Today I am going to RANT about a topic that is becoming a problem. It’s really a problem that seems to be getting more out of control each year. I’m am talking about fall AAU basketball. It’s now finding its way more and more into the world of grammar school basketball for different reasons, none better than ego, money and control.

Recently a trend has started in grammar school basketball. That trend is talented grammar school players feeling they are too good to play for they grammar school teams. Now I’m not going to get into the reasons as to why this is, but I can tell you to start with the parents, if your looking for a answer. That’s because by kids skipping their grammar school teams. There parents are trying to send the signal that they are better than their classmates. The benefits of a talented kids playing with their classmates and friends would take too long to list here. But yet kids will play AAU in the fall. This to me is part of a culture that now surrounds youth basketball. There is no perspective as to what truly matters anymore.

So why would families pack up there cars drive 6 hours to play in a weekend basketball tournament in the fall? Why would families spend hundreds of dollars the weekend before Thanksgiving and the Holiday season to play basketball? Why would kids skip their local championships to travel 6 hours out of state to play basketball? The answer to all those questions are easy. First of all it’s fun playing new teams. Who wouldn’t want to do that? The problem with that is, you can’t always do what’s fun. Sometimes you have to do what is right. Ego and control are really what this is all about and it’s that simple. Parents are looking for hype anywhere they can find it. They will basically do anything to get there kids hype. Coaches on the other hand want to control kids and the only way they can to do this is by playing and practicing as often as possible. Hence kids rather than training, playing for their middle school team or with local travel team are running around the country in November…. NUTS!

In the spring and summer AAU takes center stage. It’s 5 months of basketball. It’s kids traveling around the country competing. Seeing the world, meeting friends and of course being seen by college coaches. It can be very costly and time consuming. But I think most believe it is worth it. Now basketball in the fall? Traveling and spending money during the start of the school year is a great example of where we are going these days. I have heard it all recently. AAU teams practicing in the fall and winter. Playing every weekend and coaches encouraging kids not to play with their middle school and Mid Monmouth teams. It’s shameful and wrong. It’s also more proof of folks who are clueless as to how to develop players and give them a quality and full rounded basketball experience.

The quickest way to get a parents attention these days is to use the term “ELITE.” Put elite in front of anything and parents will run to it with open arms. These days fall basketball teams everywhere are calling themselves elite. Well take it from the guy who knows best. There is nothing Elite about these teams. Just like when coaches and parents try to justify traveling 6 hours to play in a fall tournament and say they need the competition.. “TOTAL BULLSHIT”. They are going in hopes of someone hyping up there damm kid or trying to impress a kid from another team. When in fact they should be focusing on their kids development and overall basketball experience. Not the one or two kids who are the real reason why a team is making that 6 hour trip one way in the first place.

Yesterday NBS had its senior day. Rather being at NBS honoring those seniors some kids were at a basketball tournament 6 hours away. It was disappointing to me, to say the least. But it’s also the way it is these days. That because as the NCAA continues to try and kill off AAU on the boys side. More and more of the boys basketball model slides into the girls game. Hype, selfishness and money are becoming way to important.

This weekend at the Hoop Group I will run a basketball combine. There will not be ranking or hype surrounding the event. It will be simply a chance for grammar school kids to work on their games. We are going to let each kid know what part of their game needs work. It will be a real and a honest breakdown of their game. Something kids need more of… not traveling around in search of hype. They get a enough of that in the spring and summer. The key is to prepare them for that time of year. They can only do this if you give them the tools. I hope we can do our part in helping do that. THEN LET THEM DO THE REST!

Related Post