Leaders of A New Cool: HBCU Elite Basketball Camps
By Keisha J Kelley
July 20, 2022
School is out and it's sort of a buzz, but back then I didn’t really know what it was. As the temperatures rise on the outside, the attention is also rising on HBCU Basketball camps this summer. Only one lone former HBCU graduate currently plays in the NBA, and that’s Tennessee State Alumnus, Robert Covington. The small forward went undrafted in 2013. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Clippers and was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2018. In 2022, still the void of players to be drafted from HBCU is ghost and it’s noticeable. This year however, we have noticed more camps taking place at HBCUS and more eyes on the talent and product of these young players.
Black College Experience got a chance to sit down with Memphis TN native, Savion Anderson this week to talk about some of the HBCU camps he attended. Savion went all out! He went on a “tour” going to as many skills camps as he could and taking advantage of perfecting his craft. During the month of June, Anderson took his talents to the realms of the black college circuit to learn from different HBCU coaches. One of his stops was in Jackson MS at Jackson State University, where he worked out under veteran NBA coach and Cleveland Cavalier champion, Mo Williams. The Mo Williams Elite 52 Camp gave prospects the option to attend two days.
The 6’3 shooting guard talked about his experience with meeting each coach and stated that Coach Mo Williams was really down to earth and had an impressive NBA career. While he talked about his career, he stayed focused on what was most impressive in camp. “Coach Williams is very hands on and was on the floor with the players throughout the camp. During the opening speech, he spoke on what it takes to become a Division 1 player. He added that it’s not only achievable but the people who have made it to the collegiate level were in the same position each of us are currently in. In addition, he spoke on proper nutrition and hydration for athletes and also talked about how much he drinks on a daily basis for his own performance.
The coaches made sure to keep academics in perspective as they are probably the most important slam dunk of this game. Coach Anthony Boone of University of Central Arkansas, talked about the importance of high academics and opened camp with information about the NCAA Clearinghouse and certification requirements to become a Division 1 athlete. While it seems so common, there are numerous players that have clarity about how registering with the NCAA Clearinghouse works and the importance of staying on track with the information throughout your high school career. He explained that information like having a good academic score and acceptable ACT scores is very important. He added that many prospects are talented, but sometimes they don’t have the grades to play Division 1 basketball. Another tidbit that the coaches added was the importance of keeping social media accounts clean. Offers have been rescinded from players due to negative posts and players don’t want to risk future offers or scholarships for 160 characters.
After Anderson got adjusted in the HBCU realm, I wondered if there was any difference in him coming to HBCU Elite Skills Camps compared to other camps he’s attended. To no surprise, he is no stranger to the HBCU atmosphere. With a mom who graduated from Southern University and A&M College, and a father hailing from Grambling State, he has the SWAC pedigree embedded in him. “I am very familiar with HBCU athletics.” Bayou Classic is a tradition in my household.” For so long we have waited for the shift of 4 and 5 star athletes to choose HBCUs and make them their career homes for 4 years. “HBCUs are becoming a trend or a new move to consider. However, this has been a tradition in my family and I’m open to all camps.’ Anderson confidently adds.
Anderson says he took full advantage of the camps and wants more schools to host Elite camps. He states that he prefers the elite camp format and that these sessions are formatted only for players that are ready to make the next step. Coming in, running the floor, understanding the game, and the pace of the game are parts of the format. Much like team camps, no fundamental skills are taught and this prepares you for the big stage. So why did the young prospect choose to attend so many camps this summer when he is only an upcoming high school sophomore? “It’s about building relationships with the coaching staff and the possibility of being recruited in the future. I know that playing AAU basketball with circuit teams during live periods is ideal for me with the hopes that it will catch the attention of collegiate coaches. This is also a way to gain feedback and showcase my skill set to coaches.” says Anderson. He does believe, however, that a big disadvantage that high school seniors face is the transfer portal.
So what’s next for the shooting guard? He plans to finish the summer at an invitation only High School American Camp in Anaheim, California.
He also plans on taking his ACTs. He is looking forward to school starting and preparing for his sophomore season of basketball. A few eyes will be watching his jump shot, as some coaches from various camps stated they would be making their way to Memphis to watch him play this season and asked him to send his schedule.
Although the summer is close to an end, he is excited he got a chance to meet new players, and coaches like NBA Veteran Coach Mo Williams, Donte Jackson, head coach Grambling State, Assistant Coach Eshante Jones, of Grambling State, Assistant John Goldsmith (GA), and head coach Anthony Boone of University of Central Arkansas. He also met head coach Talvin Hester of Louisiana Tech and head coach Kenny Anderson of Fisk University.
When I asked which was his favorite camp if he had to choose just one, he responded “The Donte Jackson Elite Camp presented by Grambling State University in Ruston, LA. He goes on to say that this camp was presented to a smaller group of players and that he was able to connect directly with the coaching staff. No surprises there as we know how tight knit the HBCU family can be. “Coach Jackson was on the floor talking to us and encouraging us the entire time during the 5 on 5 drills,”he stated. While this was an HBCU camp, the intensity and rigorous workouts did not differ from that of any other camps. “We had very little rest and ran 94 feet for the entire afternoon.” At this moment is when Anderson said he felt the difference in the collegiate 3 point line and high school. It was also very exciting to be on the GSU Tigers floor in the Frederick C Hobdy Assembly Center.”
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