SBJ/March 6 - 12, 2006/This Weeks News

NBA’s Chicago predraft camp going to Disney

The NBA is moving its predraft camp out of Chicago to the Disney sports complex in Orlando this year and plans to have live ESPNU coverage of games from the event.

The June camp for potential top draft picks
had been held in Chicago since 1982.
The weeklong camp has been held in early June in Chicago since 1982. The event attracts top league and team officials to evaluate talent, discuss player free agency and exchange league gossip, but an increasing number of potential top draft picks have skipped the camp in recent years, preferring to work out for teams on their own.

“We picked Chicago because it was centrally located, but moving it may attract better players now that it is at Disney,” said Marty Blake, director of scouting services for the NBA who helps identify upcoming draft classes for the league’s teams.

This year’s camp is scheduled for June 6-10. ESPNU, part of the Disney-owned family of networks of NBA partner ESPN, plans to air six hours of programming from the camp. NBA TV will have other programming originating from the camp.

“We are looking to shed light on some of the great talent that comes to the camp, and it’s a great precursor for our draft coverage in late June,” said Doug White, director of programming and acquisitions for ESPN/ABC.

ESPNU ran a special on the camp last year that also ran on NBA TV.

“What is different this year is more live game coverage,” White said. “Our coverage will be a combination of live games and interviews with scouts and general managers.”

The relocation deal is for 2006 but carries an option for future years.

The Disney Wide World of Sports complex serves as the spring training home for the Atlanta Braves and is a more modern facility than the Chicago camp site, the Moody Bible Institute gym. The Orlando property also includes on-site medical and training facilities and has adjacent hotels.

“The camp in Orlando will provide state-of-the-art facilities, but it also gives us the opportunity to build upon our partnership with Disney, ABC and ESPN,” said Stu Jackson, senior vice president of basketball operations for the NBA.

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