Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Back in the heyday of grassroots basketball, there were three major summer camps — run by Nike, Reebok and adidas.
By 2007, only Nike and Reebok held camps.
And by 2010, Nike was the only sneaker giant still standing.
That will change this summer when Reebok returns to the realm after a one-year absence with its Reebok Basketball Breakout Challenge at Philadelphia University July 5-9.
The company announced the camp with a soft launch on its Website.
Patrick Coombs, who tutored under grassroots guru Sonny Vaccaro for three years and under Chris Rivers for seven, will run this year’s camp.
Coombs declined public comment until a formal press release comes out, but according to the Website and several sources close to the situation, this camp is John Wall’s baby and will be Wall’s way of giving back to grassroots basketball. Wall, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, may make a national publicity tour to promote the event.
“When he came on with Reebok, he wanted to make sure that he was giving today’s players the same opportunities that we gave him as a high school player,” one source close to the situation said. “John was unknown and unranked before he tried out and made that first Reebok All-American Camp.”
This year’s camp will run up against the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron and will feature 100 players. Those players can either be directly invited or qualify through one of 14 Headliner Try Outs. The New York/New Jersey area will host a Headliner event June 4 at City Sports in Englewood, N.J.
“We’re shooting for about 100 kids,” the source said. “It’s more so about giving kids an opportunity than rolling the ball out All-American style and having kids that everybody already knows going up and down.”
The source said the “initial response” has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
“The talent level will probably to the high-major, high-major minus and mid-major plus level.”
It’s not quite the Wild West days of Sonny Vaccaro, but it should make the summer a little more interesting.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.