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What are the live recruiting periods? A 2021 event primer

06/16/2021, 12:15am EDT
By Matthew Ryan + Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) &
Matthew Ryan (@matthewryan02)

It’s been nearly two years since Division I coaches have been able to roam the country to attend their choice of NCAA-certified high school and travel team events, the all-important ‘live periods’ that make up a major part of the annual recruiting cycle. 

The former live period cycle got a shake-up in 2019, when the NCAA added two June weekends for high school competition, taking away one of what had been three five-day July periods and shortening the other two to three days. But the COVID pandemic cost high schoolers and college coaches across the country the entire 2020 recruiting cycle, so the NCAA is going with five weekends this summer: two in June, three in July. During those five weekends, massive events will take place around the country, where college coaches can evaluate in-person for the first time in more than a year.

The first two weekends of the 2021 live recruiting periods, in June, are both for high school programs; July is reserved for travel teams, shoe company circuits, and mega-camps around the nation. Here are a list of notable regional (and a couple national) events taking place this summer, in chronological order:

Justin Moore (above) and Archbishop Wood are one of the hosts of Philly Live I & II. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Philly Live I
When: June 18-20
Where: St. Joseph’s Prep; Philadelphia, Pa.
Who: Around 90 high school programs from the Delaware Valley and beyond

A joint effort between Imhotep head coach Andre Noble and Archbishop Wood head coach John Mosco, the first-ever Philly Live took place in 2019 to rave reviews, emerging as one of the best high school showcase events on the East Coast. This year’s event — open only to coaches, players, and media — will take place at St. Joe’s Prep, with four courts going for three days straight. While there’s a heavy presence from Philadelphia and the surrounding area, Philly Live also has schools from as far away as Florida and Colorado, as well as schools from Delaware, Ohio, Connecticut and New York. 

Mid-Atlantic Independent School Shootout I
When: June 18-20
Where: Hun School; Princeton, N.J.
Who: A couple dozen regional private schools

Up in Princeton, some of the best private schools in Pa. and N.J. will come together for their own showcase. Local schools such as Westtown, Germantown Academy, Penn Charter, Perkiomen and more will be in attendance, with most of the Friends’ Schools League and Inter-Ac League in attendance along with selected prep schools. The three-day, 26-team event has two courts in operation all weekend, with the first set tipping off at noon on Friday.

Philly Live II
When: June 25-27
Where: St. Joseph’s Prep; Philadelphia Pa.
Who: Around 90 high school programs from the Delaware Valley and beyond

The continuation of Philly Live I, the second weekend at St. Joe’s Prep features many of the same teams from the first weekend, but also welcomes a good handful of new programs to the four courts at St. Joe’s Prep as well. The talent level will be equally high, and for the second weekend in a row expect a couple hundred coaches at all levels to flock to 17th and Girard. Once again it’ll be a semi-national affair, with teams coming in from the tri-state area plus Florida, West Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Virginia.

Mid-Atlantic Independent School Shootout II
When: June 25-27
Where: Blair Academy; Blairstown, N.J.
Who: Several dozen private schools from Pa., N.J., Va. and N.Y.

The second half of the Mid-Atlantic Ind. School showcase brings all the same schools from the first weekend to Blair Academy, located in North Jersey. Once again, most of the FSL and Inter-Ac will make the trip across the river to be joined by some of the top private schools in the Garden State, including Patrick School, Hun, Blair, Pennington and Peddie. But unlike the first weekend, this time they’ll be joined by the likes of Our Savior Lutheran (N.Y.), Virginia Episcopal (Va.), Albany Academy (N.Y.) and a few more. 

Hoop Group Atlantic City Jam Fest
When: July 7-9
Where: Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, N.J.
Who: Hoop Group Showcase League programs and other independent travel teams

The Hoop Group Atlantic City Jam Fest will have Hoop Group Showcase League (HGSL) teams along with other independent travel programs from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Some local programs such as NJ Shoreshots, SJ Hoops Elite, Philly Pride Gold, Team Final Red, and more will be in attendance. 

