The NCAA today announced new rules which will make it easier for athletes good enough to make it to the NBA to return to school if those dreams fall short.
Officials from the National Basketball Players Association, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and the Southwestern Athletic Conference today announced the creation of a new ‘top 100’ camp, designed to give increased exposure and development to players from historically black programs.
Active and retired NBA players will style the camp after the NBA’s current ‘Top 100’ program, but will offer the weeklong-combine exclusively to HBCU players July 20-23 at Morehouse College.
Officials called the historic partnership between the NBA and historically black colleges a natural collaboration, given the mission of the schools and the work of the association to improving skills and professional prospects for collegiate athletes.
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities often provide crucial “first chance” opportunities to professional athletes seeking coaching and administrator opportunities in intercollegiate athletics,” said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore. “This initiative seeks to cultivate, institutionalize and ultimately broaden critically important talent pipelines, while also imparting invaluable skill instruction and mentoring to our student-athletes.”
“A key component of the camp will be the education series for the campers. The series will feature leadership development, understanding of off-the-court responsibilities and providing an overall educational experience the participants will be able to draw upon for the rest of their lives,” said Moore.
“The Southwestern Athletic Conference is honored to work with the leadership and members of the NBPA, as well as the SIAC, to bring this incredible opportunity to our stakeholders,” said SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp. “The most fulfilling piece to this is an opportunity for these future leaders to develop their academic and character compass, as they embark on their future on and off the court.”
The camp will invite 25 players from each conference for participation. The partnership is the third major initiative from professional sports leagues to engage HBCU communities following NASCAR’s professional recruitment initiative launched in 2006, and the NFL’s similar initiative launched in 2016.
The NBPA camp is the first scouting and training program to outreach directly to HBCUs, which have yielded just one NBA Draft selection in the last 14 years (Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn in 2012).
Virginia Union University alum Ben Wallace, a four-time NBA all-star and NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the Detroit Pistons, was enshrined with the retirement of his number 3 jersey during a Pistons home game earlier this week.