The 2015 Southeast Summer Showcase was once again loaded with high level Division I and Division II talent, including Kris Monroe (SF, 6’6″, 2018), JP Moorman (F, 6’6″, 2017) and Andrew Zauzama (PF, 6’7″, 2017). Here’s a rebroadcast of the championship game.
If you are looking for a basketball scholarship, please take a moment to read this.
First, let me back up and start at the beginning. Or, at least, a beginning.
A bit over five years ago, my good friend James Blackburn and I were sitting in a frigid gym, frustrated and fed up. After several hours of sitting on cold metal bleachers in overlooking courts with no heat in March, we’d scouted about 60 high school players in an open run style showcase. We scouted every single player at the event…but let me explain why we did it, and why it infuriated us. Finding table covers wholesale for your party rental company or event venue is a snap with CV Linens.
When we walked into the gym, we never saw the event organizer (he never showed) and there were no college coaches in attendence. There were no media in attendance. There were over 60 kids who had paid $150 each, or about that much, to get scouted, and there was no one there to see them. We were the only people who showed; no media, no colleges, no scouts…nobody but James and myself. The players were basically left on their own to warm up, and eventually a few coaches and ‘referees’ showed up to organize the games, but the qualifications for being a ref were basically ‘have a whistle’. One ‘ref’ per court, and the ‘coaches’ at the event were texting on the sidelines, paying no attention to the games, as the players subbed themselves in and out of the game.
So James and I looked around and decided that these kids deserved better than to be scammed; we decided that if we were the only people who came to see the players, then we would watch them all and make sure someone actually scouted them. We sat down and watched basketball all day and we found several college level players. Time has passed and I can confirm that this is not speculation; over a dozen of the players we saw that day are currently playing college basketball, a couple have gone on to play at the Division I level.
Now, there are good individual showcases that exist…but this was definitely not one of them, and there are too many that spring up which just look to make money off of young players and naive parents who think they are going to show up to a gym packed with ACC coaches and national media. This is similar to why I rant about middle school rankings, but that’s a different topic. To be clear, there are a few showcases that are very good. I don’t want people to think I’m painting with a broad brush here.
So that day, after seeing all of those good players, I told James that we needed to put together a showcase that actually gave the kids what the bad showcases promised. We would bring in some players we knew could play and had name recognition, we would call some colleges we knew, we would try to sign up players who were under the radar and we would charge as low of a price as we could. We would get some of the best high school or AAU coaches we knew to interact with the kids. My goal was simple: every kid who came to my event would walk out a better player, even if that only meant he was more knowledgeable about the recruiting process or learned a new drill.
It was, in retrospect, a naive ambition; putting on an event is incredibly expensive. The week before our first event I barely slept, trying to organize and pay for everything without losing too much money. Kids would commit to coming to the event only to back out the following day. Colleges would commit to coming only to back out. I scrambled to put rosters together that would make good match ups on the floor. We met with coaches, we tirelessly contacted media we knew, we pitched sponsors. It took a Herculean effort, and by the time of the event we had about 40 players show up, a half dozen colleges, a TV news channel and some minor sponsors. I lost about $700 on the first event…but about two-thirds of the players who came to that first event went on to play in college. Four players who had no college interest were offered by colleges at the event. I suspect the coaches and staff that helped me put together the event felt badly for me, losing money on the attempt. I was ecstatic, and as I drove home in my SUV crammed full of camp equipment and Gatorade coolers, all I could think about was how good it felt to see a player who had almost given up being offered a college scholarship by a college coach. For me, it had been a resounding success.
Since that first event, we’ve grown tremendously; We landed on ESPN’s top 10 in 2013; we’ve had players who went on to become McDonald’s All Americans and had multiple players who went on to high major schools. We added Pepsi, Subway and Champion as sponsors (many thanks to their generosity) and added much more national and regional scouting coverage. MaxPreps has stated more than once that our event is one of the biggest on the East Coast and it’s much appreciated. Phenom Hoops and Rivals have been supporters of ours for some time and that’s greatly appreciated as well.
