Pro Basketball Exposure Camps, Combines & Showcases: What You Need To Know

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If you attend a big school (read: NCAA Division 1), professional clubs will seek you out because of where you played. For the rest of us — NCAA 2 & 3, junior colleges, NAIA, no college basketball experience — creating a career in professional basketball ain’t easy.

A pro or overseas basketball exposure camp can help immensely. You can measure you game against other pros and would-be pros. You can get yourself seen and known by decision makers. And with the right performance at the right time, you may even get the contract you want!

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Notice I said “creating” a career, not “getting.” You will have to take proactive steps, yourself, to make shit happen. I addressed this in detail here a while back; what you’re reading now addresses the “Show Your game” and “Network” directives – Pro Exposure Camps and Combines. I have been to at least 10 over the last 8 years — I’d estimate that 4 or 5 were worth it — and I hope some of you can learn from my experiences and save yourself a lot of time, money and headaches.

Three Things You Can Gain From A Basketball Exposure Camp.

Yes, attending a camp, especially in a place you otherwise wouldn’t have been, can be a great experience. You’ll meet other players and people, and take lots of pictures. Speaking strictly form a business standpoint — this is a business, you will find out — there are three clear objectives:

1) Signing a contract to play for a team; you know by the time you leave the camp that you’ll be playing for a certain club when the time comes, and it’s on paper.

2) Making contact with an agent or team manager or player, that can get you closer to #1.

3) Having video/ scouting report from the camp that can get you closer to #1 and/or #2. Otherwise, why go?

Do Your Research And Shop Around.

Basketball exposure camps cost money — most charge anywhere from US $150-500 for the camp fee alone, aside from your travel, lodging and food costs (some will include — maybe partially — such things).

Thusly, know exactly what you’re getting when you spend your money. You are making an investment in your potential career with money you worked hard for — accept no bullshit. These camps are not doing you a favor by having you attend. Let me repeat this very important point:

THESE CAMPS ARE NOT DOING YOU A FAVOR BY HAVING YOU ATTEND.

Pro basketball exposure camp are money-making enterprises for the organizers. Don’t let them fool you. Every player who signs up and shows up is profit for them. You’re an at least competent player when sharing the floor with pros? The basketball exposure camps want you there.

If you sense a camp isn’t all it seems, move on to the next one. If a camp couldn’t take the time to create a professional – looking website, why would they take time to worry about your situation, after they’ve got your money? They won’t. I’ve learned this the hard way so you don’t have to. 

Nowadays there are hundreds of camps every summer — here’s one resource — you don’t have to fall over yourself to try getting into any one in particular. If a certain camp has a lot of guys that got signed before, those same guys may be there again, getting minutes, shots, and attention from the decision makers.

I know what your pride is telling you as a response to that sentence – you want to compete with those guys and prove you are just as good, right? Nothing wrong with that. Just know that the more you are being paid attention to, the better your chances. Choose wisely.

Reach Out To Last Year’s Participants.

On a basketball exposure camp’s website or Facebook page, there will usually be a list of players from the previous year who did well there or signed contracts. Reach out to those guys — everyone is on Facebook. There’s Twitter, email… hell, just Google people.

Ask them about the camp – how it was, did the camp deliver everything it claimed? Would you go again? Worst-case scenario, you get no response. Best-case, you get useful, unfiltered, from-the-source information from someone who lived it. Talk to a few and you’ll get a good idea of what you’re getting into.

Contact The People In Charge.

Like I said, a basketball exposure camp is a business for the people running them – businesses, to stay profitable, better show respect to their customers (you).

If a basketball exposure camp organizer won’t return your email or call in a timely fashion (or throws out an “I’m so busy” excuse), that’s a red flag. If an organizer gets annoyed with you for asking too many questions, is evasive with information/ details, or seems to just be telling you what you want to hear to get you to shut up and pay your non-refundable entry fee — red flags.

Organizers should be willing and able to answer every question, even offering to speak with you via telephone/ Skype, etc. if you’re trying to give them your money. Don’t buy any “busy” excuses — if a person puts a camp together, yes, they’re busy — figuring ways to maximize profit on their business venture.

