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.
Peach Jam, other sneaker events could move to August starting in 2019 due to proposed Rice Commission changes in grassroots basketball
By ADAM ZAGORIA
This year’s Peach Jam could be the last one to feature Division 1 college basketball coaches.
And it could be the last one held in July.
“The Peach Jam is supposed to be held in August [in 2019] when the coaches can’t be out,” longtime New York-based recruiting expert Tom Konchalski said Saturday by phone. “It’s not official, but that’s what they’re thinking of.”
It’s possible Under Armour and Adidas could also shift their final summer events to August from July due to the Rice Commission proposals for changes in grassroots basketball looming for 2019.
“Too soon to tell,” one Under Armour source said.
The proposed changes — discussed briefly this week by Jeff Goodman on his Podcast — include sweeping reforms to the grassroots calendar. Here is additional information on the proposed calendar, according to industry sources.
**Nothing will change between Sept. 9 – May 1.
**In April 2019, there will be one “sneaker weekend” where college coaches can attend non-scholastic events due to how the calendar shakes out. In 2020, there will be the normal two weekends in April where coaches can watch players on their AAU teams.
**During the last two weekends in June, college coaches will be able to attend high school team camps/shootouts of high school teams that are certified by their state associations. It remains unclear where these will take place and may depend on what the state association wants to certify as a location and or College.
**In July, USA Basketball will run regional camps by invitation during three Wednesdays to Sundays (a day of education, a day of stations, a day and a half of games). There will be at least four, possibly six, regional camps each weekend.
These camps will be on D-1 campuses by a bidding process with the idea being for players to get a college experience like the old ABCD Camp at Princeton.
Still, it remains unclear who will get invited. Each of the 353 D-1 basketball staffs in the nation will submit a list of who should be invited. But will they be able to submit a list of 25 kids? 50? How many will be seniors, juniors and sophomores? Those names will be tallied and the kids with the most votes will get invited.
**Also in July there will be a national training camp for the Top 80-120 players at the USA Basketball training center Colorado Springs, Colo, which college coaches could attend. Again, it remains unclear who will get invited and how it will break down by age. (At the Final Four this year, the NBA, NCAA and USA Basketball hosted its first “Next Generation” event for two dozen of the top players in the Class of 2019 where they competed against international academy teams, attended the Final Four games and practiced on the Alamodome floor, all of which was paid for.)
**Because of these other events, Nike and the sneaker companies may have to move their events — like the prestigious Peach Jam — to August “so that they could have the good players there because the good players are going to go in July where the coaches are,” Konchalski said. “And if all these camps are the only places where Division 1 coaches can watch them, that’s where they’ll go.”
The Peach Jam is the most anticipated and prestigious event during grassroots recruiting and it simply won’t have the same buzz without college coaches on hand to watch future NBA players that have been showcased there in recent years, including Marvin Bagley III, Mohamed Bamba, Trae Young and Michael Porter Jr., as well as guys like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker.
“It will be different,” Konchalski said of a Peach Jam with no coaches.
Konchalski also pointed out that the NCAA is in for a rude awakening when it comes to running summer events on this scale.
“The NCAA has no idea how much work goes into that, what staff are required,” he said. “Who selects the players? It’s a joke, the whole thing is a joke.”
Still, none of this has been passed by the NCAA Board of Governors, and Konchalski isn’t as sure as some others that they will — or should — pass. His major point is that kids — or events — that are excluded from this process — from being watched by college coaches — will end up suing the NCAA and/or USA Basketball.
“Even though a lot of people think the Board of Governors is going to approve all of this in August, I can’t believe that their legal dept will allow them to because they’re subject to so many lawsuits,” he said. “And what about Hoop Group Elite? What about independent camps? What about other tournaments? They’re going to all sue. I can’t believe it’s going to pass because as litigious a society as we are, the NCAA is opening themsleves to an incredible number of lawsuits.”
Konchalski, who has been doing this for a long time, also thinks it’s fundamentally anti-American because it excludes certain people from the process of being recruited.
“This is an anti-trust thing,” he said. “College coaches can’t see them. It limits opportunities. This whole thing is profoundly un-American and that’s what it comes down to. And I’m shocked that Condoleezza Rice, whom I hold in high regard, can’t see that. This isn’t America.”
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.