Its Camp Season, How To Stand Out As a Smaller Guard
By Jamie Shaw

Smaller guards are a dime a dozen when it comes to camps. College coaches will say that they are able to go into any gym across the country and find a smaller guard who can play. And this thought process is true, high schools and camps across the country are filled, year after year, with guards who can really play.

This is Phenom Hoops’ 14th year of running high level exposure camps. Over the years thousands upon thousands of players have walked through our doors, from all over the country. Phenom Hoops’ is in the unique position of hosting exposure camps as well as being nationally recognized scouts who offer an NCAA compliant recruiting service to college coaches. Our goal is help everyone, to not only provide the incredible platform to get seen, but to also help out everyone out in the recruiting process, as much as we can.

With that said, this writing is certainly not to condemn smaller guards, it is not at all to try and tell them to quit or try something different, not by any means. This writing is a culmination of our years of experience helping smaller guard know how they can walk into any camp and stand out.

Camp season is rapidly upon us and this is the time frame that players use, that falls between travel ball and high school ball, to go out and get their names circulating around for exposure. Ultimately, we want you to stand out in front of scouts, stand out in front of coaches, and leave each camp and/or game played with your name written down with an asterisk.

Obviously our first suggestion is to choose your camp wisely, choose a camp that has a proven history of providing players exposure. However, we will not get off on that tangent as it is for another writing. In order to stand out for recruitment, a player must stand out from the crowd. A lot of times, athleticism or size will do this. The ability to score the ball or have game changing blocked shots are some skills that often turn heads. However, in a typical Phenom Hoops camp we host 200 or so prospects, half of which are 6’2” or less. While you cannot control your height, we want to provide some tools that you are absolutely able to control in order to help you get seen…

1. Be a Vocal Leader

Tradition tells us that in a perfect world, good things happen for the team when the point guard, the player with their hands on the ball the most, is the leader of the team. When we say “be vocal” this isn’t about talking trash or speaking just to be heard, we are talking about being an extension of the coach on the floor. Walk into camp and take immediate control of your team. Guide your players to the proper positions on the floor, be the first to run over and help up (and congratulate) a teammate as he goes to the floor, celebrate makes and defensive stops with your team. This is something that will stand out almost immediately. Coaches want guys they can trust, guys who they can leave around the team and know that no trouble will happen. Leaders are must, and that starts with your demeanor on the floor.


2. Defend with a Purpose
If there is one universal gripe about camp, it is that no defense is played. So do you want to stand out, play your butt off on defense. You really want to show out, defend your man for the entire length of the floor, staying in his face with tenacity. A little known fact about recruiting, no matter how many points you score, a college coach will ALWAYS ask, “where can he defend.” It is tried and true that even averaging 30+ points per game, for the most part a coach will not take you if they do not think you can defend in their league. Even if you are not quick of foot, showing the willingness to get out and play competitive defense will turn heads. Don’t hide.


3. Non-Stop Motor
Motor is somewhat a vague descriptor that really encompasses in a lot of things, rebounding, defending, diving for loose balls, etc…However, these are all effort plays that you can control and that will have you stick out head and shoulders above the others at the camp.


It should be noted that each of these things are tools that a person of any size could use in order to get noticed and it is not just relegated to smaller guards.

With that said, here is a story to illustrate our point in this article. Frankie Johnson is listed as a 5’9” point guard from Darlington, South Carolina. Ask anyone around the Pee Dee region and they will tell you they love how Frankie Johnson plays. Frankie walked into the 2015 South Carolina Top 80 event with no D1 or D2 offers. After his performance, we wrote,No player in camp consistently turned more heads than Frankie Johnson. A consummate point guard, Johnson made everyone on his team better, with his unquestioned leadership and excellent skill set.”

Now a sophomore at the Citadel, Frankie now ranks second in school history with 31 starts as a freshman. Frankie did exactly the things listed above and stood out at a high level exposure camp, among the best players in his state.

Even though there are numerous stories like this one that we can share from Phenom’s Exposure Camps, we feel like we have to put in the disclaimer that Frankie is a special talent, so not everyone can expect to show up to a Phenom Camp, get written about by our scouts and then go D1. But if you show up and are a vocal leader, who defends with a purpose and plays with a non-stop motor you will most certainly turn numerous heads.

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