I attended a camp of an agent that, at the time, had a stable of around 60 players, 85% of them signed and playing (this is the kind of camp that, in hindsight, I wouldn’t have attended — I wasn’t a client of his and his camp was designed to showcase his players. But that’s not my point here). I showed interest in his camp, and he took every measure to make sure I got there and was situated properly — even getting on the phone with me to discuss details, and meeting me at my hotel the night before the camp to introduce himself.

Another camp I attended, the organizer picked everyone up from the airport himself, in his car.  You should expect the same.

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All That Glitters Ain’t Gold.

A common ploy camps use in advertising is claiming that a certain number or percentage of previous attendants signed contracts. I won’t even go as far as advising you to avoid such camps — there wouldn’t be much left if you did — but if a camp makes such a claim, it should be displaying names, photos and ‘team signed with’ out there next to their claims.

Sometimes a player attends a camp and later signs with a pro team, but the signing had nothing to do with their attendance/ performance at said camp. The camp, however, will use that players’ signing as credibility for their camp. There is a simple way to at least try to get to the bottom if this — when you contact some of the players, ask them if the camp directly related to their signing.

Pro Basketball Exposure Camps
A response from the owner of a company whose camp I attended in 2005.

Tilt The Odds In Your Favor.

The fewer players attending the camp you attend, the more attention your abilities will get.

The coaches and scouts that attend camps to find talent are human. They have two eyes, and can only take in so much action at one time. I wouldn’t remember much about each of 150 individual players from watching them over two days — I may just fixate on the 6′-10″ big man or the guard who made his first two shots when I walked into the gym.

Most camps these days will advertise that all games are on film for talent evaluators to review. But think about it: The purpose of going to a camp is to be seen, and possibly be approached by, a person who can change your future. If a team is looking to sign a player, a person with the power to do so will be present at your camp, looking. If a team is going to sign you off of a video they watched, you can do that from home and save your money.

A camp shouldn’t have more than 8 players per team for full court games. If you get placed on a team where you won’t be able to play your position, see what can be done to get you on a different team. Find camps which have scheduled sessions on-court aside from full court games — practices, drills, group/ position-specific workouts, etc. This is the best way for any player to get comfortable and display his strengths.

Get The Video.

By the time of this writing (updated Fall 2016), this should go without saying, but a lot of camps are still not getting this essential point right.

Any camp that doesn’t offer video to participants, to take with you on the spot (can be a DVD, media file emailed to you, video transferred to a USB cable of yours — have one available), is worthless. Get your video while you’re there.

If the camp doesn’t make it clear that you can get video before you leave — red flag. Ask around, and ask the camps about the video — almost every camp will make the claim, and many will not come through as promised.

Where Are The Decision Makers? 

All camps will use the attendance of pro coaches/ managers/ scouts/ agents to lure you in, and they will try to have as many as possible there. So, that camp should have names, titles and photos of the decision makers coming, before you sign up.

This way they can’t lie later on (screen-capture what they post), and you can cross-reference what you see when you get there,  with what the camp advertised. If a camp is evasive about specifics on who’s coming to the camp, there’s a 98.4% chance they are overselling themselves to get your money — probably the most oft-used selling tool for professional basketball combines. Red flag.

Pro Basketball Exposure CampsGo Abroad If You Can.

I’m an American basketball player, and any other American reading this that’s been to a few camps can attest: American players play very selfishly at exposure camps.

One or two guys make a couple shots early, and never stop shooting. I’ve been to all types if camps — league-run, agent-run, company-run — it’s the same wherever you go. Players from other countries don’t play with the same ‘get-yours’ mentality that we have.

With foreign-born players, you’ll see passing, screen-setting, and making the extra pass. This is normal stuff to them. Foreign coaches expect the same, and frown on selfish play.

You have a better chance of getting good, clean offensive opportunities (willing passers, plays being run, playing on a team with legit ‘big men’)  in a European camp.

