The date for the Girls Academic Elite was released last week(JULY 28TH), marking the 5th year of the event. The GIRLS Academic Elite has now become one of the best one-day events during the July recruiting period. There are a lot of reasons this event has become special, but none more important than the coaches and players who support the event.


When people think of the Girls Academic Elite Event the first thing that comes to mind is probably the amount of COLLEGE coaches that attend the event. The numbers of coaches that have attended the Girls Academic Elite has grown each year. Last year 72 coaches attended the event, including 37 from Division I schools. It’s the one time during the recruiting period where every player and parent knows their kid will be the main focus of college coaches. Coaches won’t be watching numerous courts with divided attention. There are two main courts at ACADEMIC ELITE and the college coaches surround these TWO courts. It is a special experience for many PLAYERS attending for their first time. Many kids, even those being heavily recruited, have rarely seen so many coaches at one game watching them. No question, it is an exciting moment for most players and their parents. However, this is not the real story behind the Girls Academic Elite. The games are just part of what makes this, in my opinion, the best event of the summer period.

The event only caters to those young ladies who are true student-athletes. The kids attending are those who believe education will play a major part in their future college decision. Each player who attends the Academic Elite Camp must submit a transcript and meet certain academic requirements to participate; these requirements in most cases are designed to meet the standards of some of the best schools in the country. The college coaches who attend this event get to take the academic uncertainty out of the recruiting process. The coaches in attendance know all the kids at Academic Elite are good students. The coaches get to see players on a level playing field, both academically and athletically.

Before any player gets on the court at Academic Elite, the organization College Pursuit does a work shop, with every player at the event. College Pursuit educates not only players but parents on the do’s and don’ts of college recruiting. They teach kids what to expect during the process and educate the players on how to separate themselves during the recruiting process. College Pursuit has helped so many families understand the recruiting process that it’s really is priceless.

The kids who attend the Academic Elite are special and it’s their commitment to this event that has made it special. Remember the key to Academic Elite is the talent, no matter what anyone says. The college coaches are not coming unless there is talent. Players like Sam Clark, Danielle Padovano, Shakena Richardson, and Christa Evans are all part of a much larger group of kids who attended Academic Elite after giving verbal commitments to colleges. Why is this important you ask? Simply because these kids all had to pay to attend this NCAA sanctioned event and they were asked to put their reputations on the line. Yes these are players who understand college coaches want to see kids who are not signed playing against top competition. These young ladies and countless others, proved how unselfish they were and are a big reason why this event is now a must-stop for college coaches. I can remember Kat Egan of Seton Hall, rushing back to Academic Elite, not because she needed exposure but to play with her teammates. She was in Baltimore playing with her SJV High School team, but yet came back for her AAU teammates…kids like this and others… GET IT! And now it has become a tradition for kids who have picked a school to give back, by attending the Academic Elite and giving the event the star power all events need…I LOVE IT.

I love that at Academic Elite there is a 45 min skill session; this has been a major hit among college coaches. They get to see kids in drills and watch their work ethic, their ability to pick up drills and their basketball IQ. A kid gets to show their shooting skills or leadership skills during the skill session. You see a kid has a real chance to separate themselves not only in games, but in a practice setting as well….not a bad deal for a kid!

Beth Chambers, Kristen Somogyi, Shannon Coyle, and Barbara Clark all worked the first Academic Elite. These are coaches who supplied some of the best talent to Academic Elite, and yet received no financial compensation for working the event. This is why I love this event so much; because it brings people together and they all have one purpose…it helps kids fulfill their dreams!

You see, the Academic Elite Camp is more than just about college coaches showing up and watching kids play. It’s been about AAU Coaches, High School Coaches, Parents, and kids coming together to make what can only be described as a great success. There is no person more responsible for the GIRLS ACADEMIC ELITE than Rob Kennedy, the owner of the HOOP GROUP. It was Rob Kennedy who suggested the high school girls that were good students needed such an event. It was not just lip service though folks; Mr. Kennedy the past 5 years has given Hoop Group Headquarters to high school girls and college coaches. Remember people, the summer recruiting period is very important to the Hoop Group, as they run tournaments all across the country. I have asked Rob Kennedy to give up very profitable weekends for the Girls Academic Elite, and he has never said NO…he has one request every year. “Make Sure the EVENT IS RUN PROPERLY AND KIDS GET THE EXPOSURE. It’s comforting knowing that when Rob Kennedy says, “the Hoop Group is DEDICATED TO FULFILLING DREAM,” …it’s not just talk, Rob Kennedy also walks the walk!

I could list the number of kids who have attended Academic Elite over the years that have gone on to receive college scholarships, but it would take me forever. In my heart I don’t believe any one-day-event has done more for kids or college coaches. The exposure the kids receive is great, but watching kids spend quality time with each other is what this event is really about to me. It’s a time for college coaches to close out the summer and catch up with each other and say the famous words all coaches say to each other at the end of the summer recruiting period…”GOOD LUCK”!


REMINDER: Please remember this event requires paper work and WILL SELL OUT…THE NUMBER OF COLLEGE COACHES WILL EXCEED LAST YEAR. High School coaches, please remember the event will have a number of D2 and D3 colleges also. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO

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