SUWANEE - Metro Atlanta - and specifically Gwinnett County - has become a hotbed in high school and youth basketball. So it should come as no surprise one of the nation's top girls showcase events is now a mainstay here.
For the seventh straight year, the Girls Top 10 All-American Camps have brought some of the nation's top high school and middle school talent from around the country to the Suwanee Sports Academy.
It's a marriage that has worked out well for both the camps - and the AAU Girls Top 10 Tournament of Champions that accompany them - and the facility.
"The facility speaks for itself," said Michael Eddy, the Suwanee Sports Academy's vice president of sports operations. "Not many facilities can offer seven courts in one venue like this. When you're trying to run an event where so many college coaches are trying to watch multiple prospects, there aren't many (facilities) better."
Indeed, dozens of college head coaches and assistants routinely work the camps - which began with the oldest age group last Sunday and run through the youngest age group Saturday - into their summer scouting schedules.
"(Connecticut head coach) Geno Auriemma was out here a little while ago," said Bret McCormick, scouting director for the All-Star Girls Report and a camp official. "I've seen Muffet McGraw from Notre Dame and Andy Landers from Georgia out there, and there have been plenty of others. If you get invited here, you've got a good chance to get some good exposure. And the thing about this building with all the courts at the same venue is there's more an opportunity to be seen."
The coaches that attend usually get quite an eyeful as only roughly 160 of the top players nationwide from three different age groups are invited to participate, though the number varies. All of the players invited also participate with their respective AAU summer teams in the Tournament of Champions the day after the camps for their respective age groups.
This year, the pool of players was separated in to the three current age groups - the All-American Camp mainly for rising high school seniors and some underclassmen, the Underclassmen Camp for rising high school juniors and some sophomores and freshmen and the Freshman Camp for players in the classes of 2011-14.
"Our concept in doing that is helping promote the younger kids earlier," McCormick said.
And a few players from Gwinnett County are among those getting exposure to the college coaches.
Rising Buford senior Blanche Alverson was among the 176 players to participate in the All-American Camp last Sunday.
Parkview's Lauren Coleman, a rising junior for the Panthers in the 2008-09 school year, was one of the 150 invitees to the Underclassmen Camp on Wednesday, though she did not participate.
And three local players - rising Buford freshman Andraya Carter, rising Wesleyan freshman Jordan Frazier and rising Wesleyan seventh-grader Chrissy Hewatt - are scheduled to take part in the Freshman Camp Saturday.
"It's really exciting," Frazier said. "I just want to go out and play my best. It's a bit nerve-racking (with all the college coaches around), but I just try imagine their not there and concentrate on playing."