MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The future of college basketball could be being played right here in Memphis during the Basketball Coaches Association Team Camp. The camp brings top tier talent and top tier college coaches to the Mid-South for three days of competition.
High school coaches say this camp is a great barometer for future success.
Teams from across the state of Tennessee are going at it during BCAT this weekend. Over 100 high school basketball teams are in town to see how their squad measures up against the rest of the state.
"Knoxville, Nashville, Murfreesboro area, Chattanooga. All these teams come in and they’re good basketball. Those are the teams you’re going to see in the state championship in some way," said John Harrington, head coach of Briarcrest Christian School.
BCAT brings in talent from across the state competing in game-like scrimmages over four school campuses. Collierville High, Briarcrest Christian, Bartlett High and St. George Independent School are all hosting.
Memphis is the perfect basketball city to host.
"In this city, there’s some second or third grader playing somewhere that in a few more years, you’re going to hear about and nobody’s gonna see the unseen hours. It’s just how basketball is ingrained in the city," said Dion Real, head coach at Bartlett.
College coaches know Memphis is a hotbed for talent this weekend. BCAT Executive Director Bruce Slatten reports over 90 DI level coaches attend to see who they can add to their future squads. Coaches from D2, NAIA, and JUCO levels attend as well.
College coaches may have an idea of who they like from game film, but BCAT offers a chance to get a look at a student-athlete play with their high school team, as opposed to AAU.
"The college coaches can see all these makes and dunks on highlight videos," said Harrington. "They get to come in and see how hard they warm up. I had a college coach come up and tell me, 'hey, that kid doesn't warm up very hard. He doesn't play hard.' So it’s the intangibles."
"The two words we use around exposure is either you get the exposure or you get exposed," Real said. "If you go back before I guess it's 2019, before that there's players who come through here and around the city and throughout the state who would love this opportunity so that's one thing we're harping on. Take advantage of the opportunity and maximize it."
BCAT started their team camp in 2019. The first year had about 50 schools participate. Last year, that increased to 74. In 2022, over 100 teams are competing.
Players get exposed to colleges, but high school coaches also get a chance to build fraternity between each other and coaches at the next level.
"When you're talking Memphis to Johnson City, seven hours away that never got to meet each other. Now they get to meet each other, hang out, learn from each other," Slatten said. "These events are great here trying to build a network of coaches ... We feel like we’ve progressed the game of basketball across the state."
BCAT will host 29 events over this weekend and next exposing kids to college coaches. Colleges like Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss are in attendance at the team camp.