There is nothing left to do these days other than fight though; It’s that simple. Some many things are going on these days, it’s impossible to know where to start. The NCAA women’s basketball season is starting in some conferences while other conferences have delayed the start of the season or canceled. Either way it has a serious impact on recruiting. The AAU off season has done what it does every year create total havoc and stress for kids everywhere. The difference is that this year it’s much more painful due to Covid 19. The high School basketball season has been pushed back and there is hope a season will take place. Now the question is how do kids, coaches and players navigate the entire thing. Well I’m not sure I have the answer but I do have a few thoughts.
The NCAA season is starting to look like it going to be different than any other year. But what is most important is that many kids on rosters will be returning for a 5th and 6th year in some cases a year from now. Players have all been granted an additional year. The effect this is going to have on kids in high school cannot be overstated. Where schools are finding the money for remaining players? and then have money for incoming freshman class is a mystery to all. Unless the NCAA chips in, scholarship money is going to hard to come by for everyone. Worse the immediate transfer and play rule will without question get passed this year. Meaning as a Big East coach told me “we are in the market for “A” level high school recruits or transfers”. Folks that’s affects a lot of good players. Because in most years schools don’t get there “A” kid. Especially at the mid major level. But these are the times we live in folks. You going to have to be good as in real good the next two years in order to catch coaches eyes. Things have simply gotten a little bit tougher. So kids will have to get tougher and work a little harder and be a little more focused. It will start with becoming gym rats and taking real stock of your game. This is not the time to lie to yourself. Considering the next time a college coach will see you is April 15th and that is a pipe dream to say the least.
The AAU season is right on point this year. Kids jumping from team to team. Coaches lying to kids. Parents lying to coaches and everyone doing what AAU does better than anyone .. BRING OUT THE WORST IN PEOPLE. This year has been shocking to me. Only because of the Covid 19, I really believed people would take a bigger interest in taking care of each other. Well this year AAU has been at its all time worst. We have kids left out in the cold without teams. Kids playing on teams they know they don’t fit on; but have nowhere else to go. Then off course we have kids who are getting no guidance whatsoever. Some will overcome these obstacles . While others are going to watch their dream die a slow death waiting on a miracle.
But what shocks me most is coaches trying to convince a kid playing their last year of AAU to back up other players and be a role player off the bench without having a true impact. You know the line “everyone will play”.. well that’s is clearly not true. Destiny Adams and Justine Pissott are not playing the same amount of time as the rest of your players. In AAU only 7 players get the real minutes. You FIND time for everyone else. Those teams going five in and five out get that AAU Is about recruiting not winning games as so many would want you to believe. That only matters when the AAU COACH IS GETTING PAY BY SHOE COMPANIES. That is about 3 teams everyone else is either pretending to be a Shoe team or don’t get it.
Everyone is in the same boat fighting for attention now. This has led to the widest AAU off season that I can remember. Kids forgetting, playing your natural position matters, getting to showcase their talents and getting top coaching is everything. Parents worrying about the being part of a brand name, not getting there child in a healthy environment. Coaches flat out mis-representing what a kid should expect. Folks let me explain something to you. Gabbie Ross, Justine Pissott, Madison St. Rose, Faith Pappas, Taylor Derkack, Kiley Capstraw, Zoe Brooks, Tyonna Bailey, Angelica Velez, Ally Carman, Rosie Scognamigilo and I can go on and on.. are not coming off anyone’s damm AAU TEAMS BENCH.. that’s a fact! Don’t be silly. They not playing on the “B” team.
Now why is that so hard to tell kids? Well I can tell you two reasons. First ego and pride. Parents get angry when you make it clear another child is better than there kid. Next pride, because kids all want everyone to think they are on a certain level as a player. Finally the coaches kno, painting a story that fits the narrative is always better than the kid leaving. They all believe they can put the fires out later down the road. It’s a vicious cycle that takes on a whole different look this year due to the coronavirus virus. Because some good people are going to get hurt.
But let me address a topic that just sets me off. In the year of the Covid. We got kids being allowed to move up on teams. In some cases pushing out kids playing there last year of AAU. That’s right kids with no offers are watching freshman play U17s or moving up the food change. Now can somebody, anybody explain to me how this makes any sense. Those younger players don’t know this year is different? That older kids are fighting for there athletic career? Are people this selfish? Are AAU COACHES this desperate to win games? Folks what the hell is going on? Give the 2022 and 2023 kids the exposure and spotlight.. because, trust me when I tell you this… THERE GOING TO NEED IT. Why is all this going on? Because coaches are afraid to lose kids. Their scared the parents of talented kids will walk into another organizations waiting arms. So what if a few kids playing their last year of AAU after not having a recruiting high school season, lose there chance to be seen a little more. Who cares as long as we can brag to coaches we have the next star. Hey Newsflash coaches, in case you didn’t know, they can play there age group for one year and you can still brag.
I had a AAU coach tell me yesterday a sophomore was going to swing between her u16 and the “A” LEVEL U17.. because she looks great. I told this coach flat out. Your full of shit. You like the damm kid and you don’t want to lose her for some reason. But folks this is what’s going on these days. The bigger problem is many kids know their in a bad situation and stay .. BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO GO!! I am all for kids playing up as long as a older player in your program doesn’t suffer because of it.
Now the NCAA these folks are nothing more than phonies. They know many kids are stressing out. They update kids about every three months and leave them hanging out to sweat things out. They do nothing to ease their stress or anxiety. They know the entire high school recruiting business is in a bad way. So what have they done..ZERO… exactly ZERO. What have they done for 2022 and 2023 classes.. ZERO. So let me give them some advice. Make April a seniors only live period. Extend the Summer recruitment period to 40 days. PROMOTE ELITE CAMPS.. Allow coaches to attend open gyms in non Scholastic setting. In other words give kids as many chances as possible to be seen and show there worth. Instead I’m sure the NCAA will spend time chasing M.I.T for giving players new pencil holders.
The high School season has been pushed back to January. This clearly was the right thing to do. It gives everyone hope that the season can resume at some point. I only hope and pray this is the case. The Shore Conference can have a SCT Tournament. But it will be mean people working together and more importantly understanding it won’t be perfect. But I know this …its better than not having a tournament. I know SJV should not be robbed of a chance to repeat defend their SJV crown. I personally wish everyone would just play a indepent schedule across the state. Since, there’s no state tournament right now. My question is what happens to JV and Freshman basketball. I also believe that many seniors should return and play a 5th year of high school if they don’t find a college they could live with… times are different. The best idea I have seen by far for a SCT tournament gave from Rumson Fair Haven Head Coach Dave Callahan.. it makes too much sense on every front….
Now at the end of the day. Those kids who work the hardest will be just fine. They are going to have to be Mentally tough and be Patient along the way. But their time will come. But those around them will need to think about doing what’s right for a change and be more concerned with protecting each other’s future… IT’S NOT THAT HARD!