The summer is nearly half over, at least according to the calendar. But three of the nation's top 100 prospects in the Class of 2013 — Hampton's Anthony Barber, Phoebus' Troy Williams and Kecoughtan's Rajay Bullock — have had little time to relax.
Airplanes and hotels, East Coast to West Coast, non-stop basketball and constant evaluations. Such is the summer schedule for three prized recruits who already have verbal offers on the table.
And who's complaining?
"All the recruiters and stuff like that, it's been a little bit hectic," said Williams, who helped lead the Phantoms to their second straight district title last winter. "But I kind of like the attention."
Barber, a 6-foot-2 point guard whose quickness lives up to his nickname "Cat," has verbal offers that include Virginia, Virginia Tech and N.C. State. Crabbers coach Walter Brower also has a stack of mail on his desk that is growing by the day.
"It's good to have this opportunity," said Barber, the reigning Peninsula District Player of the Year. "Then again, I just sit back and let it play out. I keep playing my game. I talk to my coaches and my dad a lot about how to do this recruiting thing.
"Right now, I'm not worrying about it. I've got two more years of high school."
Williams, a 6-7 wing with explosiveness, has offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, South Florida, and DePaul. Bullock, a 6-8 forward who will likely the perimeter in college, has offers from Virginia Tech, Massachusetts, Miami and N.C. State.
They were already hot commodities. In June, Rivals.com released its top 100 national prospects in the Class of 2013. Barber was 14th (No. 1 in Virginia), Williams 15th, and Bullock 98th.
This summer has only helped. Bullock is playing for the D.C. Assault, but Barber and Williams are teammates on Boo Williams' 17-under team.
At the Nike Peach Jam (July 12-15 in North Augusta, S.C.), Barber averaged 17.4 points, 4.4 assists, 4.0 rebounds and only 2.6 turnovers in five games. He shot 48 percent from the field and was 5-of-10 from the 3-point arc. His only weakness was free throw shooting (64.8 percent).
Since most colleges are recruiting him as a point guard, Barber showed he can distribute. But he also scored when needed. In an overtime win over Louisiana Select, Barber finished with 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting.
Williams averaged 13.8 points at the Peach Jam, third behind Barber and Virginia commitment Justin Anderson of Montrose Christian, and 7.2 rebounds a game. He shot 41 percent from the field, but showed his non-stop energy around the glass and running the floor.
(Kecoughtan's Josh Fortune, a rising senior who has committed to Providence, was the team's fourth-leading scorer at 13 points a game. He shot 38 percent, 11-of-29, from the 3-point arc. In one game, he scored 24 points in the first half).
This isn't the first time they played together, but they enjoyed it.
"Troy's got a lot of energy," Barber said. "He goes and gets everything off the board. And Josh, he's a shooter. When we really need it, he'll hit that shot."
Next on Boo's schedule is the AAU Nationals next week in Orlando, Fla.
Bullock's D.C. Assault plays on the Adidas circuit. July got started with the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis. Now, the Assault is in Las Vegas for the Super 64. Next week, they're off to Phoenix.
"It's fun, all the travel, but you get tired sometimes," Bullock said from Vegas. "You've got to give your body a rest. And on the planes, I always try to get an exit row."
Bullock has been playing mostly the small forward spot, which most recruiters see as his natural position. He's grown to 6-8, but he's still a relatively thin 200 pounds.
"He's expanding his game," Kecoughtan coach Ivan Thomas said.
The AAU circuit provides an interesting, if intimidating, setting. Pretty much every college coach you can name is in stands. In full critique mode.
"I just try to put them out of my mind," Williams said, "and play within the lines of the court."
That's easier said than done.
"They watch everything," Barber said of the coaches. "They watch off the court, on the court, how you do stuff. When I'm hanging with my friends, I have fun, but still I know who I am and how people look at me. I learn how to not get in trouble."
Bullock's butterflies come and go.
"I'm nervous at first," he said. "Then, once the game gets going, I'm cool."
The attention is flattering, but it can also be a burden. Brower, going into his 30th season, has seen it before. Ronald Curry was on everyone's wish list in basketball as well as football. Johnnie Story, Damon Bacote and Kevin Swann were other big names.
"You have to know who you can trust," he said. "You will get a feel for that after you deal with these coaches over a period of time. Some of them, of course, will try to tell you something of everything, but you have to know who to trust.
"I have two sons myself, and I try to handle (Barber) in much the same way. I tell him this isn't just about playing basketball. This is about life in general. I've been through it before, and I have a good feel for what he needs to do."
Williams' Uncle Boo knows a little something about it, too.
"I always tell the kids, the two most important decisions you'll ever make are where you'll go to school and who you'll marry," Boo said. "If either one works out bad, you can be miserable. You have to see where you fit."
That goes for all of them. And the thing is, the process is just starting.
"When I was a kid, I loved basketball," Barber said. "But I never thought I'd be where I am now."