Monday, August 3, 2009

Duke now running an Elite Camp

Since he took over the head coaching position at Duke, Coach K has run one of the most storied programs in college basketball. Durham is no stranger to ACC titles, Final Fours, national titles, or lottery picks.

But in the last eight years, Duke basketball has fallen off. Whether it is due to the lack of post season success, the small number of Duke alumni that turn into pro stars, or the stringent academic requirements, Duke is no longer landing the upper echelon recruits.

In the last few years, John Wall, Kenny Boynton, Patrick Patterson, and Greg Monroe all flirted heavily with the Blue Devils before heading elsewhere.

That may be about to change.

From August 22nd-23rd, Duke will be hosting their first ever elite camp. For those that don't know, an elite camp is essentially a summer camp for the top 20-30 prospects that a school is recruiting. On the surface, it looks like a tricky, but clean, way for a coach to get some of prospects on campus and start to build a relationship with them.

Dig a little bit and things get much murkier. The long and short of it is that all too often a college coach will pay a recruits AAU coach, high school coach, family member, por any confidant a "fee" to be a speaker or counselor at the elite camp. In return, the coach is guaranteed to have to recruit be on campus.

And this is all legal. But some coaches (like Minnesota's Tubby Smith) have recognized how seedy this practice is and no longer participate in it.

Which should make it all the more interesting that Coach K will be holding an elite camp. Along with a great reputation in academia and basketball, Duke has also had a sterling recruiting record under Coach K. While elite camps are considered legal in the eyes of the NCAA, the implications of indirectly paying a recruit to visit your campus has made some skeptical about elite camps.

Is Duke basketball in such dire straits that they have to resort to such tactics? The Charlotte Observer says it best:

Another gray area? Sure. But perhaps a way to seal the deal with top prospects, something Duke must do more consistently to stay "elite."
It should tell you something about the state of our beloved game that Duke, which is probably the most prestigious academic institution competing at such a high major level, has to bend the rules to attract the best of the best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry but you have tainted the truth. Duke will not be having any AAU coaches speak or help at the camp. Therefore there will be no indirect paying of players. The player invited will pay the fee. Others who want to attend will pay the fee. End of story.