Two great days spent at the gorgeous LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson, Georgia, an incredible facility with 12 courts on one level.
1) Yes, there were players…
Several players caught my eye, two in particular;
Nico Mannion, 6’1 2020 Pinnacle HS playing for Earl Watson Elite.
Nico is one of the best players in the 2020 class, he has great range, terrific athleticism, and swagger. He is a plus on the ball defender, a wizard handling the ball and his range was clear from Cobb County.
He is confident and will only get better as he continues to grow and get stronger. Any program looking for a point guard must have him on their short list in the 2020 class.
Scottie Lewis, 6’5 2019 The Ranney School playing for Team Rio.
Scottie scores as you and I breathe, it’s that easy. He is relentless as an offensive force, which includes acceleration to the cup and range from the outside. It always seems as if he is playing downhill on the offensive end. Great motor, active defensively and a very capable passer. As good an offensive player as there was in the building.
He should be on track to be a McDonald’s All American.
2) There were no-shows…
Prominent players ghosted for their team. Worse yet, was when 17U Sports U didn’t show for their scheduled games after their early tournament loss depriving the coaches and fans in attendance from seeing Naz Reid and Jahvon Quinerly. More impactful was not giving the rest of the roster an opportunity to be seen to play into scholarships.
3) It’s time for Jeff McInnis to get an opportunity on the college or pro level. McInnis consistently has his program playing for the Championship and though they came up short here, McInnis is ready. A few years ago, Jerry Stackhouse, coached Stackhouse Elite, now he’s the top coach in the G (formerly D) League and will have a head NBA job within two years.
4) With basketball converging in the South, event operators utilized the presence of coaches in the area to put forward successful events. The three sneaker companies that are spending in this space are the reason for the coaches to be in the area, look for them to continue to expand in the space with more pay-to play- teams included. Adidas had great success launching their Silver Series, here in Atlanta, UAA had an open division. The future will be more brand expansions in these areas.
5) How much longer will companies fund the circuits to find a star to carry the brand and sell product with basketball sneaker market share declining and corporate stock prices plummeting?
Under Armour is probably spending more than 5 million on grassroots basketball. Let’s say there are 20-30 prospects max that have NBA draft potential. That’s a spend of $250,000 per prospect. How many will actually sign with the brand because of this loyalty shown to them and will they take a discount for it or just go with the company offering the most money?
Of those players, how many can really influence the basketball sneaker market, 1 or 2 per year, maybe?
We have seen entertainers surpass athletes in the moving of sneaker product. Are UA stockholders willing to continue to bet in this grassroots investment to find a player to build brand loyalty and more importantly change the course of fashion?
My guess is probably not for a whole lot longer unless the grassroots investment starts to pay for itself expanding past the elite players into the more robust market of payers/buyers.