Guide To The July Circuit

Derrick Favors

The summer is upon us and that means it's time for camp and AAU basketball. Here's your guide to the top events in July.

With July finally here, it's time for college coaches to break out the GPS devices and head to the recruiting hot spots across the country for what is known as the most important month in basketball recruiting.

So what makes July so significant? It's the last time during the summer college coaches can be at events evaluating prospects and be seen by their top targets and commits.

"July is the month kids mark on their calendar to make their move," Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Dave Telep said. "College coaches need it to baby-sit commitments and be visible inside gyms for the uncommitted guys. It used to be the primary evaluation month, but that was before early commitments turned the recruiting calendar upside down."

The evaluation period for coaches begins on July 6 and runs through July 15. The second session picks back up on July 22 and goes through the last day of the month. Here's a look at the top events and a few names to keep an eye on.

Top Events

LeBron James Skills Academy: July 6-8

For the second year in a row, LeBron's camp (formerly Nike All-American Camp) will be held at the University of Akron in Ohio. The camp is the conclusion of four positional academies that are hosted by NBA players. The prospects from the position academies meet in Akron for a four-day camp that includes drills, games and the opportunity to play in front of hundreds of college coaches.

The camp includes prospects from the freshman class up to seniors-to-be. Among the top players expected to be in attendance are John Henson, John Wall, Jordan Hamilton, Jereme Richmond, Jeremy Tyler, Harrison Barnes, Michael Gilchrist and Austin Rivers.

It Takes 5ive Classic: July 6-8

Last year adidas scrapped the camp format and opted for a tournament that matches up the top adidas-sponsored teams at the University of Cincinnati. The first year was a success, and this year it's expected to be an even better event as the adidas-sponsored teams are loaded with prospects.

The top adidas programs participating include the Atlanta Celtics, DC Assault and Indiana Elite One. The Celtics have Scout.com's No. 1 player in Derrick Favors, but also have a host of other major prospects. DC Assault is equipped with a solid team and has a pair of Kansas State commits in Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder. Indiana Elite One is led by Mason Plumlee, Bobby Capobianco, Jordan Hulls, D.J. Byrd and Stephan Van Treese.

RBK U: July 6-10

Since Sonny Vacarro stepped away from the recruiting scene, Reebok's camp moved to Philadelphia and takes place at Philadelphia (Pa.) University. Although it's a different location, it's basically the same event. RBK U will play more games than their competitors at the LeBron, and will also feature an all-star game to close out the event.

The majority of the Reebok-sponsored AAU programs will send their kids to RBK U, but Reebok also held what they called "Headliner Tryout Camps", which gave prospects the opportunity to earn their way into the camp. Last year, John Wall earned a spot at a tryout camp and is now a Top 10 prospect. Among the top players expected to attend are Renardo Sidney, Abdul Gaddy, Avery Bradley Kenny Boynton, Dominic Cheek, Joe Jackson and Brandon Knight.

Peach Jam: July 12-15

This Nike-sponsored tournament features the top travel teams on the Nike circuit and is easily one of the best events of the year. The invite-only tournament is a staple for coaches as the best players on the Nike circuit participate in a competitive environment. Last year the New York Gauchos took the crown and were led by UConn signee Kemba Walker.

The 'Chos will return to North Augusta (Ga.) to try and defend their title, but they'll certainly get plenty of competition. The top contenders this year are Athletes First and Houston Hoops. A.F. has one of the best one-two punches in the country with Xavier Henry on the wing and Daniel Orton inside, while H.H. is led by talented point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin and massive big man Keith "Tiny" Gallon.

Vegas Tourneys: July 22-26

Although some teams will head to Orlando for the AAU Showcase, the majority of the recruiting world will be in Las Vegas from July 22-26 for what is known as the biggest week in recruiting. Each of the three main shoe companies host an event, which features their top programs, as well as hundreds of other teams.

Last year, The Main Event consisted of nearly 700 teams, including participants from Canada and New Zealand. While the Reebok Summer Championships and the adidas Super 64 are a little smaller, they are just as competitive and include super pools that match up the top teams in the event during the first two days.

The Gauchos took the Main Event title last year, while Brandon Jennings and Demar DeRozan helped Belmont Shore to the championship at the Summer Championships. Led by Derrick Favors, Chris Singleton and Delwan Graham, the Atlanta Celtics won the Super 64.

AAU Super Showcase & Nationals: July 20-31

The teams that don't head west to Las Vegas will likely land in Orlando (Fla.) for a series of events hosted by the Amateur Athletic Union. This year, AAU will have three divisions for the Super Showcase, running July 20-27. Then on the 27th, the 17's AAU Nationals begins.

