10 storylines to watch in July

In college basketball, legacies are made in March and championships are won in April, but the foundations for both are built in July.

July is the most important month of the year in basketball recruiting. Sure, there’s an early signing period in the fall and a late signing period in the spring when pen is put to paper and commitments become official. But the groundwork for most of those signings is laid in July, when a trio of live evaluation periods (July 10-14, July 17-21 and July 24-28 for 2013) and dozens of elite events have prospects and college coaches criss-crossing the country in a crazy month of hoops.

With that in mind, here are the top 10 things you need know this July on the basketball recruiting trail.

1. July is here -- and why you should care

July is a weird month. For those involved in the fraternity that is college basketball recruiting, the players, coaches and media kiss their families goodbye and set forth to all corners of the country to either demonstrate their talents or search for the next wave of college prospects. Think of July like you would the first three days of a golf major. It’s the time when teams and players alike position themselves for a stretch run in the fall that culminates with official visits and official signings.

Simply put, July sets the table for seasons to come in college hoops. Recruiters will lock in on the priority targets for their teams, the players who will become future favorites of their fan bases. In some cases, the head coach will watch every single game of a handful of the most important prospects on his wish list. Simultaneously, those same players will scan the gym, intently looking to see which coaches are watching them. It’s a delicate dance orchestrated with a basketball game in the backdrop.

It sounds fun, but the reality is that the futures of programs and individual players are tied to the rigors of July. Prospects don’t arrive on campuses without hard work by coaching staffs, and coaching staffs don’t get the best players unless they can set their final priorities.