We accomplished this by sticking to same basic formula:
Bring in some known players so college coaches know the talent level is strong
Bring in as many under the radar players as we can so college coaches can see how they fare against good competition
Use high quality, highly engaged, diverse coaches for the staff. Coaches’ schedules prevent them from being able to work the camp every single year but we have been incredibly fortunate that we have been able to have so many dedicated coaches involved over the years. This is extremely important to me, because the players interact with the coaches all day.
Scout every player, and have scouts on every court
Elite drills and warm up – we’ve scouted NBA practices and camps so many times over the years that we know the drills that elite players have access to, and we bring them to high school players. We put so much work into the drills that we had to reduce the number of games from 3 (our first year) to two because players were getting too gassed by the end of the day.
We actually LOWERED the price over the years. What’s that? You say the economy’s doing well and inflation is normal? Not for us.
We work every year to make sure that players get some type of improvement. The reality is that we can never make everybody happy; but my goal isn’t to make everybody happy, it’s to try and deliver what we promised and help as many players as we can.
We have recruiting experts come in and speak to the parents and players about the realities of getting recruited for college, and they are available all day.
There have been pitfalls along the way as well. New people and organizations enter the grassroots scene all of the time, and some are fantastic people, but many are not. We’ve been called names, we’ve had derogatory things said about us and our event, and we’ve had people become angry because they thought we were playing favorites. Many of the people who have told parents not to come to our events are people I’ve never even met and certainly weren’t involved in grassroots or high school ball five years ago. There’s also the misconception that we are somehow making massive amounts of money off our event – my reaction to that is always the same: if you think it’s easy, there’s no one stopping you from trying it. If it’s reputable, I’ll even do everything I can to help you. But if you don’t know what you’re talking about, or you’re looking for a money grab, or you just want to spout nonsense, keep quiet. I’m not listening. It takes no courage to complain, because it does not leave you vulnerable. It takes far more courage to stand up and tell people about something you like, because people can attack you for it. So either stand up for something positive or step aside. I have no time for your silly braggadocio.
I honestly don’t know how much longer we will put on our event. It’s been a big success and I’m elated at how far it’s come. However, the work involved is immense and you never know when it will come to a point where I just no longer have the time to put in to make it run the way I want it. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. I’ve certainly made mistakes and I’ve worked to correct them immediately.
So what I’m saying is this: if you are interested in what we stand for at Basketball Elite, please consider attending our 2015 Southeast Summer Showcase. If we can help you in any way,now or in the future with your goals for college (or even your goals for life), we will. Honestly, even if you don’t attend to play but just want to come and talk with me or anyone on our staff, you are welcome to do so.
Marcus Shockley is the creator, along with a band of talented (but possibly misguided) misfits, of BasketballElite.com, the Southeast Summer Showcase and has scouted and written about basketball for longer than any person should openly admit. You can follow his rantings on sports, life and acceptable flavors of ice cream on Twitter @m_shockley
We decided to rebroadcast this game as it was arguably the best of the day. The winner of this game would advance to the title game, and it features several Division I basketball prospects going head-to-head, including Brandon Childress (PG, 6′, 2016) of Wesleyan and Devin Cooper (PG, 6’1″, 2015) of Ardrey Kell HS. Enjoy!
Scout Charles Clark provides us with the first set of scout’s notes from the camp. We will be posting more over the next few days, and you should also check out the coverage on Phenom Hoop Report.
There was a lot of talent that stepped onto the Campus of Forsyth Country Day School on Sunday, June 15th, these are some of the players that really stood out to me.
Brandon Childress (Wesleyan Christian, Karolina Diamonds, Point Guard, 6’0, 2016) – Simply put, Brandon had one of the best showings out of any player at the showcase, he showed his beautiful shooting stroke throughout the entire camp. Although he provided the majority of the scoring for his team he also did a very good job of getting the ball to his post players in the right spots. What really impressed me about Brandon besides his outstanding scoring was how good of an IQ he has when using the Pick and roll. He knew when to pass, when to shoot and made the passes right on target for easy buckets. This was not my first time seeing him play but his performances On Sunday impressed me more than any other time I have seen him play.