The Nationals, which is thought of as the bigger event in Orlando, was won by Team Breakdown last year. The Florida-based squad was led by two of the best guards in the country — Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight. This year they'll return to Orlando and will get strong competition from Boo Williams, who seems to be a contender every year. B.W. has UNC commit Kendall Marshall, Florida commit Deshawn Painter and at least eight other mid-to-high major prospects.

The Top Players

2009

Derrick Favors carried over his strong play from the high school season into the spring and at times was a dominant force inside. He hung on to the top spot in Scout.com's most recent rankings and is the best big man prospect the class has to offer.

While Favors has been tough to stop, so have a few other prospects in the '09 class. John Henson made an impressive move in the spring as did John Wall, Daniel Orton and Ryan Kelly. The overall depth in the class is still thin, especially at the guard spot, but there are certainly some guys at the top that will play for pay one day.

Scout.com's 2009 Top 10
1. Derrick Favors
2. Xavier Henry
3. John Wall
4. John Henson
5. Renardo Sidney
6. DeMarcus Cousins
7. Lance Stephenson
8. Kenny Boynton
9. Abdul Gaddy
10. Daniel Orton

2010

A few weeks ago it was tough to pick the best player in the 2010 class, but after the statement Tristan Thompson made at the NBAPA Camp in late June, he's the easy choice. The 6-foot-9 Texas commit took on classmate Jeremy Tyler and put up 21 points, while holding Tyler to zero.

Although we are still learning about the 2010 class, it's looking pretty good from a depth stand point. Among the prospects that made the biggest moves during the spring were Harrison Barnes, Josh Selby and Daniel Bejarano. But there are a handful of other guys like Anthony Brown, Mychal Parker and Meyers Leonard that we expect to have big July's.

Scout.com's 2010 Top 10
1. Tristan Thompson
2. Jared Sullinger
3. Josh Smith
4. Jeremy Tyler
5. Brandon Knight
6. Harrison Barnes
7. Reggie Bullock
8. DeShaun Thomas
9. Dominique Ferguson
10. Josh Selby

2011

Although it's still early for the 2011 prospects, a few names already stick out. Tony Wroten was tremendous this spring, while Michael Gilchrist, Austin Rivers and Marques Teague made their presence known at the Nike Hoop Jamboree, which feature the best underclassmen in the country.

The Best of 2011 (in no order)
Tony Wroten
Michael Gilchrist
Kevin Johnson
LaQuinton Ross
Marques Teague
James McAdoo
Austin Rivers
Rakeem Christmas
Mike Shaw
Julian Royal

Other Notable July Events

July 6-9 — Hoosier Shootout, Indianapolis (Ind.) July 6-9 — NY2LA Sports Next Level Invitational, Milwaukee (Wisc.) July 6-9 — Double Pump Boys West Coast All-Star Camp, Los Angeles (Calif.) July 9-13 — Eddie Ford's Kentucky Hoopfest, Louisville (Ky.) July 11-12 — Reebok Summer Classic East, Teaneck (N.J.) July 11-13 — Peach State Summer Classic, North Augusta (Ga.) July 11-13 — Fullcourt Press All-West Camp, Hawthorne (Calif.) July 11-14 — Great American Shootout, Denton (Tex.) July 13-14 — The Playaz Ball, Newark (N.J.) July 13-15 — Double Pump Three Stripes Tournament, Los Angeles (Calif.) July 14-15 — Fullcourt Press Cream of the Crop Challenge, Hawthorne (Calif.) July 14-16 — Triple "S" Harley Davidson Shootout, Morgantown (W.V.) July 27-29 — Desert Duel Memorial Summer Prep Memorial, Gilbert (Ariz. July 27-31 — National Youth Basketball Championships, Las Vegas (Nev.) July 27-31 — LA Best of Summer, Los Angeles (Calif.) July 28-30 — Fullcourt Press End of the Trail Classic, Lynwood (Calif.) July 28-31 — Price Chopper/KC Prep Invitational, Shawnee (Kans.)

Scout.com's July Schedule

Dave Telep – LeBron James Skills Academy, RBK U, Peach Jam, Triple "S" Harley Davidson Shootout, Las Vegas Tournaments and AAU Nationals.

Evan Daniels – adidas It Takes 5ive Class, LeBron James Skills Academy, Kentucky Hoopfest, Peach State Summer Classic, Peach Jam and the Las Vegas Tournaments.

Greg Hicks – West Coast All Star Camp#1, Fullcourt Press All-West Camp, West Coast All Star Camp #2, Three Stripes Tournament, Fullcourt Press Cream of the Crop Challenge, Las Vegas Tournaments and LA Best of Summer.

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