The 2011 Peach Jam begins today at 9 a.m. and concludes Friday night with a televised championship game, which is being played on the final day of the first summer evaluation period. The first period runs July 6-15 and the second lasts July 22-31.
But the current summer evaluation system could be in for some changes.
The NCAA is thinking about making adjustments; possibly taking some of July's evaluation dates and moving them to April.
Albany City Rocks 17U coach Jim Hart, whose team begins play today at North Augusta's Riverview Park Activities Center, knows the benefits of holding events like the Peach Jam during evaluation periods.
It's a potential change Hart is OK with because evaluation days won't be lost.
"Kids are going to play in the spring and summer anyway, but when they play in the structured environment, you weed out the bad element," Hart said about the Peach Jam and similar events. "If they take it away, they'll give you April."
Houston Hoops 17U coach Byron Gibson said he doesn't think college coaches get enough time to evaluate players in the current setup. However, he does see the benefit of a change that would take some July evaluation dates and move them to April. With a longer stretch of time separating the evaluation periods, Gibson thinks coaches would get a better chance to look at players and it would give coaches more time to assess the players they see.
Of course, the summer evaluation periods provide an opportunity. It's all about exposure, and one Peach Jam squad is already set when it comes to its members receiving interest from area college coaches during the evaluation period.
"We've been blessed," Drew Gooden/Oakland Soldiers 17U coach Derrick Artis said. "All of our kids have been recruited early this year or last year. All of our kids have multiple offers. It hurts for more schools on the East Coast or Midwest. But all the West Coast schools know about all our kids. We've been fortunate."
No matter what happens, the bottom line for Hart is evaluation periods are huge for players who aren't near the top of the recruiting rankings.
Those kids just want to get the attention.
"The main flaw in all the NCAA's rules, they center their rules around the top 50 players," Hart said. "Most of these kids are trying to get a look. I got guys playing in front of college coaches for the first time."