Major Grassroots Changes Coming (UPDATED) | Zagsblog
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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.
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Sunday / September 20.
  • Major Grassroots Changes Coming (UPDATED)

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    Grassroots basketball will undergo some major changes again this summer.

    Reebok will not hold its annual Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia in July because of a “change in marketing strategy at the grassroots level,” said a source with direct knowledge.

    “It just means that college coaches will have to work a little harder to see high-level talent play against high-level talent under one roof, ”  the source said.

    Chris Rivers ran the Reebok All-American Camp for two summers as an extension of Sonny Vaccaro’s old Reebok ABCD Camp at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. That camp featured legendary grassroots players like LeBron James, O.J. Mayo, Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson.

    When Vaccaro retired from he sneaker business in 2007, Rivers, pictured above with Mayo, moved the camp to Philadelphia University in 2007 and ’08. Pat Coombs ran the event in 2009.

    Last year’s Reebok camp included uncommitted junior LaQuinton Ross, Joe Jackson (Memphis) and Patric Young (Florida).

    Rivers left his position as Director of Basketball at Reebok and now works for adidas, for whom he worked before 2003.

    adidas will still hold its annual adidas Nations event in August for the classes of 2011 and 2012. The site has yet to be determined.

    The other major change on the grassroots horizon involves the LeBron James Nike Skill Academy.

    A new set of NCAA rules could be passed in April which would prohibit any grassroots event from behind held on Division I campuses that did not have a contract in place before Oct. 29, 2009.

    The NCAA recently voted on this matter and decided to table it until April, when it will be voted on again.

    If the rule is passed, numerous events, including the LeBron camp at the University of Akron, would not be permitted on Division I campuses.

    Numerous other such events — the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, previously held at Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State; the It Takes 5ive event held at Cincinnati; and the Pittsburgh Jam Fest held at Pitt — also wouldn’t  be permitted at those locations.

    No word from Nike just yet on where the LeBron camp might take place.

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    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.