The Truth About Showcase “Exposure” & Elite College Basketball Camps
As we head into the summer we head into the time of “live periods”, “contact periods” and”evaluation periods”. However, in between those times, players often times attend “showcase/exposure” and/or “elite” basketball camps, so I wanted to provide some facts on showcase and elite basketball camps as NOT all basketball camps are created equal.
Let’s start with the difference between so-called exposure and elite basketball camps. Showcase (exposure) camps are typically run by private organizations and companies with the goal of bringing in as many talented players as possible, having them play against each other, scouting them, and often times ranking them.
Elite basketball camps are put on by actual colleges and universities who try to bring in as many of their recruits as possible as well as other talented players with the goal of increasing their talent pool of which to recruit from.
There are positives and negatives to both showcase and elite basketball camps, and to be clear, not all showcase and elite basketball camps are run in between the April and July live periods, but many are, especially college basketball elite camps. Exposure basketball camps are typically run throughout the year, mostly in the fall, spring, and summer.
We’ll delve a bit deeper into each basketball camp starting with showcase camps.
Showcase/Exposure Basketball Camps
For the most part, I think showcase basketball camps are can be a SCAM that lure players and parents into paying money to come to a “camp” with the promise of getting kids exposure, which can lead to college scholarship offers. The problem is that you cannot always keep that promise. There are a few reasons I’m not a huge fan of these events:
- I put camp in quotation marks because typically all these events consist of is dividing players up into teams and simply letting them scrimmage or play games. There is usually no teaching or skill work or anything like that, so the team “camp” is not a great word for them.
- Division 1 and Division 2 coaches are only allowed to evaluate prospects during official NCAA evaluation periods, so they aren’t allowed to come to these camps. If there is a exposure camp held during a live period, there typically aren’t a lot of coaches there anyway because they’re at AAU events watching teams play.
- The highly-rated, sure-fire D1 prospects are usually given free entry to these camps, so that later on, when they sign with a Division 1 school, the showcase camp can put that player on their list of “alumni” and claim that they helped that kid get a scholarship. Future players and parents will then see that and think “if it worked for that kid then it will work for me/my kid” when little do they know that player was going to get scholarship offers regardless of the camp.
- College coaches typically don’t listen to these so-called scouting services that often times run these showcase or exposure basketball camps. They get blasted daily by all sorts of scouts and scouting services talking about this kid or that kid and most of the time the emails go to spam or the coaches just delete them without ever reading them. Think about it, the more kids a scouting service can say they helped play in college, the better for them, so they often claim kids are better than they are. A college coach then might go see kids claimed to be a prospect by this scouting service one too many times before they lose all trust and just stop listening altogether.
Again, these are generalizations, but can be true of the majority of showcase or exposure camps or scouting services. They’re just trying to make money off players and parents hopes and dreams.
Fortunately, there are some good ones out there like Phenom Hoop Report out of North Carolina, the Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp, the Jay Bilas Skills Camp, etc., but parents and players must do their homework before paying money to attend.
The main positive most showcase camps have going for them is that since they do typically get a decent amount of talented players all competing to play at the next level, they are often times a good place for players to get a feel for who their competition is and where they fit in that mix. Just don’t expect to pay a couple hundred bucks, go to a camp or two, and then have college scholarship offers come raining down.
If you’re going to these camps you need to be sure that your game is as tight and ready as it can be. As NBA Skills Trainer Drew Hanlen would say, you don’t want to spend your summer getting exposed when you could have been improving.
Elite College Basketball Camps
Elite college basketball camps are a much more legit product all around as they are run by actual college coaches on their school’s campus and they have a bit more of a true camp feel to them, so let’s start with the positives.
- Elite basketball camps are, like I said, run by college coaches, who are the actual decision makers when offering basketball scholarships, not “scouts”. Going right to the source, skipping the middleman so to speak, and having the opportunity to showcase a player’s skills in front of the actual decision makers is a great benefit.
- These basketball camps typically have a serious skill work component and often times also film study and a college-style practice on top of scrimmaging and games, so the benefits to the player go far beyond getting “exposure”.
- Although one one of the negatives of going to a D1 elite basketball camp is that only D1 school will have coaches there (obviously), there are typically other D3 schools that will come watch as well. This is a great benefit as these are more decision makers and more options for a player to potentially play college basketball.
Like I said, the main negative to an elite college basketball camp is that a player will play just in front of that specific D1 school and no others.
Moreover, that school may only have 1-3 scholarships for that player’s class and with a hundred players at the elite camp as well as thousands more throughout the country that aren’t at camp, the chances aren’t great that a scholarship offer will come out of attending an elite college basketball camp.
With all of that said about showcase/exposure and elite basketball camps, and not wanting to end on a negative note, I believe that these basketball camps are all tools that can be used in combination with others, like playing on a good AAU team for instance, to give players the BEST chance possible to play college basketball.
Showcase camps can be used to play against other good competition and to figure out where they stand in comparison to this competition.
College elite basketball camps can be used to get a better sense of a specific college and the college basketball experience, as well as the opportunity to play in front of the actual scholarship decision makers.
When used thoughtfully and in combination with other tools, showcase and elite camps can be useful on the journey towards getting a college basketball scholarship or recruited.