The AAU basketball scene is a complicated one, filled with many athletes, parents, coaches, and event coordinators around the country there is a lot of mystery surrounding the industry to those not involved and that makes a lot of sense considering the general randomness involved.  I’ve seen a lot of good basketball, a lot of bad basketball, and so much in between that I could’ve never imagined coming across in my thoughts about working AAU events throughout the last two months.  Let’s take a look at the three major takeaways I noticed from my first two months on the scene.

AAU Parents and Coaches don’t get enough credit.

I know what a lot of you are probably thinking…”Don’t you make fun of the way a lot of these parents and coaches act at events'” and while that is true, it doesn’t take away from the MASSIVE commitment these people make to watch their kids have an opportunity to compete and hopefully earn a scholarship.  We take a deep dive into the way some of these people handle certain situations or conduct their business, but at the end of the day these people are taking their weekends to spend hard earned money to help these kids earn a chance at achieving their dreams, that’s one of the most admirable things an adult can do in this world and we have no choice but to commend it in the highest fashion.

The extent in which some parents will go include driving all up and down the east coast of the country to make sure their kid gets to their event on time and they’ll sit in uncomfortable bleachers all day long watching hours and hours of basketball, staying in crappy hotels, (sometimes) and eating more subway/golden corral than any human should.  The coaches that usually work 9-5 jobs Monday through Friday will spend their weekends with 15 year olds, coaching them up to the best of their abilities and spending their hard earned money on giving these kids an opportunity to be a part of something with greater purpose.  My hat goes off to all of you guys and girls for doing what you do.

No Shoe Circuit No Problem

Obviously the teams that are on one of the three major shoe circuits (Nike, Under Armor, Adidas) get a lot of attention due to the high profile affiliations with big time recruits, NBA Players, notable coaches, and media coverage they are affiliated with throughout the summer.  It’s all deserving and these teams are loaded with talent each and every year, (most of the time) but there is so much outside of that that the casual AAU basketball fan doesn’t realize.  Josiah James with TMP Elite, Caleb Mills with PSB, and Talton Jones with Flight 22 just to name a few.  The talent is deep in this region and seeing it up close and personal over the last couple of months has been really eye opening for me.

The other thing is that there’s so much talent around the region that hadn’t been noticed like it should have before these few months and seeing kids make a name for themselves in front of your own eyes is really cool to see.  Having them thank you for write-ups/tweets is always rewarding knowing your helping them get some extra exposure is a really good feeling regardless of how significant any of it is.  Knowing that playing a small role in helping a young hooper achieve his or her dreams is one of the most rewarding things about my first five months with Phenom Hoop Report.

One Word to Describe AAU Refs: Electric

Ahhhh, nothing beats a referee in gym shorts, amirite'  In all honesty, I don’t know if there’s anything quite like AAU refs in the entire sports universe.  They talk back to players, coaches, and parents at a high-major level.  They can be susceptible to physical injury from an angry crowd or 15 year old.  They don’t take no s*** from nobody, and the best part of it all is most of the time, they do their job really well.  For those who don’t know we, as is with most AAU event organizers get our officials through a separate entity.  I don’t know the details of it, but we have no affiliation with the officials other than using them for the event.  So for all of you parents/coaches reading this, please don’t come up to Rick, Jamie, Brandon, Jeff, Myself, or anyone with Phenom complaining about the officials.

AAU Refs are like arguments at a bar, you don’t know if it’s going to end up with the sharing of a drink or a full on worldstar street brawl, there’s simply nothing like it.

I hope you guys come out to see some good basketball in July, we have a ton of events with a lot of talent lined up.  Be sure to click on the events tab for more information.




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