Two years ago, Nina Emance of TRINITY HALL sat in my office crying. Why was she crying? Because she was confused as to what AAU team she should play for. She asked me if she should play for the NJ RISE or the NJ SHORESHOTS. Being the sensitive guy I am, I said “stop being a baby and just make your own dam decision” Her father then called me and said Nina was really mixed up. I told her dad stop over thinking it. Nina was a great player a future lock D1 player, wherever she goes she will be fine. I was right, she went to the NJ RISE and had a productive summer. A year later she moved over to the Shoreshots, and the rest is history. She became one of the most recruited players in the state amd commited to Harvard.
Everyday some parent of a talented player will ask me, if where there daughter plans to play AAU is the right place. I tell them him the same them I tell every parent. I can’t give them that answer. Now of course some people think I’m advising every kid in my program where to play AAU or attend high school. I have long ago learned to just ignore these people. You see I know people need a scapegoat when kids leave or don’t join there program. Do you know why I don’t voice my opinion on what a kid of family shoukd do? Because it’s none of my business.
Every year I watch some kids pick the wrong AAU team. This year is no different. The only real difference is the consequences are so much more severe now. I usually know a kid has made the wrong decision long before things start going south. Long before they realize the recruiting is not going to happen, 99.9% of the time. It’s usually due to a few simple things. Ego, wanting to brag to their peers by wearing a brand name AAU uniform, chasing meanlingless rankings and hype, a lack of understanding of their ability or listening to people with a zero track record . The latter reason is by far the biggest reason kids have a bad AAU experience. That’s because parents love the attention more than the kids. They love feeling there kids AAU program is considered better than another kids program. Regardless if I know it’s a mistake or not, I don’t tell a kid or kids where to play.. it’s none of my business. That’s between the kid, their family and AAU organizations trying to convince that kid to play for them.
When Ally Carman was considering leaving the ShoreShots organization. She wanted a new experience and her chance to play on the National AAU stage. She had long committed to BC. Some advised her to go play with the Philly Rise. SHE NEEDED THE COMPETITION to get better. She needed better coaching, she needed to play for the Rise to get ranked. Now I knew all this was total bullshit but keep it to myself. Do you know why? It’s none of my dam business where Ally plays AAU. My job was to help her develop her game.
Ally Carman chose to play for the Philly Rise. Outside of getting nice gear, fancy shoes and bragging she played EYBL, the basketball experience set her back in my opinion. Now it was not Ally’s fault or the Rise’s fault. It just didn’t work out. This happens at every level, every day of the week. Now let me say this tho, I 150% knew it was a mistake from day one. I also believed Ally needed and wanted that athletic experience. It was not my place to tell her where to play. Confidence, swag and status all matter when a kid is choosing a AAU program and growing as a player. Folks need to remember this, especially when they don’t have shit to do with a kids development over the years in any dam way. I also told Tracey Sabino she had a army of outsiders coming after program and weather she knows it or not ALLY will not be the last one, trust me… AND THAT’S A FACT!
Kids are picking and switching AAU teams right now, often hiding that fact from friends and teammates. I know a D1 player, she and her family are one of the good people. They are the loyal type who care about everyone. They don’t believe in stepping over dead bodies and other folks dreams. But the fact of the matter is, she is in real trouble. She had a disappointing high school season. I know her AAU team is going to bring her little if any exposure. She knows this as well but those around her have convinced her, it will all work out… FOLKS TRUST ME, AN’T SHE GOING TO WORK OUT.
I know a girl whose recruiting stock is high and climbing daily. But guess what? She switched AAU teams at the advice of people who would’ve been better off minding their own dam business. She and her parents were trying to decide what AAU team to play. Now I didn’t give her a drop of advice because it’s none of my business. Yet I know things were rolling just beautiful where she was last year. Exposure✔️..Development ✔️…Competition ✔️..D1 offers✔️ Happy✔️…But my guess what? She is listening to the wrong people. Both she and her family are not new to the dirty world of AAU. But they are new too and about to learn how quickly a players status can change and how quickly college coaches can turn on a kid.
I recently had a parent of 9th grader say this to me. ” We are changing teams to play EYBL this summer” I laughed my ass off, you see this is ego bullshit. First I watched her all high school season. She had a army of insiders hyping her every move. She believed every word. But unlike her built in hype machine, I actually talk to college coaches and despite all the hype. Not a single one told she is a top freshman in the 2026 class, in fact she not the best freshmsn on her own team. Oh yeah, another thing, there is no such thing as 9th grade EYBL… there is no 6th grade EYBL. EYBL is the best brand in AAU basketball because it appeals to a kids competitive nature and parents ego’s. I had a kid who once said “I play for **** EYBL” Next year there going to move me up. Well that young lady is in college getting a great education these days. But basketball is no longer part of her life. Why? Her dad spent every waking minute, listening to people with a zero track record. Now if you don’t mind me bragging. Does anyone.. I said anyone want to compare my track record in such matters when it comes to AAU impacting recruiting? Yeah, I DIDN’T THINK SO.
When Justine Pissott was considering leaving the Shoreshots who she was with since 2nd grade for the Philly Belles. We had exactly one conversation. I told her these exact words “I don’t give a shit where you play. ”Do you know why? One, because I love her like a daughter. Two, because I love her family and three the most important reason of all…it was none of my damm business! Now many people accused me of telling her to leave the Shoreshots. But again it was not my place to advise her, one way or another. By the way, for the record, I knew it was the smartest thing she ever did from day one. But some people need to learn to shut the hell up and let these kids make their own choices with there families.
Now if you want to pass along some information to a kid. Like what you believe is in important in a kids decision go right ahead. Certainly if you know of something that can in danger a kids’ future, you want to pass that information along. You can even give a kid the pro’s and con’s if you really feel the need. But you don’t tell a kid where to play. I tell kids every day, Dawn Karpell is a master coach and it upsets some people. Well too bad because it’s how I feel. But I’m certainly never telling a kid to go play for Coach Karpell. That’s something a kid needs to figure out on there own…what you need to do is
JUST BE HONEST 👌