adidas Jr. Phenom Camp
2007 adidas Phenom Bootcamp Dates
Girls Arkansas: July 5-8, 2007
Boys Arkansas: July 12-15, 2007
Boys San Diego: July 19-22, 2007
Girls San Diego: July 26-29, 2007
Age Divisions: 9-11yrs/ 12-14yrs/ 15-16yrs
From Phenom Camp: Adidas Phenom Boot Camp is a fundamental skills development camp like no other in the country. We refer to it as boot camp because it is a basketball camp that concentrates on discipline, fundamentals and development! Most camps today concentrate on exposure; we will throw the society of basketball camps back into an “old school” mode. We will take the word “development” and turn into something special where not only will we teach you the fundamentals basketball skills for your basketball development, but we will go one step further, we will teach you life lessons that will lead toward character development for your “off the court” life.
2004 adidas Phenon Camp Review
The adidas Junior Phenom Camp, featuring the top sixth, seventh and eighth grade basketball players in the country, took place earlier this month in San
Diego. Jr. phenoms camp organizer Joe Keller proudly proclaimed that he had the "top 100 kids in AAU
basketball" for this age level and had the talent on display in an inaugural event that may have provided a glimpse
of some 2012 Olympians.
"We're going to try to grow this as big as the high school stuff,"
Although the idea of rating middle-school athletes is unseemly to many,
it is one that is needed for the good
of the game. Foreign countries routinely place youngsters in national
training programs and - although America
seems to adore its prodigy tennis players, gymnasts and piano players -
basketball players have not received the
One proponent of the adidas jr. phenom camp is former Boston Celtics coach John Carroll,
whose eighth-grade son Austin attended. Carroll
was a guest lecturer at the event and spent the weekend living in a dorm
with the campers - despite still collecting
plenty of Celtics money.
"I hear people talk about the way it used to be 20 or 30 years ago, well
there's a lot of things that have changed,"
Carroll said. "You can't go to the park like you did 20 or 30 years ago
because no one goes to the park. (Jokingly)
If you go to the park, you get shot.
"It's just a different animal than 20 or 30 years ago. You can talk
about it, bitch about it complain about it or you
can figure out how to integrate (yourself)."
The unusual camp - which was invitation-only - featured a $395 entry fee
for every camper. However, that wasn't a
concern for many parents who wanted to give their sons a chance to go
head-to-head with the likes of Demetrius Walker -
a Fontana, California native rated the best eighth grader in the country.
According to Carroll, the parents were part of the problem. Many
parents stayed with their children in hotels,
preventing the kids from the camaraderie of the dorm experience. During
one of the games, a parent yelled,
'Don't pass it to him because he won't pass it back!"
Yet all the negativity involved is part of the growing process and it is
something that Carroll wanted his son
"You are about to enter a world that is tainted," said Carroll, noting
the age of the campers. "You've got to be
careful about that. I try to tell him - you get a college letter from a
college coach, that doesn't mean anything.
It's a computer-generated letter sent to a thousand kids."
The adidas junior phenoms get noticed. Colleges are actually sending letters to these young athletes. Walker
is said to have received his first college
letter from Texas A&M at the age of 11. Kevin Bloom - a top guard
prospect from Wolcottville, Indiana - received a
letter from Syracuse.
"That's a little scary," one parent remarked.
Keller believes he has found a new niche to expand the influence of the
shoe companies since Reebok and Nike may follow
suit with their own middle-school camps. The competition is stiff,
especially with Sonny Vaccaro's defection to
"Sonny's going to do his thing, Nike's going to do their deal," said
Keller, who also coaches a Team California club
that includes Walker. "I just hope it doesn't get watered down."
College coaches publicly state that they have no interest in the camps
because of the age of the athletes. But Keller
indicated that San Diego State's staff made an appearance and Memphis
coach John Calipari also planned to attend. If
these events grow, colleges will have no choice but to staff them
because of the negative repercussions of not showing
up and gaining early contacts with these future stars. Although the
event was held in a "dead" period, the athletes
are non-recruitable, allowing college coaches freedom to attend.
No matter what the future holds, the present resulted in an interesting
weekend of basketball that featured some
promising talent. It provided an opportunity to see the passing wizardry
of Jamison Sterns as well as the inside
polish of fellow Texas seventh-grader Randy Collins, who was named the
MVP of the seventh-grade All-Star game.
And although eighth graders like California's Aaron Moore, New Jersey's
Dexter Strickland and Pennsylvania's Dalton
Pepper all shined, the showdown between Walker and Maryland's LeShon
Edwards will be a memory that may eventually
play out on the hardwood on a higher level.
The 6-4 Edwards and 6-3 Walker went head-to-head in the eighth grade All-Star
game and Edwards fared slightly
better and parlayed a big first half into MVP honors. Both players are
terrific athletes, although Walker is exceptional.
But one key sequence defined the battle between the two. Edwards nailed
a difficult jumper on Walker, who displayed great
sportsmanship in patting his rival on the back.
It was a quintessential basketball junkie moment and may have been the
initial stages of a terrific rivalry.
This is the value of giving youngsters a chance - the opportunity to
develop their talent to the
highest level. Here's hoping this trend continues so American
ballplayers can continue to receive the structure
and guidance they deserve.