Devin Cooper (Ardrey Kell H.S, Team Charlotte, PG/SG, 6’0, 2015) – As soon as the station drills started I went over and watched the Point Guard station where players had to: Run through an agility drill and then come off a screen and knock down a shot off the dribble. Out of all the players at the station Devin was one of the only players who went through the drill with ease. Two attributes really impressed me about Devin, first was his outstanding body control that he has when attacking the basket, it didn’t matter if he was fouled, undercut or anything else, he still finished plays. His ball handling skills were some of the best of any player at the showcase, and to top it off he has quickness mixed with a lot of moves in his arsenal that makes him a very tough player to guard. He Shot the ball with consistency, has nice form and lift on his shot, and knows how to always get squared up before he shoots. Lastly I must point out that he showed a lot of leadership for his squad, I loved how he decided to switch with one of his teammates on defense so that he could guard Brandon Childress.
Jahlil Rawley (Prominence Academy, 2016 Guard, 6’3) – Jahlil has a very smooth game, for a Point Guard he has good height and also has a nice long wingspan. He showed throughout the day that he can be a very unselfish player and that he is a talented passer. The ball handling of this young man was very impressive as well as the amount of defensive pressure he applied to the opposing teams guards. Even though he showed he scored the ball in various ways it seemed as if he decided to display more of an old school Point Guard game throughout the showcase, getting teammates involved first and looking for his shot later. Overall this young man has a very good feel for the game and has potential to be a very good player
Robert Colon (Northside H.S, Dream Team, Point Guard, 5’11, 2016)- Robert was a player at the showcase that I really feel helped his stock, he did not get much playing time for his high school this past season because of numerous Seniors that played the Guard positions. With that being said I can guarantee that he will definitely play a solid role for his squad next year as he showed many attributes that coaches’ at the high school and college level love. Robert showed very good ball handling skills but did not over dribble; he also displayed outstanding court vision, dropping beautiful passes to teammates. Robert is a very good shooter and knows how to score, he knocked down numerous perimeter shots and finished well in transition, also has a decent frame for a PG his age that he uses to embrace contact.
Josh Handy (North Rowan H.S, RoCo Elite, Shooting Guard/Small Forward, 6’4, 2016)- Josh had a very productive day scoring and rebounding , he is a player that has very good length and knows to use his wingspan to help him score. In both games I watched him play he was dominant when attacking the basket, and provided the majority of scoring for his team. From the start of these games he showed a very high motor and enthusiasm, it’s almost as if he simply loves to play the game while at the same time he wants to play hard every single possession. On defense Josh was solid, although his lateral quickness could use a little improvement; he was very solid guarding smaller players in the open court. This young man has potential to be a very good prospect and is also a player that helped his stock due to his performance at the showcase.
Ian Boyd (Apex H.S, CP3, Shooting Guard, 6’3, 2016) – Ian also had a productive day at the showcase; he displayed some smooth ball handling as well as a very nice shooting stroke. Ian did not have any issue getting his shot off and knocking it down with consistency but one attribute that really stood out to me about Ian was how unselfish of a player he is. He made sure that all his teammates got numerous touches in very good scoring positions even if he was having a hot shooting game. Last but not least I was impressed with the “old school toughness” that Ian has , he doesn’t mind contact and played through a lot of physical contact.
Jamaruis Hairston (Carson H.S, Carolina Phenoms, Small Forward, 6’2, 2018) – One of the younger players that attended the event, Jamaruis turned a lot of heads with how much energy he played with. Although he will still need to improve his perimeter shooting he knocked down shots from the elbow range and was very good finishing at the basket. Also brought very good defensive intensity, and was very active on the defensive glass for his team.
Daquan Lilly (Knightdale H.S, Forward, 6’6, 2015) – Daquan is an athletic player; for a player his height he is very comfortable handling the ball in the open court. He caught the ball and Finished inside the paint well, throughout the day that I watched him I didn’t see him drop too many passes. Seems to be a very good teammate and was awarded the Coaches Award for the showcase.
Malcolm Herron, (Jesse C Caron H.S, Team Fly, 2017, Point Guard 5’6) – Malcolm was another young player that showed some flashes of how good he can possibly be. Malcolm has very good ball handling skills and has nice quickness that he uses to try and keep his defender off balance. Throughout the day he handled the defensive pressure from older players very well and showed that he is a good passer, this young man knows how to get the ball up the floor in a hurry.
