I’m ready to put July to bed already. With that said, here’s my best of from the wild month that is the evaluation period. If you have any other “Best of” ideas, let me know via Twitter (see below), post a message or even shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Best event: adidas Super 64. The Peach Jam was a close second. Both were loaded with talent. Both showcased the best in the country. Adidas may have had better games from start to finish.
Best player I saw at…
Ultimate Exposure Camp: DeMarcus Daniels, 2012/Turner County, GA
Power 48: Aryay Strong, 2011/J-Smoove All-Stars
Peach State Showcase: Willie Clayton, Team Georgia Elite 16U
Nike Peach Jam: Harrison Barnes, Howard Pulley
GBOA Challenge of Champions: Terrence Jones, I-5 Elite
adidas Super 64: Joe Jackson, Memphis Magic
Reebok Summer Championship: Trey Zeigler, Team Detroit
Center Stage: Perry Jones, Dallas Seawolves
17U AAU Nationals: Jared Sullinger, All Ohio Red
Best sight on the road: A number of coaches brought their young sons out events this year. Some coaches brought their whole families, too. And it seems that more and more coaches have sons that are playing on the circuit. Good to see coaches not losing themselves in the 20 craziest days of basketball. Their kids will have great “traveling with dad” memories and hopefully kids, players and coaches are taking notice of those that preach “we are all about family at XYZ University” and really mean it.
Best eating hole: Bee's Knees in Augusta, GA. The place never fails. I had a chance to go with two rising stars in the coaching ranks, Fordham’s Steve Treff and College of Charleston’s Andrew Wilson, and we darn near put the tapas menu to bed. If you ever go to the Peach Jam, find Bee’s Knees, order at least five items from the menu. Thank me later. (And Bee’s Knees, my email is email@example.com. Feel free to send me a gift certificate. Your welcome.)
Best unintentional recruiting tool/fashion item: Scepter Brownlee, assistant coach at Georgia State, rocked a pair of blue suede adidas Gazelle shoes. Vegas brings out the back of the closest gear sometimes.
Best off the court moment: The poker room at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas treated the National Hoops Report quite well in a four hour period. And Scarlett Johansson was 15 feet away from me when it all went down.
Things I learned in July…
• Twitter is pretty sweet
• Never, ever forget your GPS when in Las Vegas
• Baja Fresh needs to come to Atlanta, headquarters of the National Hoops Report
• LeBron doesn’t like to be in the news in a negative fashion and successful executives worry way too much about the silliest of things
• The Harrison Barnes vs. Brandon Knight/Austin Rivers match-up was the best individual match-up of the Peach Jam. And it was a 30-point blow-out in favor of Knight/Rivers
• Joe Jackson was Mr. Las Vegas
• Free-lancing and covering roughly 35 kids is much more exciting than trying to cover 1,000 kids
• We probably won’t see a dominating team quite like the All-Ohio machine on the AAU circuit in a while
• There is free WiFi at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, the only free thing in Orlando
I could live without from July…
• Traffic in Las Vegas
• The NCAA
• Five tournaments in Vegas
• The porous attitude from AAU officials when asking about their media policies
• Red-eye flights
• Red bull energy drinks
• Empty roster information in media guides
• Parents that start a conversation with “Don’t you do the rankings?”
• The over-talker at poker tables
• The walk from the parking lot to the Milk House in Orlando
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