I recently had a chance to talk to a few coaches. Some were college coaches and others were high school coaches. And one of the most interesting aspects of their opinions is how much emphasis should be put on AAU basketball.
In one corner, you have a high school basketball team that you should be focusing on. They will be the team that you spend the winter playing for and hopefully winning games. The AAU program on the other hand is the team you play with during the off-season. But when events for both occur on the same weekend, what should you do as a player? What should be more important to you?
In the opinion of college coaches, there is no substitute for AAU basketball. This gives them a chance to see an athlete compete first hand with some of the other top basketball players in the country. It is vital to the recruiting process and many coaches will base most of their scholarship offers on the play of an athlete during the summer.
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When talking to a college coach, he mentioned that it matters little to him how the player does during the season. Athletes could put up huge numbers but those don’t matter a ton because it could be against bad competition. These coaches want to see them on the AAU circuit or at their camp during the summer. It allows the college coaches to work with them and see them against better competition.
But where is the loyalty to the high school program? Kids always dream of winning a State title but I know that AAU coaches and high school coaches are not exactly best friends. They want their kids at workouts, practices, and events on the weekend. But the problem is that in the majority of cases, the kid has to make a decision as to where he wants to focus more of his time.
Recently I was told a story about a talented younger basketball player in a program. The high school coach spoke with that athlete that he needed to attend his workouts so that they can work together as a team on a variety of different things. The response from the kid and his dad is that he didn’t want to lose his spot on the AAU team.
What is interesting about this story is that although the kid is young, he is limited athletically and it not one that will be boasting multiple scholarship offers when everything is said and done. Their family made it pretty obvious that the AAU workouts were more important than what the high school coach is teaching them.
No offense to AAU coaches but the majority of them are not qualified to coach varsity high school basketball. They may know how to get players into their program but few actually know much about coaching and being able to help these players really develop. These coaches know how to help get their kid recruited and try to get their name out.
So when AAU coaches and high school basketball coaches butt heads, the question is who wins? Which one should be more important? On the high school basketball side of things, you should have loyalty to your team and do what is in the best interest of your team. The better you do for your team, the better chance you will have to play AAU basketball.
As for AAU, it is important not to over do it and focus too much on this. Regardless of what level you think you can play, it is important to find a balance between both programs. Talk to the coaches about it and see what they say. It is not going to be something that is easy one way or another.