AAU and High School Basketball, The Issue of CONTROL!


The big issue of AAU is control…who has the control of players? Their parents? Their AAU coaches? Their high school coaches? Shoe companies?

A lot of average high school coaches don’t like AAU basketball because they feel they can’t control and influence their players to the level they want.  Some of them do things such as hold back college letters using the excuse, “we don’t want this to get to their head.”  However, holding mail back is illegal and pursecutable by law but it seems no one has any harsh feelings towards those coaches.

There are some high school coaches out there who coached at the collegiate level, usually as assistants.  Because these coaches have been through the recruiting process, they usually approach the situation pro-AAU.  It is easier to see a great deal of players at the same event against greater competition than see one or two players all the way across the nation against an average high school conference game.

A lot of AAU programs are signed with shoe companies.  This makes it a lot more difficult to make your own decision.  The programs who are filtered money from Nike, adidas, or Reebok usually push their kids to college schools sponsored by those companies, however, in the end it is STILL the player’s decision.  A lot of the AAU coaches in shoe sponsored programs do do some of the things that average high school coaches do including hold back letter and information from certain schools, which is again wrong and illegal, but if a college coach likes you enough, they WILL find a way to contact you. Additionally, if a parent doesn’t like the way their son or daughter is being treated with an AAU program don’t blame all of AAU…get out of that program!  There are many other AAU teams that he/she could join if they are talented enough.  There are good AAU teams out their as well.

From my experiences throughout AAU and travel ball, it seems the best AAU teams are those who are self supported.  This way, there is no outside influences about players’ recruitment.  Usually, these are the teams who have grown up together and the coaches are in it for the best interest of the player.  In these programs, parents are playing an active role and are much involved with the AAU process.  These situations are the best because your children are with coaches you trust.

The bottom line is that AAU basketball has helped a lot of kids.  There are influences in certain programs but the majority of AAU teams are not corrupt as only a small percentage are connected with shoe companies.  Many players who would have settled for Division III basketball playing high school basketball have earned Division I scholarships through AAU and it is a program that cannot be denied.  It is here to stay, love it or hate it.


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