The AAU season is starting to kick off this week for many. Kids will be practing with there teams and coaches. In New Jersey, it seems the basketball season just ended yesterday. Meanwhile in many states across the country, they are still in there state tournaments. Call it what you want, it’s the new reality in New Jersey. Everyone is going to have adjust or suffer the consequences if they don’t.
NJ Rise 17U National team is thrilled to welcome Hope Masonius @HMasonius to the team and the NJ Rise family. Hope comes off a phenomenal HS season and we look forward to all she offers on & off the court! WELCOME HOME HOPE! @newjerseyrise @EJayArrow @TinyGreenNBS @nlowe11 pic.twitter.com/CzWvalJ0pK
— NJ Rise 17U Napolitano (@NJRiseAliNap) March 10, 2023
I have been watching kids making AAU decisions. Like every year some are making good decisions and some are not. Some kids want to be in tbe right spot but can’t find the right team. But these days most kids are giving it a go and making the best of there situation. Sometimes a kid or a team can catch a break. The NJ RISE U17 team has lots of talent. They have kids who if they get exposure would most certainly benefit a college. The problem is, truthfully, before last week, weather they knew it or not. I do not believe college coaches would have seen this team play very much.. That’s just a fact of life in the new shortened recruiting era. There were no heavily recruited players on the team. Few if any had a D1 offer. But that all changed with one name, HOPE MASONIUS. When Hope Masonius decided to return home to her roots. It gave the NJ RISE the star power it needed. One player can sometimes draw in coaches sometimes. Hope is heavily recruited and coaches will certainly be at her games. Now all those talented NJ RISE players, will get the exposure they need. It’s just not about talent, it’s about opportunity. The Rise kids now have a real fighting chance to show they are legit. Something quite frankly they didn’t have a week ago. Recruiting is always a moving target and the NJ RISE is now going to be a target for coaches
There are also kids who are highly recruited. They have name recognition. But they also don’t understand how things can change in a moment. I am watching some highly visuable kids with D1 offers get ready to learn a harsh lesson about recruiting. They have been convinced and sold a bill of goods, that there AAU team is a solid one. What they don’t know is the people who matter most, dont believe there AAU team is solid or good. They have unknowingly put pressure on themselves. Now coaches don’t care about AAU scores but if your a D1 player, your AAU team can’t spent the summer getting blown out. The level of competition some of these kids are facing is screaming exactly that… blowouts. Worst if a kid then quits to save face or reputation; coaches know why. It’s so easy for a kid to go from highly thought of to not thought of at all. I believe some kids with big reputations and high recruting profiles are going to be in a difficult spot by the time the summer ends. Protecting your recruiting status is so underrated these days. I believe a few kids are going to learn this lesson the hard way.
The Shoreshots, Exodus, Philly Rise are programs with real name recognition and star power. They have multiple D1 and Power 5 players. College coaches will swarm to these organizations games. These programs are on a different level, recruiting wise. Exposure is not a problem, for these kids it comes down to performance. But there’s are also up and coming programs like the Fort Hawks. They have lots of talent, D1 talent in fact. They are building something special. They also have made a reputation for developing kids. But the new recruiting calendar makes it hard on programs like the Hawks. Coaches are not trying find kids as much these days. They want to go where they know talented kids are playing, not guess. Coaches are not roaming game to game anymore peeking in hoping to find a unknown player, a diamond in the rough. Those days are gone the way of the dinosaur. The Fort Hawks will need to do what so many other up and coming programs must do. They have 2 months to create a buzz and win the interest of coaches. They need to set the table now. They have something of value…TALENT! But that talent must find a way to the light to be relevant in the live recruiting period. Up and coming teams must be on there soap box and preaching. There recruiting window is starting now.
The April and May recruiting periods are overrated. That’s because the 2nd wave of the recruiting portal is in full effect. Most college coaches are focused on the portal. Most colleges coaches are having official visits with transfers. Most college want to be on campus with there kids. Recruiting your own players has taken on a new meaning. Most AAU programs don’t understand this. They don’t realize the long game is the key to exposure. The two summer live recruiting periods are where the money is at now. Figuring out what events to attend and how to showcase your kids in the best light is what APRIL, MAY and JUNE should be all about. It’s easier said than done, but kids would be wise to play the long game.
I see kids are back in the gym. It breaks my heart when kids don’t understand how to prepare for July. I see kids skipping shooting sessions for strenght and conditioning. I see kids skipping strenght and conditioning for shooting. There is no daily balance. They both go hand in hand daily. I see kids AAU teams getting ready to practice 4 days a week and then play on the weekends. It breaks my heart especially for the kid trying to develop there game. Do you really think playing against tbe same 10 kids 4 days a week helps a kid to develop in the off season? Don’t be silly. I know many kids will pay for such indiscretions. Balance is everything in the spring. Some kids are going to find it and others will not.
The AAU season is here and it’s different this time around, kids and coaches hopefully understand this. Getting exposure is harder than ever. The decisions of organizations and kids are really the difference between sucess and failure, it’s not always a talent issue. Now organizations and players must ask themselves does there current situation help there recruiting? Exposure? Now is the time to be truthful about your situation. Because once you are, you can figure out what you need to do to increase your chances for exposure. You can convince yourself of anything if you want. But tbe recruiting period will always bring truth to your doorstep. Hopefully your INNER CIRCLE will prepare you to open that door. Because in the end, doesn’t it always comes down to your INNER CIRCLE’S JUICE and ability to open doors for you anyway?🙏