Xavier Smith, (Oak Hill Academy, 2015, Guard, 6’3) – Xavier is a nice Shooting Guard prospect, knocked down shots all day especially from midrange. He is a talented finisher that knows how to make whatever move that is necessary to finish after he leaves the ground. Xavier is the type of player that Point Guards love to play with because once you give him a lead pass to the basket he will find a way to score it.
Malik Constantine, (Olympic H.S, Team Charlotte, 2015, Forward, 6’4) – Malik was a rebounding machine throughout the event, when watching him play it seemed as if he has the attitude that every shot that is missed belongs to him. He also showed some athleticism with put back dunks and blocking/contesting shots in the paint on the defensive end of the court. Malik was also a very good teammate and took the attitude of doing whatever it takes to help his team get the win.
Charles Norman (Prominence Academy, Guard, 6’2)- Charles is a very athletic player and he displayed that throughout the showcase , what sets him apart from many other athletic players is that he uses his athleticism correctly in the flow of the game. On the offensive side he attacks the rim and uses his leaping ability to get his jump shot off over taller opponents. On the defensive side he showed quickness by coming up with numerous and deflections, but my favorite play of the day that he had was a chance down block that he came up with in one of the final games of the day.
Once again, the Southeast Summer Showcase has come and gone, and thanks to all of the coaches, players, parents and media who attended and made it such a great event. We’ll have more evals & information posted soon.
For now, let’s start by congratulating the camp MVP, Devin Cooper (PG, 6’1″, 2015) of Ardrey Kell HS (NC). Devin impressed coaches and scouts all day with his court vision, handle and quickness. Devin pushes the ball and attacks, plus he has good body control. As of this writing Devin has most recently been contacted by Miami (OH), and has reported offers from Rider, Campbell, Radford and Abilene Christian. There’s little doubt he will continue to see more interest this July.
Change is hard.
It goes against our nature as humans to try and be objective about our flaws.
So each year when we get through our Southeast Summer Showcase, I really try to step back and assess what we did right, what we did wrong, and how we can make it better. This year’s event is coming up on June 15.
Quite frankly, it ain’t easy.
We work hard on our showcase. As in, hours, days, even nights. Talking. Meeting. Writing out schedules. Brainstorming. Moving players around on teams. Changing up the drills. Meeting with the coaches ahead of time. Going over details. Going over them again.
Gabe Devoe looks on during drills.
Sometimes, it means staying up until the wee hours packing up little things for the player packets or printing out the rosters ONE LAST TIME because we noticed some of the numbers were wrong on the last batch we printed.
Loading up all the equipment to head to the gym at 6 am, and going to bed at 2 am hoping 4 hours of sleep will be enough to fuel the day.
So when it’s all over, and we pack up the boxes, wipe up the Gatorade from the hallways and make sure no players have fallen asleep in the bathroom before we turn out the lights, we pretty much collapse into exhaustion and hope that at least one player, at least one, got a good look from a college that will eventually lead to a scholarship.
Last year, we had 8 seniors who eventually went to Division I schools. We had even more who eventually went Division II.
Our dunk champion, Carlee Clemons, landed at #2 on the ESPN top 10 the next day (we would have been #1 if not for the fact we were going against the NBA playoffs) and he eventually went on to compete in the national high school dunk contest on CBS. Really cool, especially when our previous dunk champion, VMI player Craig Hinton, also went to the nationals the year before.
Our All-Star game from 2013 boasted some awesome talent: Gabe Devoe, who committed to Clemson; Javis Howard, who landed at the Charleston Southern; Gary Clark, who decided on Cincinnati; Colton Bishop (Loyola Maryland) and several more. Just too many to name.
MaxPreps wrote that our event was one of the biggest in the country, and was the biggest on the East Coast for the weekend, with the West Coast going to Pangos All-American camp. Not too shabby.
Charis Fitzgerald, 2012 Camp MVP
So it’s not easy to step back and look at what we could do better. When you put in so much effort to eke out a few victories, looking for things you can improve feels like you’re focusing on what you did wrong, instead of what you did right. But in order to improve, that’s exactly what we have to do.
Like I said, it ain’t easy. BUT…if it was easy to put on a world class event, everyone would do it.
So here goes.
With all of the things I think we do RIGHT, and have done right, at our events in the past, there are things that haven’t been done as well as I would have liked.
