Akron, Ohio – if he doesn't pick the Cavs.
The top 30 players at the Academy will be picked to participate in the Nike Global Challenge in Beaverton, Ore., later this summer.
Pangos All-American Live (July 9-10)
"Live" is Trigonis' latest addition to the summer calendar and will be open to college coaches.
Rising stars Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), DeAndre Daniels of Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.), Isaiah Austin of Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) and Norman Powell of Lincoln (San Diego, Calif.) are expected to attend. A full list of participants will be released prior to the start of the event.
Nike Peach Jam (12-15)
The Peach Jam is always a grand affair, but Nike added a little luster this year by crowning its inaugural Elite Youth Basketball League champion in South Augusta, S.C.
The EYBL will feature the top 24 qualifiers from pool play (previous EYBL sessions were held in Hampton, Va., Houston and Los Angeles) in a winner-take-all tournament.
After compiling a 13-1 record in pool play, the New Jersey-based Playaz will head to the Peach Jam as a slight favorite, but the field is packed with potential landmines.
Vegas (July 21-26)
The annual AAU spectacular in Las Vegas isn't bigger this year, but may be a better experience for players, coaches, media and fans.
With over 600 teams and four separate tournaments last year, navigating around Sin City and nearby Henderson to see top teams and players was a challenge.
This year, two primary events have emerged – Fab 48 at Bishop Gorman High School and adidas Super 64 at Rancho (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Streamlining the schedule in Las Vegas should be a positive, according to Trigonis.
"The sheer amount of teams in Las Vegas mushroomed out of control with so many teams trying to get limited opportunities," Trigonis said. "Thousands and thousands of players want to be in front of the coaches, but not everybody is good enough, nor is there time for the coaches to see everybody."
The Fab 48, a first-time event directed by Bishop Gorman head coach Grant Rice, will bring together a who's who of non-adidas affiliated clubs, including the aforementioned Playaz, Grassroots Canada, Mac Irvin Fire of Chicago, Seattle Rotary and the Georgia-based Southern Kings.
Compton Magic, DC Assault, Memphis Magic Elite and MBA Elite of Mississippi are among the headliners headed for the Super 64.