- The Cheaper The Camp, (Usually) The Less Credible It Is (exception: local D-League camps, which I will get to below). You get what you pay for. A camp that is worth it and that is really bringing in the scouts they advertise will charge higher entry fees because they know they’re worth it.
- Cheaper Camps = More Participants. $100-$150 is a small amount to bet on a chance you could make a professional basketball team (or even have a cool story about how you tried out). Cheap camps will attract lots of players, including many that know they could not cut it on a pro team. If it seems like easy money to you, a bunch of other players are seeing the same thing. Beware.The NBA D-League has a national camp in a few big cities, then each club has their own tryouts in several cities each year which will run you $100-200 to try out and can be either one or two days. I know players who have attended local DLeague camps that had 80 or more attendees for a one-day tryout (me being one of them). I know players who’ve attended camps that didn’t have enough players to go 5-on-5. One thing for sure about the DLeague local tryouts is that the team can run it in any manner they choose and often make it up as they go along depending on who’s there (and how many) and the whims of the person in charge (usually the team’s head coach). The D-League is a great opportunity, we know. Be careful with your money, however, when chasing that pot of gold. Everyone knows that paying $150 for the outside chance they could make the D-League is a bet worth taking. The more bettors, the lower your odds of winning.
- Camps Run By Agencies Cater To Their Clients First, Non-Clients Second. By this I mean, making sure you are with a team/coach/situation that places you in your best light. The agency is financially invested (money: the #1 motivation for most of the moves made in the basketball business) in seeing you do well in this case. If you are there but not a client of the agency, what incentive do they have to help you look good? If another player with a similar resume and physical profile is signed with them, they’d rather him get the contract than you get it. Simple logic. I have been to several agency-run camps and seen this information in action.
- Men Lie, Women Lie, Money Does Not. This is a dirty-ass game and there are a lot of people in it for the fast buck who could not give less of a damn about basketball, nonetheless your career. If you see a flyer for a camp (ranging $100-200) run by a person/company you’ve never heard of, do your due diligence and Google them/him/her. If this entity really has sent players overseas, it will be very clear whom and when and where. Can’t find it? That’s for good reason. I discuss this in detail in the Camps Guide.
- Beware “We’re Sending/Streaming This Video To Coaches/Teams In ____________ (Insert Random Country Or Countries).” One day in 9th grade we had a substitute teacher. The sub had attended Central High in Philly; we were students at E&S High. Both schools are high-ranking academically and the sub got into a debate with students about which school was better. We boasted our 100% college acceptance rate and the substitute teacher shot that down by informing us of the following: the Community College of Philadelphia sent acceptance letters to every student at schools like ours (and his), without us even applying.That said, technically, I could tell you that if you send me a video of yourself playing that I’m sending it to 10 teams overseas and not, technically, be lying. I could send an email or post the video on my website and say I made it available to clubs in Japan and Australia and that’s the truth… It’s also available to President Obama if he happens to stumble across my site.If an agent of company claims to have contacts in certain places, they should have players playing there or have those contacts sitting in the bleachers watching you (which should be clear before you register). Be discerning.
- Camps Held In Las Vegas in July Have The Highest “Exposure” Possibilities Among U.S. Camps — And The Fiercest Competition. Camps held at this time of year in Vegas are at the same time as the NBA Summer League, which draws the highest-level decision-makers in the business of basketball. Every other camp will advertise this proximity — and many times, thats all it is: proximity — as one of their virtues. Knowing this, know that the competition at these camps will be the highest — the best players looking for the same jobs you’re looking for, the highest volume of players. At the same time, these camps will also have the most scouts/agents/coaches in attendance watching you.
- The Best Camps for Me, In My Experience, Were Held In Europe. Several reasons why: 1) More scouts and coaches will show up since it is closer for them, and travel within European countries is relatively cheap. 2) There will be fewer players in general (and fewer Americans). We Americans are dreamers — when we couldn’t break 15 points in a rec league, we’ll still pony up $150 to try out for the D-League. Europeans, in my experience, tend to have a more practical worldview — by age 21, they know if basketball is their future or if it isn’t. Meaning, there won’t be so many of them trying out at some camp because they’re seeking a cheap thrill. In US camps, this is prevalent. 3) The foreign scouts can watch you perform under game conditions (officiating, coaching, style of play) similar to the ones you’d play under if you were to be signed by them.These European camps also cost much more — usually around $300-450 and up just to register for the camp (usually includes the double-room hotel stay, 1-2 meals per day, camp uniform) — and you cover your own travel costs. You are looking at an invest of around $2,000 when everything is factored in. I have been to a few European-based pro camps and the experiences alone made them worth it. See the video series on the the Pro Camps Guide for more on this.
- All Of This Stated, One Great Stretch Of Play Can Change Your Future. That’s all it takes. You ready?
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Dre Baldwin is an author of 27 books (including Work On Your Game: Using The Pro Athlete Mindset To Dominate Your Game In Business, Sports and Life) who played professional basketball overseas for nearly a decade. Dre has published over 15,542 pieces of content to date. Dre teaches the Discipline, Confidence and Mental Toughness that made him a professional athlete and how it applies both to the business world and everyday life.