We had issues with our jersey numbers the first year and our DVD reproduction last year. These are things that happen, you fix them and move on. You work out some kinks. You put in backup plans. You eliminate things that didn’t get executed well.
BUT…there is one thing that we’ve had at our first three events that actually went off really well…and yet, I wasn’t happy with it.
It’s a staple at many individual showcase events, and they all have the same problems.
The All-Star game.
I have NO issue with All-Star games in general. They’re terrific. But at an individual showcase? It just doesn’t work.
See, the first problem is that you are picking players based on a single day’s play. And you also have players who already come in with a reputation. If a player comes into your event, and he’s already holding multiple Division I offers, you will look like an awful scout if he doesn’t make your all-star roster. But then there are players who show up, play really well, and not enough coaches vote for them to make the All-Star.
Last year, as I was handed the final votes for the All-Star game, I cringed. I could see that every single player who made the game deserved to be there. And I could also see at least 6 players who didn’t make who also had an argument to be in that game. And I hated it. I hated the fact that we were basically telling those 6 or so players that they weren’t making the cut, even though I knew they were good enough.
Bear in mind, this goes against what would be the industry norm for a scout or basketball analyst to do. Very few will ever admit they are wrong even when they are wrong all of the time, and they will laugh about people who admit mistakes. But it takes no courage to do that. I can’t tell players to “do the right thing, not the easy thing” and then turn around and do the opposite. If I see something that we need to change, I have to try and change it.
I knew that what we doing wasn’t good enough, and I decided that this year, 2014, I would come up with a better way. I don’t care if other showcases still run an All-Star game, it’s not how I think it should be done. And I’m doing something different.
This year, we’re doing this: your team wins, you play in the title game. No All-Star game. A title game. So if your team goes 2-0, we go by point differential and the best teams play. If there is a tie, we have a quick playoff to decide the title game. So the TEAMS that play the best get to play for the title. We’ve had teams go undefeated every year and I expect this year will be no different. If a team plays well enough to go undefeated then that TEAM should get a chance at the title, don’t you think? That’s what competition is all about.
And this year, we’re broadcasting the title game on NetCast Sports Network. So if your team plays well all day, you won’t have to pack up early. You’ll play in the final game, on the full court, on the live broadcast, and on replay.
After years of watching high school basketball players struggle to get recruited for college, I set out to build something better. Last year we had our most successful year, with 8 of the seniors going on to Division I schools, many more heading to Division II and our dunk contest landed at #2 on ESPN for the weekend (we would have been number one, but we were up against the NBA Finals). The Southeast Summer Showcase is the only showcase I do all year, and my entire focus is making this event the best I possibly can make it. This year’s event is June 15, 2014 at Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville, NC.
(Don’t want to read all the reasons why this event is awesome, and just want to sign up? Sure, you can go here: events.BasketballElite.com.
Here’s what we do:
– we bring in several Division I rated prospects so that the competition level is set high right away. This means that players who play well at the event are proving that they are also college prospects. Coaches love being able to see players they like and watch them play against solid competition to see if their instincts about the player are correct.
– all games at the event are filmed and DVD copies are available to all players and coaches.
– this year, the event is specifically during a DII ‘live’ period, and it’s on June 15, which is the first day that DII schools can contact sophomores. In other words, it’s the perfect time for players to have an ‘arrival party’ where coaches can see them play and contact them right away.
– Our guest speaker is Tim Ryerson of Student Athlete World. Tim is a former college basketball coach with experience at 5 different schools and a recruiting expert. He is currently who I consider to be the #1 recruiting expert in the country and he will be available all day after speaking to answer questions from parents and players.
– Our drills are elite level. We bring in drills from other top level events such as the Lebron camp, CP3 camp, NBA combine and USA basketball. These are drills that many high school players will never get the chance to participate in at the high school level, but we make them available to all attendees and really put them through the workouts.
– We not only have a camp MVP award, but we also have a ‘Coaches Award’ which is given out to the player who all of the camp coaches pick as their personal favorite. This award goes to players who do a lot of things that coaches love but may not get noticed.
– Our events are covered by multiple scouting services and past events have been covered by national media such as MaxPreps and Dime Magazine.
I’d like to invite any high school player from the classes of 2018, 2017, 2016 or 2015 to attend this year if they are serious about getting better on the court and getting recruited for college.