1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

AAU Basketball is indeed the devil

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by zagoshe, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    I've often gotten into arguments on these threads with guys like Ryan Sonner, Crimsonace, Brian Griffin - guys who have said for years that AAU basketball is ruining American basketball and I've often defended AAU because, hey, it has "produced" a lot of great players.

    Of course, for years and years I have resisted putting my kids into AAU because I just didn't like it.

    But now this year I finally relented with my youngest because all of his buddies are playing AAU and he wanted to join this one team with them and play all summer and they get to travel and shit (it is 13-under).

    After three weekends of watching this I am hereby formally apologizing to Sonner, Griffin and anyone else I've argued with on this AAU stuff because you are all right -- this AAU stuff is bad news and here is why based on my observations:

    1.) The games are not officiated. Oh there are refs and they get paid their $20 per game but they are basically there to make sure the game is done in 50 minutes or less so they can get all the games in. They don't call fouls, hardly ever, they don't call travels, they don't call carries, they don't call illegal picks or over the back -- they I suppose are "letting them play" but of course, letting them play means they are learning how to play the wrong way.

    2.) The parents are sickos who all think they are going to get their kids exposure for Division I scholarships - even though the overwhelming majority - say 95 percent of the players I've seen at three tournaments (two local, one "national" whatever the fuck that means seeing as it was in Ohio and from what I could tell all the teams were Eastern Ohio or Western Pennsylvania teams) better grow a helluva lot in the next five years and also better get a helluva lot better to play college hoops. But the parents scream at officials and coaches and act like every game is the seventh game of the NBA Finals. I couldn't take it and have walked out of the gyms and listened to the radio in my car for large stretches.

    3.) The coaches are mostly John Wooden-wannabes (my favorites are the guys wearing the jackets that read something like "Tri-State Basketball Elite, Chitwood Stars Tournament Champions 17-under 2001!!!" but the whole thing is ridiculous. My son's team has had ten "practices" and all they've done is learn plays and scrimmage. And apparently that is how most teams are run -- which, why am I paying $575 for an activity kids should be doing in the summer on the playgrounds (scrimmaging) by themselves.

    4.) There is no coaching going on. There is a lot of screaming and ranting and yelling - or there are coaches who say absolutely nothing and just sit there -- but the bottom line is the coaches who have the better teams with better players all want to keep those players so they don't teach or discipline them or correct them when they act like assholes. A great example of this -- one kid was clearly the best player of a team who was playing on the other court opposite ours (that is the other thing, they play cross court so they can maximize the teams - translation MAKE MORE MONEY -- in these tournaments) but he was a hothead and he was knocking kids down, tripping kids just being a wacko because his team was losing. Of course, he gets a technical foul after one of his little outbursts, he then motherfucks the ref as he is walking away and gets a second technical foul and is thrown out of the game - he walks right past the coach and sits down and the coach doesn't say a word to him - not even "you are being an idiot". I asked one of the other parents and they said the kid always acts like that.

    5.) My son - whose team has actually won some games - is having fun with his buddies and he is making some new friends through it so I suppose it isn't a total loss but I feel like I can't take another four or five weeks of this shit because not only is the basketball for the most part awful, the cesspool that surrounds these tournaments make it miserable to sit there and watch it all.

    Does anyone else have any similar experiences with this AAU crap?
  2. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Where I can I sign up for one of those ref gigs?
  3. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    Maybe the woman who refuses to work at Taco Bell should try for one of those "officiating" gigs.

    Zag, I've heard plenty of comments both ways about AAU. It probably makes some of the kids better, but wonder if it's worth the parents' money and all the other drawbacks.
  4. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    Sam - I will say this:

    Yes, kids are playing more games and the competition at SOME (emphasis on the word some because a lot of these tournaments are money makers for some club and thus anyone with a check can get in. The first tourney my son's team played in, they won the championship by beating four teams who were fucking awful) of these tournaments is better than say normal travel basketball.

    So there is I suppose some benefit to it but I'm not sure how much of a benefit it really is because all they are doing is playing more games and at this age - 11 and 12 year olds -- I think they should be hammered with fundamentals more than just travel around and play controlled pick-up games.
  5. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Get used to it.

    Within 10-15 years, club basketball (mainly AAU) will REPLACE high school basketball in large regions of the country.
  6. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Zag, you pretty much summed up all the negatives.

    It does give more court time, but at what price?

    In a perfect world, AAU would be a great idea, but this is not a perfect world.
    And what should scare everyone is this is where American athletics are moving. We are laying off teachers, so how long until we cut major portions of school athletics?

    Right now middle school players in my district get 10 games from a half assed coach. That is it. When I was nine I had a 20 game season.

    Welcome to NCLB America.
  7. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    The lack of fundamental is IMO the most glaring problem with basketball at the highest levels in the last generation.

    It's not nutrition and taking care of one's body ... that's continuing to improve over time. Genetics and evolution are making for bigger and stronger players. Many perform athletic feats which continue to push the envelope.

    But I'm convinced that a generation still trying to be like Mike - think they can simply dribble to the bucket and slam over all five opponents - has hurt the game more than it has helped. They're not learning fundamentals of defense, ball-handling, passing and shooting ... or I'll just say that these skills don't seem to be there the way they used to be.

    I don't like sounding like some old fogey who loves to say "They don't make 'em like they used to." But when it comes to basketball, I feel like all the other improvements have been nullified because they want to fly when they barely know how to crawl.
  8. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Just wait, Zag. You haven't even gotten to the part yet where the sleazy coach becomes a street agent and tries to steer your kid to a school for money from a shoe company.
  9. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    We're not to far from football being the only true high school sport left.

    In some ways we're already there.
  10. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    I seriously doubt that AAU will replace high school ball. The NCAA can conjure up some new legislation if necessary to stem the tide.
  11. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    Good point. Baseball, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics...traveling/AAU/Junior Olympic teams have become so dominant. Basketball's the one I hope is never lost, as I've always been a high school basketball nut. Blame Hoosiers and the 1960 Edgerton Flying Dutchmen (for you Minnesotans). I guess there's still cross country.

    Sam, I'd disagree slightly with your point about fundamentals. I think players today might lack some of the understanding of the game that players had before, as far as knowing how to make cuts, swing the ball, help on defense, etc. But in many other facets, the fundamentals are much more advanced today. When I watch old tapes from the 1980s, the most glorious era for many NBA fans, it's startling to see how few players were good ball handlers, or how many guys couldn't go left. Today you have a ton more guys who can handle the ball, no matter their size. The defense is much better today, partly because coaches emphasize it more, but also because players just plain play harder on that end now. And there are just as many great shooters today as there has ever been. People lament the lost art of the midrange jumper, but it's still there. And today more guys are more efficient at shooting off the dribble and shooting from long range.
  12. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    I can say with some degree of certainty that I will never have to worry about that with regards to my son - unless he goes through a ridiculous growth spurt and develops a love for the game that goes beyond 'a chance to hang with buddies and get pizza and swim in the hotel pool' -- because I'm realistic about his abilities but you are right, there are some real scumbums at these tournaments running these teams.

    And there were at least three of them who referred to themselves as "reverend" but based on their actions they were certainly preachers of a different gospel than the one I read....
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page