Many American combines cut corners (and costs) when it comes to coaching. They bring in some local guys, or people from their organizations, to coach a team (or a coach who is trying to get a job, just like you — they spend more time trying to prove themselves than making sure every player’s abilities are maximized). Most of them aren’t coaches by trade. Many of them — from my experience — run things more like fans than coaches.
The European camps I’ve been to bring in real-life professional basketball coaches, who actually coach the teams you want to sign and play for. This is the way it should be done.  Imagine a coach in Country X watching your film from some American camp in which there are no plays being run, no defense, everyone is a guard, and everyone is trying to score 30 points — you’re scoring a bunch of points. What is it worth?

Be Wary Of Roll-The-Ball-Out Camps.

This refers to camps at which all you do is play games right off the bat — no drills, no practices.

I warn you to be wary because you never know what the situation will be. You may be a guard forced to play power forward, a point guard that never gets to handle the ball. At least with camps that have scheduled drill and practice sessions, you can get loose, display your strengths, and let the decision makers & coaches get familiar with you.

A 6’7″ point guard who attends a roll-the-ball-out camp may find himself playing center  if there’s no practice/ workout session for him to establish his position and what he can do.

And that would suck.

Step Back And Take A Deep Breath. 

Some players will have agents that cover the costs for them to attend camps, covering the player’s travel expenses as you try to get your career off the ground. Personally, I have never been in that situation — I’ve spent my own money to get where I went. Sometimes it was money I earned while thinking about how great it would be to earn money from basketball, instead of (fill in full-time/ 9-to-5 job I really didn’t want to be at).

If you’re looking for a camp to attend, that means you’re a serious player who is passionate about wanting to make a living from this game. So when you’re deciding on a basketball exposure camp, detach yourself from your emotions and make a rational, measured decision.

If you were watching another person whom you didn’t know, that’s about to do what you’re about to do, what would you think? Is this person being smart? Is she only thinking about the greatest possible outcome, ignoring all the possible pitfalls and obvious holes in her plan? Take a moment, an entire day if you can, to clear your head and think hard about what you’re investing in before pulling the trigger.

Emotions are bad decision-makers.

At Camp: Communicate With The Coaches.

Let your coaches know what position you play and/or if you’re willing to play a different position due to team personnel. Speak up if you aren’t playing enough — you paid for the chance to be seen!

From my experience, about half the coaches at camps are very clear and upfront about playing time and how things will be done, and they stick to it. The other half “coach to win,” and leave players on the bench. Know who you’re dealing with and get what you paid for.

Before you know it the camp will be over. Speak up for yourself.

On The Court: Stay In Your Lane. 

If you don’t shoot threes, you don’t have to shoot a three just because the ball finds you behind the arc. It is very easy to see when a player is trying to do more than they’re capable of, and it makes that player look bad.

It only takes one dumb decision to kill your chances for that particular audience.

At one camp I attended, I violated this rule by forcing up a bad – and badly missed – shot. I knew, the very moment after that shot, I wouldn’t be getting a call from anyone in that gym.

For Your Career: Who You Know Will Get You In The Door. What You Can Do Will Keep You In The Building.

When you do sign a contract, congratulations! Now you have to earn it and keep it.
I know of too many players who played in one place, whose careers ended with that season. Sometimes those players’ careers ended before the season did.

Pro Basketball Exposure Camps
Overseas contracts aren’t like the NBA; they’re more like the NFL. Meaning, a team can cut you at any moment, for any reason, and owes you nothing.
Bad game? Consecutive sluggish days of training (practice)? You could be gone just as soon as you got there.
I know players who got released from contracts after just one game with their new team. I know players who were released before even playing in a game — you are being evaluated in practice.
So be prepared for the long haul — we’re talking about a career here.

