Thursday, April 23, 2015

Summer Shoe Circuits Heats Up On & Off the Court

(Left) Carmelo Anthony - Team Melo (MD) - (Right) Chris Paul - Team CP3 (NC)

One of the most confusing yet important aspects of grassroots basketball is the battle that takes place not on the court but in the corporate board rooms across the country.  Within the DMV as across the country there is no difference in this highly competitive market.  There are unwritten rules to the game and one with high stakes for programs, players, parents, and high school and college coaches.  What is battle are we referring to you may wonder; it’s the one sneak brand battle being waged year round and is now at its peak this time of year.

In the pass year there have been major landscape changes at the top of all the shoe companies; NIKE, Adidas, and Under Armor – Carlton DeBose is now the heading up NIKE and works with a team of regional directors who assist in identifying top talent in their respective areas.  Under Armor new head man is Nick Blatchford who also has a team of professional who are looking to get the job done.  Adidas has no slouch behind the wheel with Jim Gatto making things happen for the three stripes.

The overall value of these brands and relationships is the national circuit access they all provide.  Top players from across the country are sought out by sneak affiliated clubs to represents them and their brands on national circuits.  The circuits are set-up in league style systems built over multiple sessions, where at some of the younger age group some brands set up tournament style events.  Regardless of the set-up style they all have one thing in common and that is they provide a direct link to visibility by college coaches from all over the country.  Not just your Duke’s, Syracuse’s, or UCLA’s - but also your Florida Gulf Coast’s. Texas States, and Central Akansas; they are all in attendance and the beauty is that a single child only has to be like by one to get an opportunity to play at the next level. The aforementioned events are held during what is known as live periods; where colleges are able to come out and interact directly with players and parents. 

The next session dates and location for the three brands are as follows:

Nike & Under Armor  Lexington, Ky. (April 24-26)
Adidas Indianapolis (April 24-26)

Operating on the same date is done purposely and strategically; requiring a commitment and allegiance to a specific affiliate by the player and the parent.  Not just to the leagues, but also to the camp circuit, and ultimately to college programs and possibly beyond.  Kids who have known as played together from the time they were knee high to a duck may not play with or against each other unless it’s a high school situation as the commitments are paramount to the program directors, scouts, and the advertising and marketing arms of the entities that support and represent the programs and young men.

Given the “short” season in comparison it’s paramount that whatever uniform you put on AS A PLAYER you make sure that you are PLAYING; it’s not necessarily about wins from that end – though there is a high premium put on it as it relates to the actual programs, as there are performance expectations that must be met for relationships to be maintained.  The players true objective is to be seen and get looks and obtain a scholarship – the programs objective is to obtain the most talented players, put the best product on the floor, win and retain their relationships.  The easiest way for both parties to win is to put the team together and go out kick some butt and make some noise.  Those looking for an opportunity at any level 14u to 17u and needs some assistance and guidance for now or in the future may call the National Youth Basketball Network at 1.800.338.4629 and they can assist with getting you in contact with a club representative in your area that fits your child’s developmental needs and can provide you with chances to been by college recruiters.

The game at this level can be grimy and cutthroat; but if you make the right choice and decision can be very rewarding and be the building block for future success and opportunities. 

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