Sixteen Must-See Spring Events In 2016
March 1 2016
It’s that time again! Another spring season is approaching and our team at ThePrepInsiders.com is recharged! We’re ready to once again hit the road and provide exclusive coverage of the nation’s most elite emerging hoops talent.
In today’s environment, the grassroots circuit is littered with events, and it’s often difficult to truly know where to go in order to catch the greatest concentration of talent on one stage.
There may be a few deserving events that did not make this list, but this is a quality sampling of tournaments and camps that have proven to be a destination for the nation’s top youth players and teams.
So in honor of 2016, here are 16 events (listed in ascending order by date) for Spring 2016, that you will not want to miss…
M.A.D.E. Hoops Lea8ue Finals (March 5-6, 2016) – King Of Prussia, PA
We’re cheating a bit on this one, as the first day of spring 2016 based on the calendar isn’t until March 20th, but Chad Babel’s MADE Hoops operation broke onto the national scene in late 2014 and immediately emerged as a credible event host for youth hoops. Nike support aside, the organization’s creativity and structure were needed in youth hoops, and have been well-received on the circuit. One of the early staples of MADE Hoops’ events, the ‘Lea8ue’ offers quality over quantity, with a select group of elite teams from throughout the East Coast competing against each other in a round-robin, circuit-like setting, similar to the high school grassroots circuit scene. The 2nd annual championships will undoubtedly come to an exciting conclusion in March 2016.
Buckeye Prep Elite Spring Showcase (March 12, 2016) – Whitehall, OH
If you follow the youth hoops scene in the slightest, then you are likely familiar with Rob Taylor and Buckeye Prep Report. The long-time scout and event director annually hosts the Elite Spring Showcase and it has become one of the most well-attended events in the Midwest by both players and media alike. Expect a jam-packed schedule for the one day camp, with a range of talent, from national names to unknowns competing on the same floor. The Buckeye Prep Elite Spring Showcase is always a great early indicator of the names you will read more about during the NCAA live periods throughout the spring and summer months.
Premier Youth Basketball League (March 12-13, 2016) - Bethesda, MD
The P.Y.B.L. has carved out quite a reputation for itself within the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia corridor. A lot of roster shifting takes place on the grassroots circuit, but the PYBL is a place for regional youth talent to shine, while representing their true geographic hometown or home district. Name an elite high school talent or collegiate recruit from the DMV during the past several years, and the odds are, he has taken the floor at the PYBL. The 2016 PYBL Championship weekend will also include showcase games to put the region’s best on the court together.
New England Jr. Elite 75 Showcase (March 13, 2016) - Mansfield, MA
The Jr. Elite 75 Showcase has become the destination for up and coming New England prospects to put their talent on display in recent years. Dozens of now college and NBA players have emerged on the national radar by utilizing the New England Junior Elite 75 Showcase as their launching pad. The HoopRootz/NERR partnership has surely been a very beneficial one for players and teams in New England. For the last several years, more focus and respect has been given to prospects in this corridor, in large part thanks to the events and coverage that this group provides. The same event that once showcased current NBA big man Andre Drummond as an eighth grader is primed to host another talent-rich roster in 2016.
Hot 100 Middle School Showcase (March 19-20, 2016) - Knightdale, NC
The ‘Get Me Recruited’ staff has put together a quality event for the Southeast United States in the form of the Hot 100 Middle School Showcase. Youth talent from across the region is expected to gather in the Carolinas for a weekend of competition and exposure. Nearly every major region of North Carolina can currently lay claim to an NBA All-Star, with Stephen Curry (Charlotte, NC), Chris Paul (Winston-Salem, NC), and John Wall (Raleigh, NC) emerging in recent years. The Hot 100 Middle School Showcase is a great place to start the search for the next emerging prospect within the state and beyond.
Atlantic City Showcase (March 26-27, 2016) - Atlantic City, NJ
For nearly a decade, Mike Melton has piloted the ‘Basketball Spotlight’ tournament series, attracting the best youth talent from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Blending local and national talent, the Atlantic City Showcase has become one of the crown jewels on the circuit, and provides a great opportunity to see the next wave of talent from the Jersey Shore. There’s always at least one rivalry match-up during this weekend that accentuates the stereotypical grittiness of the region; and everybody in attendance loves it.
A-Game Super Shootout (April 2-3, 2016) – Manheim, PA
Read this out loud. 300 teams. 30 courts. 1 facility. What? The A-Game Super Shootout is one the largest grassroots hoops events in North America and is either bliss or chaos depending on how you feel about it. A chance to observe and evaluate to nearly 3,000 players in a single weekend is nearly impossible, but for the teams that emerge victorious, they certainly earn it and have a story to share afterward. It’s a spectacle as far as the youth circuit is concerned and a tournament worth attending if you want to know how your squad stacks up against an array of competition.
