The NCAA made it tough on travel ball programs this April. They made them make a decision which would greatly impact each of their player’s recruitment. Cutting the amount of recruiting days to only 3 in April and 4 in July, coaches of non-shoe sponsored teams were forced to choose between hundreds of events, for who would best put their specific players in a position to get seen and earn offers.
Phenom Hoops took place in Spartanburg, South Carolina at the state of the art Upward Center. The beautiful facility is as cozy as they come with unbelievable seating and viewing vantage points. Just like in years past, the event sold out with 190 teams, from seven different states, participating from 14u to 17u age groups. A little back story for why we chose Spartanburg is because that is where we have had this same event for the past couple of years. We did not want to go chasing the shoe companies to have an event in the same city as them, “15 minutes up the road” (can we make these quotations any bigger). But we have built our brand in Spartanburg and had a very loyal following of both teams and coaches who attended.
With the new recruiting calendar we did not know what to expect. We worked our tails off to get the teams to come, as did every event coordinator in the Southeast. With Nike holding the EYBL in Atlanta, there were at least four events going on there who were promising hundreds of coaches to make the trip “just 15 minutes up the road”. We had to give our pitch that the coaches would travel 2 hours up the road to watch.
Then, digging even more into the pool of teams, you had Under Armour who started the UA Rise, following suit of Adidas who had the Silver Gauntlet. To say getting teams and players and talent was competitive would be an incredibly large understatement.
Fortunately, we have built a trusted brand and we had to cut off our registration at 190 teams (we landed on 190 because we wanted to make sure that we were able to give every team ample exposure. Not only with the coaches sitting baseline, but with the coverage we provided. The pictures, the videos, the write-ups, etc…we wanted every team, top to bottom, to feel the personal touch and more than 190 would have taken away from that).
We had the teams, and the teams had tradition and very recruitable talent. Now we needed to get the coaches baseline. We were not sure what to expect, as this was the first time the summer recruiting periods had been cut to only 7 days of viewing for D1 coaches. In 2018, Phenom’s Challenge LIVE had over 250 college coaches sitting (and standing) baseline to watch the talent. Sure every one of our events lined the court with coaches, even the non-live events have D2s, D3s and Jucos present and very accounted for.
We had over 100 college coaches at Phenom’s Challenge LIVE. Not only did we have over 100 college coaches there, we had numerous Division 1 Head Coaches in the building, the decision makers, with scholarships in hand. It was incredibly refreshing to stand up on the balcony, with a Fudruckers burger in hand, and look down over the Upward Center to see college coaches on EVERY court, watching talent.
Staying true to the platform Phenom Hoops has built over the past 15 years, we get incredibly excited for players who have nothing, to leave with something. We were able to set the stage for some players to perform at high levels and kick start recruitments with their weekend, on this stage.
Let’s take a look at the players who came in with no offers, who now have offers from schools sitting baseline ….
6’5/2020 Jaden Scriven of Team Wall SE
Scriven had one of the most productive April’s around. It was a wonder why he didn’t have any offers to his name heading into the live period. However, that quickly changed after night 1, when Lees McRae came in and gave him offer number 1. Scriven had multiple D1s in to see him, however, he had prom for which he missed a game. Scriven is a tough-nosed wing who is skilled with strength, explosion, and a motor. He makes winning plays.
6’8/2020 Tyler Young of New Light Disciples
Young is a brute force on the floor. However, his ability to combine a nimbleness with sheer bulldozer strength is what makes him so productive. With no real recruitment coming into the event, Young averaged 20 and 13 en route to a UVA-Wise offer. After the event, he was fielding calls daily from coaches. Young was the event’s best rebounder, to go along with a great low block presence able to score with his back to the basket consistently.
6’5/2020 Ahmil Flowers of Greensboro Warriors
Flowers took the event by storm, turning the most heads and taking the biggest strides. Coming into the event, not many schools had been involved, he said Lynchburg was the latest to contact him. After his 31 point performance on Friday, Mars Hill offered … Then he continued to score bucket after bucket. Flowers now also carries offers from Western Carolina and Elon with countless schools getting involved daily.
6’2/2019 Phillip Burwell of WCBA Unsigned
Burwell is one of the best leaders out there. He led his Millbrook High School team to a 1 loss season and Top 10 finish in points per game average. He is a lockdown defender, very good passer and a vocal leader, making everyone better on the floor. Burwell picked up an Elizabeth City State offer almost immediately after the event. A surprise it took this long, but heck you can say that for every kid on this list.
6’8/2019 Dusan Djordjevic of WCBA Unsigned
Djordjevic, a Serbian native, had a productive high School year at Freedom Christian. The skilled big man, is strong and sees the floor very well, however, he didn’t have any offers, yet. Not only did he have an offer after the event, but he also committed to Union University as well,.
6’3/2019 Sean Jenkins of Upward Stars Upstate White
Jenkins came over from Ireland for his senior season, when he averaged 25 points per game at Spartanburg High School. The absolute sniper didn’t pick up any offers, despite the gaudy numbers. He played in front of numerous coaches every game here and now he has a Presbyterian offer (who was at all of his games in this event). Jenkins can really shoot the ball with great positional size
There you have it … Going into April Phenom Hoops had great uncertainty as to what would happen with the new rules and changes the NCAA mandated in the recruiting calendar. However, the teams showed up (like the always do), the coaches showed up (like the always do) and players received offers (which is no surprise when 1000s of prospects are given this type of platform).
Now on to July … Who knows what that live period will hold — but we have a pretty good idea!!