Hoop Group Summer Jam Fest
When: July 10-11
Where: Spooky Nook Sports; Manheim, Pa.
Who: Hoop Group Showcase League programs and other independent travel teams

Once the AC Jam Fest wraps up, most of those teams will hit the road and travel a few hours west to the central part of Pa., where they’ll set up shop at the massive Spooky Nook Sports complex. There, over the course of two days and the Nook’s 30 courts, they’ll battle it out for another title. 

Nike EYBL Regular Season
When: July 13-19
Where: Riverview Park Activities Center, North Augusta, S.C.
Who: Nike EYBL programs

The Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) season is typically three stops long and comprises 40 teams, who battle it out in April and May for a bid in July’s Peach Jam. This year’s going to be a little different, with 36 17U teams (as well as 16s and 15s) coming down to North Augusta for an elongated stay, with a six-day ‘regular season’ event helping determine the 24 bids for the EYBL championship. Only the weekend portion of the event (July 16-18) will be live, but the action should be intense and high-level all week long, with every program in the Nike circuit stuffed with high-major recruits.

Hoop Group Spooky Nook Jam Fest
When: July 16-18
Where: Spooky Nook Sports, Manheim, Pa.
Who: Hoop Group Showcase League programs and other independent travel teams

The culmination of all the Jam Fests thus far, the Spooky Nook Jam Fest will be Hoop Group’s biggest of the summer, as it determines the champion of their HGSL, which includes the Shoreshots, Philly Pride Gold and other independent (non-shoe-sponsored) programs from the Northeast and beyond. These programs have been accumulating points at various events from April through July, but this will determine the overall champion through its main bracket.

Nike EYBL Finals
When: July 20-25
Where: Riverview Park Activities Center, North Augusta, S.C.
Who: 20 of the top EYBL teams and four showcase teams

The EYBL Finals, better known as Peach Jam, is six days long, with the final three days falling in the live period, comprising what should be the most competitive few days of hoops all summer. The top 24 teams on the Nike circuit make up some of the most talented travel programs in the country, but all eyes this year are going to be on Philly’s own Team Final. Rob Brown’s group features the top two players in the country in Jalen Duren (Montverde Ac., Fla.) and Emoni Bates (Ypsi Prep, Mich.) alongside UConn commit Corey Floyd, Duren’s Montverde teammate Justice Williams, the Westtown duo of Dereck Lively II and Jameel Brown, and more. But they’ll face significant challenges from the likes of Team Takeover, the Albany City Rocks, NY Renaissance and more.

Hoop Group Jersey Shore Jam Fest
When: July 23-25
Where: Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, N.J.
Who: HGSL teams and other assorted travel teams

The final Hoop Group tournament of the year goes back to Atlantic City, and even though the HGSL season is over, this should still be a strong tournament. Before 2019, the third and final week of the July live periods saw teams that were exhausted from playing three straight weeks of hoops, but this is a different year, with everybody desperate for college coaches’ attention and more games. If this tournament draws some of the non-Peach Jam squads and other shoe company teams that want to stay closer to home as the hoops summer draws to an end, this could be one of the better HG fields all summer.

UAA Finals
When: July 23-25
Where: Pacers Athletic Center, Westfield, Indiana
Who: Under Armour Association programs

The Under Armour Association, UA’s counterpart to the EYBL, comprises 26 programs in its 17U bracket this year, including a couple local entries in Philly Pride and WeR1. The UAA will have its first stop July 8-11 in Georgia and then July 16-18 in Texas before going to the Pacers Athletic Center in the Hoosier state for its three-day championships to culminate the summer. Both Pride and WeR1 are hoping to make some noise in the UAA: Pride features a big frontcourt in Conestoga’s 6-10 Michael Walz and Lower Merion’s 6-9 Demetrius Lilley, while WeR1 is guard-heavy including Academy New Church 2023 Elmarko Jackson and St. John’s (D.C.) guard Shane Lancaster.

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