Jr. Showcase Circuit (April 9-10, 2016) - Toronto, Ont., Canada
Get your passport(s) ready. The North Pole Hoops Jr. Showcase circuit is aiming to put Canada’s next crop of talent on display and could be a preview of the country’s upcoming 2017 u16 National Team. In past years, Canadian prospects have flocked to the United States, hoping for greater exposure and the chance to earn coveted NCAA scholarships. Imagine if NPH were to grow this event series to the point it attracts players from the United States to travel north of the border for instruction, competition, and exposure. It’s an idea that is not out of the question.
WCE25 Championships (April 9-10, 2016) - Anaheim, CA
The partnership between West Coast Elite 25 Basketball and Open Gym Premier has exploded on the West Coast within a relatively short period of time. The WCE25 event series includes both individual camps and team tournaments but Championship weekend in April is expected to be where bragging rights are placed on the line. Qualifying youth teams from the various WCE25 stops will have earned their spot to travel to Southern California and compete to claim the title as best in the West.
Proving Ground Finals (April 16-17, 2016) - Staten Island, NY
Elevate Hoops –not that Elevate, the real Elevate Hoops– recently debuted the ‘Proving Ground’ circuit in conjunction with Under Armour and all signs point the successful creation of another tournament series. Elite players and teams from up and down the East Coast will compete on four spring weekends with the Proving Ground Finals wrapping up in the Big Apple. Adding to the excitement is the fact that this particular weekend will be the first NCAA live period of 2016. Nike’s EYBL, the Under Armour Association, as well as Jordan Brand Classic are all slated to be in New York City at this time as well. Start getting familiar with the public transit system now.
King James Shooting Stars Classic (April 23-24, 2016) - Akron, OH
There will be an interesting storyline associated with the King James event in 2016. The Nike-backed organization announced in late 2015 that they would no longer sponsor youth teams due to fact LeBron James Jr. is set to enter the middle school circuit in coming months. The decision –this time a bit less ballyhooed– forced the King James Shooting Stars youth teams to turn back to its pre-LeBron era ‘NEO’ (Northeast Ohio) name. Meanwhile, the KJSS Classic tournament has drawn the majority of Midwest’s most competitive programs to the Akron, Ohio area for the better part of a decade. While the rest of the country is following the action from the sneaker wars circuit during the second NCAA live period of the spring, this is a quality alternative that always allows for a ‘big find’, regardless of whether you are searching for individual or team talent.
International Middle School Combine (May 7-8, 2016) – Houston, TX
You have to appreciate the fact that John Lucas splits his time teaching and instructing players from the NBA all the way down to those as young as fifth grade. Coach Lucas has helped to bring true legitimacy to youth hoops, serving as an advocate while teaching players, parents, coaches, and media alike that every step in the development process has its own important role. For elite middle schoolers, the annual International Middle School Combine has become a step that cannot be skipped, providing an opportunity for valuable face time and coaching from John Lucas and staff.
N.Y.B.L. Championships (May 21-22, 2016) – Atlanta, GA
The National Youth Basketball League may not have been the first to create the concept of a middle school circuit but the organization was indeed the first to perfect it. As far as tournament series’ go, the NYBL has been the measuring stick during its first three seasons, and it may be raising the bar again. Now, with backing from adidas, the 2016 version of the NYBL will again host a multi-stop series of events leading up to the NYBL Championships. As always, expect a number of national names to impress, and new faces to emerge throughout the NYBL season.
NOLA Super60 (May 28-30, 2016) – New Orleans, LA
There are quite literally hundreds of youth basketball tournaments taking place around the country during the Memorial Weekend holiday, but the NOLA Super60 has the distinction of being one of the only destination events in youth hoops, and has become a mainstay on the circuit. Due to its location and distinctive feel, most teams would tell you to make the trip to the Super60 at least once. Win out, and your team will advance to the six-court Alario Center, the former practice facility of the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans). Lose, and end up competing for a consolation championship, inside one of the city’s many historic gyms. A Cajun brass brand and Jambalaya rice are among the many perks of an exciting extended weekend of elite youth hoops in the Bayou. This is what is meant by an experience as opposed to an event.
Zero Gravity National Finals (June 11-12, 2016) - Boston, MA
Another competitive tournament series that culminates with a weekend championship event, the Zero Gravity National Finals attract the top teams in New England and the Northeast region. Expect an abundance of individual talent to attend, as the next class of emerging prospects set to ascend on one of the nation’s most competitive high school leagues, the NEPSAC, are likely to first make an appearance on this stage. As one of the final events on the spring calendar, the Zero Gravity National Finals are an excellent preview of what’s to come on the grassroots hoops scene during the month July.
Coca-Cola National Invitational (June 18-19, 2016) – Anaheim, CA
As one the longest-standing youth programs on the West Coast, the Southern California A.C.E.S. Basketball Academy, also hosts one of the longest-running youth tournaments in the Coca-Cola National Invitational. Attracting teams from across the West Coast, the Coca-Cola Nationals are an excellent setting to preview the talent the western half of the country has to offer. The venue and location provide an exciting event environment and an ideal way to close out the spring on the youth hoops circuit.
Well, that’s our list, but what about yours? If you are interested in ThePrepInsiders.com providing coverage, recaps, scouting reports, rankings, and more from your event, please email us, using firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team hopes to see you on the youth hoops circuit! Safe travels!