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Old Tue Jun 12, 2001, 12:38pm
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A really good article on AAU basketball. Too long to copy
but here's a link

and interesting passages:

But the biggest difference between the two
worlds is the atmosphere. Witness the boys'
Northeast Shoot-Out, New Haven, where hardly
any parents watched. Simone says the upper
level boys' game is overwhelmingly urban and
that many of his kids do not have a stable
parental structure. So he winds up chauffeuring
his players to and from tournaments.

Simone also does not charge any money to be in
the program, which allows lower income kids
to participate. He funds his program through his
tournament, sneaker sponsorships and limited

In contrast, girls' basketball is still
predominantly a suburban animal. That means
the majority of players are white. So a top girls
program like the Starters can charge $1,800 per
season and not sacrifice its talent level.


Although it has not happened yet, many fear the
girls' AAU game could go down that path, if the
shoe companies start pouring more money in.
Karl Herbert, an assistant boys' coach at
Northwest Catholic in West Hartford and
Starters girls' coach, says his experience with
AAU has been overwhelmingly positive. He
acknowledges the fears, but says girls have
different goals than the boys and operate on a
more humble level. They do not dream of the
WNBA in the same way boys think about the

"I don't think it will get as corrupt as the boys',"
Herbert says. "But will it get more corrupt?

Since AAU basketball has been at the forefront
for less than ten years, the effects of the
subculture on kids have not been fully gauged.
But the NCAA has made up its mind. Last
month, the organization passed new guidelines
that will phase out the summer recruiting period
for college coaches.

The intent, though not explicitly stated, is to
remove influence from AAU coaches and return
it to the high school coaches. Most people
involved in AAU say this will do nothing to
reduce the problems associated with certain
coaches; kids are going to play in the summer,
one way or another.

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