Each summer, for 3 weeks in July, thousands of AAU basketball teams and players take the hardwood around the country at AAU tournaments to compete in front of college coaches during what is known as NCAA basketball recruiting “live” periods.
Every year, the NCAA allows college coaches 5 “evaluation periods”, aka. “live” periods, during which they can hit the road and watch and evaluate potential prospects.
The NCAA actually has a whole men’s basketball recruiting calendar, and you can check out the 2017-2018 calendar here.
Two of the five NCAA live periods are in April, typically the last two weekends of the month, and run from Friday evening at 5pm to Sunday evening at 5pm.
The remaining 3 evaluation periods are always in July during the last 3 weeks/weekends of the month, but this time, the periods run from Wednesday evening at 5pm to Sunday evening at 5pm.
For various reasons, including the timing and length differences noted above, the July live periods are more important than the April recruiting periods for players hoping to get recruited.
4 Reasons Why July NCAA Recruiting Live Periods are More Important than April Periods
#1 Length of Live Periods
As stated, the July live periods are longer than the ones in April, and obviously held in the summer when the majority of players are out of school. Because the July period is 5 days, teams and players can naturally play more games in front of coaches.
The more games a player can play in front of coaches, the more opportunities they have to potentially impress and be recruited.
#2 Number of Live Periods
Again, as stated, this is somewhat obvious, but there are 3 recruiting periods in July as compared to only 2 in April. As with point #1 above, the more opportunities to play equals more chances for players to be seen by college coaches.
#3 Shoe Circuits during Live Periods
There’s been a lot of news in the last 6 months about the AAU shoe circuits, and I’ve even written about the subject, so I won’t cover that topic here.
What I will say though is that in spring the 3 AAU shoe circuits each hold their own event during each of the April live periods, which forces college coaches to spread themselves out among these 3 events and only 1-2 other non-shoe circuit events.
During July, the AAU shoe circuits do not have their own events every single July live period, so this allows college coaches to more easily get out and see other non-shoe circuit events, which in turn creates a more quality opportunity for the majority of players who do not play on a shoe circuit.
Moreover, some shoe circuits such as the Under Armour Association open up their July live period tournaments to the best non-shoe circuit teams, such as our Charlotte PSB Elite teams.
Each year, our 15U, 16U, and 17U Elite teams go play in the Under Armour Association Challenge, previously the UAA Finals, which is always a first-class event with many coaches.
However, even for non-shoe circuit teams that don’t get this invite, there are many more good options out there for them in July versus in April.
#4 Timing of Live Periods
This is related to point #3 in that the July live periods are in the summer, but it’s not the same point.
This point has to do with the fact that April is often where college coaches truly just “evaluate”, but don’t actually make many decisions in terms of actually offering scholarships.
July is the evaluation periods when young players get offered the majority of college basketball scholarships. The college coaches have evaluated all through the spring, decided on who to follow, and then if those players continue to impress in July, they often get offered.
While there may be more reasons why the July NCAA live periods are more important than the April live periods, these are the main 4 reasons.
It should be noted here too that just because players or teams attend these NCAA evaluation period tournaments, it far from guarantees them any sort of college basketball scholarship.
In fact, only 3.6% of all graduating high school basketball players go on to play in college.
There are, however, certain strategies players, parents, and coaches can take advantage of to increase these chances, and I’ve written all about this subject in previous blog posts, and even written a Guide to College Basketball Recruiting ebook that you download for free.
Lastly, it should also be noted that these July NCAA recruiting live periods might not be around after this 2018 summer. The NCAA is looking into doing away with these July, or at least the tournament portion of them. You can read about that possibility here if you’d like. Only time will tell!
If you’re a player going out on the road to play this July or a parent with a son or daughter who’s playing or a coach with a team, we wish you the best of luck!