Sonny Vaccaro Has Dollars and Academy Dreams

Andy Katz reports that Vaccaro has private funding to enact his dream of developmental basketball academies. You can tell he's serious, because he's putting his beloved summer camp in the line of fire:

Vaccaro said he would take a poll of coaches -- and likely leading recruiting Web sites -- for the list of the top players about to enter the ninth and 10th grades in 2008 (current seventh- and eighth-graders). These individuals, whatever the number, would be invited to attend the academy if they met preset academic standards (high enough to be on track for collegiate eligibility). Vaccaro said he would then marry this academy with the "best public or best city schools in the area."

Vaccaro said the players would go to these high schools for their academics and then, by 2 p.m. or so, would be at the academy working on their basketball skills. He said they wouldn't play for the schools they would be attending for classes, but would play a schedule of games.

"I understand there will be players [who] don't want to come, and that's fine,'' Vaccaro said. "But it will build up its reputation as a place to go. This will be like an arts and sciences type of place.''

Where this idea gets even more interesting is Vaccaro's dream to tie this into USA Basketball. The plan calls for the academy players/students to be in Colorado Springs from June-August, where they would be taught by USA Basketball. They wouldn't be given a free pass to play in typical summer leagues. Vaccaro said the expectation is that USA Basketball would cover expenses for the summer.

"This would be a peace pipe to shut down the glamour portion of ABCD (his camp sponsored by Reebok) and Nike, with all the (top) players going to Colorado Springs,'' Vaccaro said.