What: iHoops “Unsigned Prospects” camp/clinic.
When: Saturday, April 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (registration for students from 9-10:15 a.m.).
Where: The Fieldhouse in Fishers, Ind., 11825 Technology Drive (a northeast suburb of Indianapolis).
Why: To provide unsigned men’s basketball prospects a chance to be evaluated by smaller schools and junior colleges during a dead period for Division I.
Fees: Free to prospective student-athletes. Coaches will be charged an $80 pre-registration fee, $100 at the door. The fee includes admission to the event and a packet of information on each participating student-athlete.
For more information: See http://www.ihoops.com/programs/iHoops-Unsigned-Prospects-Program.htm.
By Gary Brown
iHoops is operating an event this Saturday in Indianapolis for unsigned men’s basketball prospects. The camp/clinic is free for prospects who have not received or signed a final offer to play college basketball.
The event is the second of its kind that iHoops has conducted this year. The other was earlier this spring in Washington, D.C., and was received favorably. Organizers want the events to provide opportunities for prospects to be able to showcase their skills for college coaches primarily at the NCAA Division II and Division III level, as well as for NAIA and junior college coaches.
“The iHoops ‘Unsigned Prospects’ event is designed to help high school seniors and junior college players in their pursuit of an education and a basketball career, as well as help coaches to scout and recruit otherwise unknown talent,” said Neil Dougherty, iHoops director of athlete and coach programs. “These events also are appealing to coaches with smaller recruiting budgets, since they can come to one location to evaluate a number of prospects at one convenient time.”
These events are the first for iHoops, established in 2009 to improve the quality of youth basketball. Formed with support from the NCAA and the NBA, iHoops focuses especially on the educational and social experience for the players as they improve their basketball skills.
The “unsigned prospects” events begins with warm-ups and stretching routines for the participants, followed by shooting drills and 5-on-5 full-court and half-court competitions in the afternoon.
“The purpose is to provide kids that are Division II, Division III, NAIA or junior college talent who may not have signed with a school an opportunity to be seen again or even for the first time,” Dougherty said. About 65 prospects participated in the Washington, D.C., event.
The events also furthers iHoops’ goal to be an authority in youth basketball. Organizers believe iHoops’ brand-name recognition and the success already achieved with the organization’s online presence (www.iHoops.com) and with programs such as First Team and the iHoops National Skills Challenge will lead to more events for prospective basketball student-athletes.
“There are other venues for unsigned prospects to pursue,” Dougherty said, “but we believe the iHoops events provide the best opportunity for the players and give the coaches what they want to see. Our staff knows what coaches are looking for with these types of events, and the feedback we’ve already received is that we’re hitting the mark.”
iHoops will evaluate the success of the unsigned prospects events this summer and will likely pursue similar camps next year. The early spring is the ideal time for camps geared toward non-Division I prospects since most days from March through mid-May are off limits for recruiting in Division I. (However, Division I currently is re-evaluating its entire recruiting structure and may adopt changes that would provide some recruiting time in April for Division I coaches to attend these types of events. Read more here.)
“We feel like this is a great opportunity for those prospects who haven’t signed to get a chance at a scholarship in Division II or to find the right fit with a Division III school,” Dougherty said. “This segment of the youth basketball population has been a little under-served in the past, and events like these are designed specifically to help them further their education.”