BOSTON — In the wake of the yearly mass exodus of college basketball’s elite freshman, the nation’s top coaches scramble to fill their ever changing rosters by any means necessary. Enter the 12th Man Camp, or “Scrub City” as it’s known by all the cooler and more popular kids.
The 12th Man Camp is a camp designed for the lesser, or zero-talented, hopefuls to show their stuff to the elite, and not so elite, NCAA schools looking for enough players for a good practice. The kids, who are all 0 or 1 star “athletes” (read: white guys), participate in a slew of 12th man activities, including awkward celebrations, handing towels to starters, standing at the back of the team huddle, and uncoordinated high fives.
“We are just happy that these kids, who first heard of basketball from watching High School Musical on repeat, get a chance to gain a spot at the end of a bench,” said camp organizer Willy Shelton. “These schools, mostly those who whiffed on the 5-star guys, are getting a great group of 12th men.” Shelton also added that these kids also might get to start one day, as soon as pigs fly.
Butler High School senior Tyler Drew said he was excited about the opportunity. “This is a real below-the-rim group, we are lauded more for our GPA than our PPG or ERA.” Drew was quickly reminded that ERA is a baseball stat.
Drew went on to say that there is a lot of focus on the players’ sideline celebrations. “I’ve been practicing my air guitar and my invisible bowl of cereal routine,” Drew said. “I’ve even come up with an invisible tweet thing, where I basically pretend I’m tweeting when the other team air balls.”
Most of the camp participants won’t receive athletic scholarships, but they will have the chance at a preferred walk-on spot. “I lose 6 kids every year,” Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari said. “It’s nice to get kids that you know won’t leave. Guys who will never play, but still make you laugh along the way.”
The camp will run through the end of May at the Boston YMCA, or until all the kids are chosen or picked up by their parents.