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NCAA allowing college coaches to watch USA Basketball U19 Trials


Washingtons Markelle Fultz, USA Basketball

The NCAA is making a unique change to the summer recruiting landscape this year as’s Evan Daniels reported that college coaches will be allowed to evaluate the USA Basketball U19 trials this summer.

This will be the only off-campus summer event not during the evaluation periods that the NCAA will allow Division I college coaches to attend.

The trials begin on June 18th. The USA U19 team is narrowed down on the 20th and the team practices until June 25th. The FIBA U19 World Cup is played in Cairo, Egypt this summer from July 1-9.

With the NCAA allowing college coaches to watch these practices, now the college coaches who work with the U19 team won’t have as much of a special recruiting advantage.

This year’s U19 head coach happens to be one of the best recruiters of all-time in Kentucky head coach John Calipari -- so you might think the timing of this new ruling is a bit odd.

But this ruling also comes on the heels of Texas head coach Shaka Smart landing prized recruits Matt Coleman and Mohamed Bamba as Class of 2017 prospects after coaching the duo last summer with the USA Basketball U18 FIBA Americas team. Smart had the advantage of not only coaching Bamba and Coleman during the event, but he was one of the only college coaches allowed with the duo for extended training camps in Colorado Springs and Houston before the event last summer.

Others around college basketball have also linked USA Basketball to Coach K and Duke when it comes to special recruiting advantages -- even though Coach K works with mostly NBA players on the senior men’s level.

This new rule from the NCAA limits the perceived special time advantage during training camps that USA Basketball coaches like Calipari,Smart -- and their college coach assistants -- may get.

Since these tryouts are usually littered with the best of the best players in the country, it is easy to see why coaches would want to be around for this type of event.

From an evaluation standpoint for college coaches, this event will also be a great chance to see prospects in one of the most competitive and structured high school events that they can play in.

It could be valuable for some elite programs to see who is truly separating themselves among their peers. Since this is a U19 tryout, this event will also have a lot of college players who can be watched by their college coaches for some valuable offseason perspective.

It’ll be interesting to see how this changes recruiting in the future with regards to special events in the summer, but this is a smart short-term move by the NCAA.