[offer-box href=”/blueprint” linktext=”Get The Overseas Basketball Blueprint Book Now” securecheckout=”true”]

[reminder comment=”Questions about anything I haven’t covered here? Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to address it! “]

64 Comments

  1. an older person looking show some younger player be shown that opportunity more information and how can I legal do this for some player think it over after high school. I m 65 years retired veteran looking to help you find that player
    Thanks for review this

  2. Good morning,

    Bayi Handy here from The Handy Agency based in Australia. Last year we produced one of the best exposure camps in Orlando and we wish to improve this event on the marketing side of things. I was wondering if you could share our event on your social media platform.

    http://www.signingdayshootout.com

    • Hi Bayi, I would review your camp objectively for my Game Group Membership, but there’s not much info on your page such as —
      -- Who’s running the event
      -- Who your agency is and whom you represent
      -- What coaches/scouts etc will be in attendance
      -- What players have you worked with in the past and their pro success
      -- Who Your agency currently represents and where they’re playing

      If I were a player, your event wouldn’t offer enough information for me to seriously consider it. Therefore I would not recommend it, as is, to any player who asked.
      If and when you update the information, I’d be happy to take a look at it.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hey Dre, i did a combine and ehh, but now I have an opportunity (as a female player) to play in a wbcbl development league (I’d have to move to a different state for about 6 months) after being out due to injury. No pay,but insurance will be offered and assistance with film and finding an agent/ contract overseas. They’ve written this down, but it’s not as professional (like a contract) as I’d like. Should I tell them or create my own draft for them to sign? Appreciate the input.

  4. do you gotta attend college for a camp hows it work any located in the us

  5. Hey Dre i want it to ask you a bout is there a link site to any summer camp combine tryouts in Europe. I agree with you a bout the selfishly that be with the american basketball players. Some European camps names would be good. I will have to go to Europe for them tryouts right.

    • You’ll need to look them up as you’re the player. Here I share what I know about them and you can use this info to compare what’s out there. Good luck.

  6. Do domestic players get paid more than imports? I know of someone w/ dual citizen ship that might be considered as domestic and I could never find an answer! Thanks!

    • There is no one answer to that question; every team pays what they wish and every player gets paid what he accepts in his contract.

  7. So the winning ways is not legit? I was set to atend one here in Orlando

    • Define “legit”. I never said they weren’t, and I went to the camp myself which started my own career. If you’re looking for a guarantee you won’t get one at any camp — all based on your performance.

  8. You know any specific exposure camps that can be attended in Europe in 2015? I’m going to Russia to attend college and just finished high school with MVP and MIP honours for senior basketball but didn’t receive any scholarship offers and am trying to find a pro team to play or at least try out for in Europe. I read all your articles about how to find camps and get exposure for yourself etc. but I’m just wondering if you know any specific camps that I could look up in any part of Europe from Turkey to England I would greatly appreciate it man. Keep up the great work your the only person I found online that provides such detailed articles and advice wish you all the best.

  9. Hello Dre, My daughter, who is due to graduate from a DIII college in May, recently received a letter from a professional sports management/ recruiter. I’m assuming it”s a reputable establishment as I saw it listed on your website as one of the combines to consider attending. Myself as well as my 3 daughter’s are no stranger”s to knowing what it takes to develope into a strong contender in the game of basketball. The training, sacrifices, and financial commitment it takes, not to mention dedication. I as well as my daughter feel this can be a great opportunity for her as she wants to continue playing basketball. Your website is very informative and I commend you for your honesty and realistic advice! My question is simple, would you suggest attending more than one “combine”, and if so, should we spread them out? One in the beginning and one towards the end? I also have some concern in regards to safety abroad. There is so much unrest in the world today, but we understand we can’t allow that to stand in the way of opportunity. Would you be able to speak on this topic? Again, thank you for the tremendous amount of ” free” information, and thought provoking advice you provide to all. It is so clear when someone obviously loves the game of basketball!

    Regards,
    Bo Burgess

    • Hi Bo and thank you.
      If you play well at one combine, that may be all you need. So it would be hard to say until you’ve been to one to see how you did. I don’t think spreading out combines is any different from going to them closer together. The only objective is to be seen and get your name & game known.
      As for your safety concerns — crossing the street or driving a car have their dangers too. There’s unrest in the USA. She’ll have to decide (if she is the one who’s concerned, it sounds like you are the one -- but you’re not the one going!) if she wants to play ball or feel “safe” (which isn’t really safe at all) not playing. Pick one.

