The most important recruiting month of the year is set to begin Wednesday, as thousands of high school players and hundreds of coaches from every level of college basketball hit the road for the first of two live evaluation periods.
It’s a month that has changed in form several times over the past couple decades, starting as a 25-day marathon, then going from two 10-day periods to three five-day periods, mixing in one summer of short-lived NCAA-run events — and now settling on two five-day periods. For now, at least.
Frequent flier miles and Marriott points will be accrued, scholarships will be offered and reputations will be solidified.
What are the biggest storylines we’re watching over the next few weeks?
1. Is there real competition for the No. 1 spot?
Entering most July periods, there’s a debate for the top spot, a potential opening for someone to emerge and claim No. 1 — or at least make a strong case for it. Shaedon Sharpe did just that last summer, averaging 22.6 points on the Nike EYBL circuit and skyrocketing all the way to No. 1 in the class. Back in the 2020 class, Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley were locked in a battle at the top.
Is that the case in 2023? D.J. Wagner has sat atop the rankings for most of his high school career and has done nothing in the past few months to make anyone question that status, leading Camden High School (New Jersey) to the state championship and then averaging better than 20 points during the spring EYBL circuit with the NJ Scholars AAU team.