with comment from Richie G.
“Even if today’s players are incredibly gifted, they grow up in a basketball environment that can only be called counterproductive. AAU basketball has replaced high school ball as the dominant form of development in the teen years. I coached my son’s AAU team for three years; it’s a genuinely weird subculture. Like everywhere else, you have good coaches and bad coaches, or strong programs and weak ones, but what troubled me was how much winning is devalued in the AAU structure. Teams play game after game after game, sometimes winning or losing four times in one day. Very rarely do teams ever hold a practice. Some programs fly in top players from out of state for a single weekend to join their team. Certain players play for one team in the morning and another one in the afternoon. If mom and dad aren’t happy with their son’s playing time, they switch club teams and stick him on a different one the following week. The process of growing as a team basketball player — learning how to become part of a whole, how to fit into something bigger than oneself — becomes completely lost within the AAU fabric.”
From Richie G:
Steve Kerr is a great coach and thoughtful man. His thoughts on AAU basketball, I think, are on point. His perspective is on how AAU ball affects the pro game. I see it also for its effect on younger players. Young players are doing things that not too many years ago would have been thought unthinkable. Many (most) are not as good with fundamentals nor playing as a member of a team. During the NBA playoffs, I will be rooting for teams that move the ball and players (Golden State, San Antonio) and against others that use the commonly seen stationery offense (where two shooters stay in the corner and a player uses the two high big men for pick and roll or pop opportunities). At Brant Lake we emphasize, at all ages, a motion or passing game style, in addition to developing fundamentals and working on individual improvement. It is imperative for players to learn what to do when the ball is NOT in their hand, as there are 10 players on the court at one time and one ball. Do the math!!