  10. Is the Las Vegas combine at the Tarkanian Basketball gym a legit combine/camp to attend

  11. This was extreemly helpfu!!! I read it word for word. Thanks so much for taking your time to make this page it is very beneficial for those starting out and looking for direction.

  12. So all I can find on Eurobasket are camps in the US, do you recommend or know of any in Europe? If you had any ideas of where to search or how to find them that would be great.
    thanks

    • Look at the ones I mention on this site (in the Basketball section) and google those. Looks like that site makes camps pay to advertise nowadays so they may not always be listed.

  13. whats up dre im verlon. Next year im going to a pro-showcase i just wanted to know did you have any drills or workouts i could do to prepare myself. I’ll most likely be playing PG.

  14. I am having trouble even finding camps for exposure. Do you have any suggestions?

  15. Ay, Dre Im the wifey of a ABA player now for the Chicago Steam. We’re looking at going to the Vegas Exposure camps in July. But as we do more research, there’s the same ESL camp in Indianapolis, LA, NY….. Does one city have better exposure/better chances than the other? Also, the NBA summer league is the same time in Vegas as one of the camps, would it be beneficial to attend then opposed to the same camp in a different city? Appreciate your input!

    • Depends how you measure “exposure”. A player at this level does not need exposure; he needs to sign a contract. One team. The video/stats are available in the same place for any of the camps the ESL holds; having all of those locations waters down their product, but makes them much more money since they collect at each camp from all of those players. In the long run the ESL made their camp worse in order to make more money.
      A player can only sign one contract, meaning you only need to impress one person and you can only accept one deal either way. “Chances” mater more in terms of the player and his performance than it does the camp; and there are many factors — other players on your team, coaches, camp style, etc — that you cannot control that may affect your experience. The presence of the NBA Summer League, theoretically, could have him seen by NBA personnel, or some other International people — the ESL uses this in their sales pitch but my opinion is that is more an emotional move for a player to go to LV because of that, than a logical move. The NBA Summer League is a camp just the same, and there are players in it already. Everyone else may be thinking that too, increasing the # of players he has to compete with. Or if he wants to go watch the NBA games. The best way to control chances at a camp is to have game and to show it. How the cam ends up is, by nature, unpredictable.

  16. Hey Dre,
    I was just wondering about getting “Invite Only” mail. I got a mail for an exposure camp in Vegas and it says its invite only but i don’t know how credible the agency is… I read the article but how do I really know its “invite only” before paying the bills to go

    • We call this discernment. How would they know you? Do you know them? Bottom line is you never know what a camp will be like before you get there and experience it, whether they invited you or not. If you are holding out for a guaranteed, no-risk, sure-thing situation you are in the wrong business.

  17. What do you know or have heard about the Eurobasket summer league camps?

    • They have the scouts and coaches as their affiliations are strong. Eurobasket camps are also quite crowded so the challenge is getting the chance to do your thing amongst all your competitors. You will be seen, though, if you do. The Vegas version is most popular.

  18. Whats up Dre? What would you have to say about the World BasketBall association exposure camp?

  19. He Dre is it possible to get into a camp even with no College experience? Also whats your take on hiring a Agent to do everything for you?

    • I haven’t. Follow what I said in this write-up: Track down previous players and talk to several of them. Get names from event organizers

  20. Hey Dre. What up? Have you heard anything about the Hart Sports Management exposure camp in Vegas….held in mid July each year? I suppose to attend this one next month. Also, what have you heard about the Courtside Camp, and the Euro Basketball camp? Appreciate your help!

