Basketball exposure camps may seem a long way off when you're just getting started with youth basketball. But time flies. And, before you know it, your youngster will be thinking about playing college ball.
Exposure camps may be a beneficial recruiting tool for your college-bound athlete. Check out 12 of the top nationwide showcase camps for boys and girls. But, before spending any money, there are some things about them you need to know.
Exposure, or showcase, basketball camps are events specifically organized for the purpose of spotlighting and evaluating players as potential college prospects.
Typically, they aren't affiliated or hosted by any particular university. Rather they're organized by private individuals or groups. Many of them have been around for awhile, have a good reputation, and boast of an impressive list of past campers who've gone on to play college hoops in some of the top NCAA programs. Some have even gone on to play in the NBA.
Many basketball exposure camps are invitation-only. To attract the best college recruiters, camp organizers ensure they showcase the best talent by inviting only the best. As a previous college recruiter myself, I can tell you coaches look for those opportunities to see the maximum number of potential prospects in a single location to get the most bang for their recruiting buck.
With the high level of talent, there's no guarantee that every player will get noticed. The truth is, many coaches come to these types of recruiting events with players already in mind. They're following up on players they've been following, communicating with, and actively recruiting. Coaches aren't necessarily looking around for anyone else.
This is important to consider before spending significant time and money. Is it possible for an unknown player to turn some heads and surprise some coaches? Absolutely! But it's a long shot.
There are many basketball exposure camps to choose from across the U.S., so you definitely need to do your research. I can't emphasize this enough. I've come across events claiming to be "exposure" or "showcase" camps. Sometimes these terms are misleading. There's a lot of money to be made on players' dreams of a college scholarship. Investigate them carefully.
What kind of talent is the event attracting? Is it invitation-only? Or can any player willing to spend the money show up? College coaches aren't going to waste their time or money. They'll go where the talent is. There's no point showcasing your talents if no coaches are around.
Something else to keep in mind. NCAA Division I basketball coaches are restricted to specific time periods throughout the year that they're allowed to attend camps and tournaments for recruiting purposes. NCAA Division II, III, NAIA, and junior college coaches don't have the same restrictions. Sometimes when coaches aren't in attendance there are often scouts from a host of recruiting services in the stands. These scouts are in the business of evaluating players and passing on the information to coaches who subscribe to their services.
Camps offered in the spring and summer may be your best bet. During this time, coaches are out of season and hitting the recruiting trail hard.
I don't endorse any of these organizations, but I've provided a list of a dozen popular camps for boys and girls throughout the U.S.
Though every camp is different, here are some general things you might expect:
A good alternative to exposure camps may be "elite" camps. Often, colleges host camps on their campuses intended for the best players. Unlike typical youth basketball camps, elite camps offer a great opportunity for top athletes to compete against each other and showcase their skills directly to coaches of those programs they're most interested in.
Are basketball exposure camps worth it? Well, it depends. Only serious players with legitimate college potential should even consider them. Do your research. What's the competition like? What colleges are expected to attend? How many players are expected? What's the track record of the organization? What do others have to say about their experiences? Search for those camps where you think your player has the best chance of being seen.