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Are basketball recruiting/exposure camps worth the money?

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Are basketball recruiting/exposure camps worth the money?I have long talked about how strongly I am against football recruiting camps and combines that charge money.  The only thing that happens from these camps is that you are filling up the pockets of those that are behind the whole scheme.  While they may claim that the results are sent to every school in the country, that doesn’t mean the coaches are not going to delete the email or never look at it.  And really, that is a major selling point of what these camps do.

But those that run the football camps are not the only ones who are seeing a great deal of profit from holding camps.  There are a number of other programs throughout the country who do something similar on the basketball court.  And if anything, these camps can be run cheaper and easier just because it is easier to play 5-on-5 basketball than to organize football drills.  With most of these camps coming during the fall months, is it really worth it?

My answer to that depends on the type of situation that you are in.  During the fall, it is important to realize that Division I coaches will not be flocking to see these camps.  The majority of coaches that usually attend are those at the Division III level.  So before you pay your $75 or $100 for one day of exposure, think about what level you want to play at in college.

Because many times the organizer of these camps works with an AAU coach throughout the State, the talent level at these camps really differs.  The camp organizer will pay the AAU coach for each player that comes to the camp from their team.  If it is one of the better AAU teams in the State, then there is likely to be a solid crop of Division I and II talent.

The problem is that there is this high level talent and then the rest is usually kids who flat out can’t play.  They are going into the camp thinking that they can, but in most situations, they struggle.  Most college coaches come away from the camp having gotten very little out of it and maybe, just maybe a few names that they will consider to recruit in the future.

Anyways, if you goal is to play at the Division I level in college, don’t kid yourself and think this is what this camp will do.  If that is your goal and you still are young, your best bet is to try and hook up with an AAU team that travels the country and has a reputable head coach.  Coming to this type of camp is not worth your time, money, or travel.

If you are a recruit who is interested in playing at a Division III school and has many of those programs interested in you already, then it may not be for you either.  The majority of coaches at this camp with be from Division III, NAIA, and sometimes Junior College programs.  If that is the type of interest that you already have, then there is no point in going.

And last but not least, if you are a player who wants to play at that lower level but has not received any interest, this may be something that you should go to.  However, have you received an evaluation from someone who is not bias about your level?  Just because you dominate at the smaller level of high school doesn’t make this worth the money.  If you are good enough and want the exposure, than go for it.  But like I said, most of the kids that go are not good enough to play at the Division III/NAIA levels.

I have heard many stories of basketball players going on the AAU circuit and blowing up after just one weekend.  I have not however heard that about a recruiting/exposure camp.  The chances of you coming away with a scholarship offer have to extremely low so in most cases, paying the money is not worth it.

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6 Comments so far
  1. tuah August 14, 2008

    I thought the major exposure/recruiting camps occurred during the July open period. On the east coast you have the Hoop Group Eastern Invitational and Five Star pretty much runs the whole summer. On the west coast you have the Fullcourt Press camp and the West Coast All Stars camp. Not to mention the invitation only camps (you just can’t pay and attend) run by Nike (skill academies), Adidas, and Reebok.

    I think the major thing, which you quickly touched upon, is that most of the kids attending these camps and tournaments aren’t very good. Even some of the top 200 players aren’t really all that good. So in addition to finding a good AAU team to play on, and attending some type of “legitimate” exposure camp, it’s best if the player actually works on their game before forking over any money. Get a trainer, have your coach make a program for you, or worst case scenario make your own workout based on drills you find online before you hit the circuit. Because as you pointed out, and I have seen this happen with many players, it only takes a big weekend for a player to start making a name for themselves.

  2. admin August 18, 2008

    Most of the main camps are run during the summer so Division I college coaches can be there. But there are also many fall and spring camps held in the Midwest that I think basically are a waste of money. That is more of what I am talking about.

  3. RD Ham April 20, 2009

    My son (14yr old hs freshman) recently met Coach Sidney at the Jordan Brand Classic which is how I wound up looking up the LA Dream Team ( which he suggested). I am a mother who does not coach and did not play basketball so in trying to get the best opportunities for my son, I try to look at different aveues. I found your article about the exposure camps interesting and it adds to my confusion because all you read about is how the top hs, college and nba players attended these camps. The AAU teams are good also but if the team is not one of the ‘top’ teams, the expense of tournaments and travel becomes too much because the team has no sponsors. There is so much information and opinions it boggles the mind and I find that if you are not a basketball insider, former coach, father or mother who played ball at some point, you are at a disadvantage. All this basically means is that I’ve got alot of work to do, and so does my son. Thanks

  4. Coach Ham March 25, 2012

    Went to a camp last summer 200 kids.$150 per player do the math.
    Kids were ranked and sent letters of achievement and ability levels.
    A lot of the big guy (6’8″ and above) could hardly play.At the end of
    Camp they were ranked as top players.these guys were SORRY!
    As a coach ,I have somewhat an eye for talent.No D1 coach in the
    gym. No D 2′s maybe 2 or 3 D3 coaches,maybe.Is it worth it,think about
    The talent level then past judgement.

  5. tracey ferrell November 24, 2013

    the last comment about the bigger players, they usually are very slow and stiff, but like he said they are ranked high. they usually stay down court and wait for someone to pass or throw them the ball. I was very surprised at one of the camps i sent my son to he could hopefully receive an invite to a invite camp, the competitions was unbelievably sorry, even the parents of the kids were hollowing at them on how sorry they were, but the evaluations was as if all the kids had major talent, and college coaches should keep and eye on them. they couldn’t dribble, bad passes,shooting. Their evaluations were so good, i’am sure they all got invites. I am really checking out these camps, and for what i’am learning from experience, they are really getting paid off theses parents. Some parents are taking their kids to the camps because they can afford too, but their kid don’t always have the talent and skills. I know there are some heavy weight players out their, but I don’t believe they always attend these camps to get exposure. My son is on a AAU team, and I think that is the best way to bet mad exposure, because you have a chance to shine at many cities, towns, and states, by playing so many games. Being on a good team makes a difference, a team that is well known and travel a lot. In order for my child to attend the camp he was invited to it will cost way over 3 G’s and that doesn’t include food,gas. I prefer to invest in him a personal trainer who can work with him on any weaknesses,travel with his AAU team.keep putting out video’s and being pro-active with colleges he may be interested in. “Camps aren’t legit’ the college coaches that are their usually are there to look at a particular player, that has been on their radar. there are other ways to get on the radar, that just the expensive camps.

  6. fxnmx June 28, 2014

    In basketball, the massive exposure/scouting camps don’t seem to have much value. But what about the elite camps conducted directly by colleges and universities? Does anybody have an experience or informed opinion they could share about those situations?