    • I have been to Hart’s Camp, back when it was in NJ… don’t know what it’s like now as that was 2005. Court-Side too, in Germany and Vegas. All three have gotten players signed, but really you won’t know till you get there as far as the team you’re on, if you’ll get to play your preferred position (which depends on what other players are there), etc. Some variables you cannot control. There will be decision-makers attending all three, though, for sure. Good luck

      • Hey Dre! In your write up, you mention it’s a good idea to have a USB cable available to transfer video to. I’m not the most technical savvy guy. Can you tell me what this is or what I need to do to get or have something like this to use? I want to make sure I get it if I don’t have it already…. Thanks man!

        • If you have a camera it will come with whatever that camera needs to connect to a computer; they are all different. So just read your camera’s manual.

  21. Whas good man… U said you have a couple of exposure camps that you could suggest.. Can you name them and where.. Also you said that Croatia Camp was cool but they dont provide videos back.. and in your videos you said that if a camp cant provide video afterwards then it is useless so what are the reasons that Croatia camp is good?

    • I didn’t say i’d tell you which camp to go to — if it were that simple I’d send everyone to one place. This guide is made for you to use when checking camps out as there are always new ones each year and the previous camps make changes to their formats and how they are run. So a lot of times you won’t know till you get there. Use this guide to gather as much info as possible to make and informed decision, which you alone are responsible for making. As for the EEBS, read the review I wrote — it is all laid out how i felt about it.

  22. Hey Dre, is it possible to get recruited for college basketball without high school basketball? I have the grades and stuff, but would I able to be scouted if I play AAU or go to basketball camps?

    • Sounds like you have only one avenue at this point, so no use worrying whether it is worth it or not — go for it and see what happens. Good luck

  23. Hey Dre what do you think of Diamond Invitational Camp in Chicago? Also do you know of any in New York this summer?

  24. Hey man
    I’m looking to attend basketball camps and have started researching. What is your opinion on Elite European Basketball Showcase(Pula, Croatia)?

    It has your testomonial on their website but I wanted to go right to the source.

    Also, are all camps listed on EuroBasket (http://www.eurobasket.com/camps.asp) reliable?

    regards,
    PK

    • The camp in Pula is cool, not sure if you’ll get the video though. I can’t speak for Eurobasket’s site; ask them.

  25. You gave some great insight about overseas exposure camps, do you have any camps that you would recommend? Do you have any camps that you suggest to stay away from?

    • That’s a good question. As for suggesting camps, I may have a couple to suggest, but I’m still communicating with people in charge of those so i cannot say yet. As for staying away, if you ask me about any one in particular I will tell you what I know.

  26. hey man I just want to say i wish i would had seen some video like the ones you posted like 15yrs ago…at less…i turned down going over seas and tryouts for the pacers when isiah was the coach… my game wasnt where i wanted to be im 6’4 200 to about 220…jump shot is good …i was told it was nice…handles surprises people…thinking because i play big…i cant handle the ball…but i need better handling against smaller guys..defence is gettin bad to foot work need help…and know i think my game fell off completely…the love for the game is gone..for me…but seenin what you doin im focusing on my ball game…gettin it back up where it suppose to be maybe gettin better…i played in 3on 3 and 5 on 5 touranments for the past 12years won more than half of them …but now i play in summer leagues and winter leagues now…and i played so bad i had people laughin at me…i never heard anything like that my whole life of playin…so i know it time to focus and get my game back…and i ran into your vids…and they gave me hope…sorry im typin this long letter…jus thought ill tell you that you have great vids and i watch them like all day writing things down and use them when workin out.. i plan on buyin some of the vids….thanks for reading all of this …take care good luck on everything you do

    Darius “D” calloway

    • Hey Darius, thanks for sharing & I appreciate you. Hope you see the improvement you’re looking for and if I can help let me know.

  27. yoo dre?? i aint tryna brag or nothing but im a pretty good ball player….and i was wondering..if i do get a contract 2 play overseas n i do good can i enter the NBA draft ??

  28. Is that blue shirt/jersey from Croatia or Montenegro? (Kosarka-Basketball in Croatian/Serbian/Slovenian/Bosnian…etc). And boy, you are givin red flags for everything, if you’d be soccer ref, game would ended fast because there’s not enough players on the court.

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