Some young athlete trying to better himself or herself has never been a problem with me. I encourage the effort. But this summer, I have developed a problem with AAU basketball. Not so much with girls or with junior high athletes. Or with high school basketball players whose number one sport is basket. Period.
I have always believed that AAU basketball hurts football prospects who play basketball for a second sport. Kids have been told since junior high that because you are tall, focus on basketball. Focus on basketball! Focus on basketball! There are two situations right now in Ohio who are prime examples. Both are seniors to be. One never played basketball until his junior year. One played football, but AAU was always the summer sport, but playing college basketball was there.
One is a big offensive tackle. Good feet. Needs to get into football shape, but you can see his potential. Last winter, after watching him play basketball, I told college coaches that he was the 2nd best linemen in Ohio. Now, in June, some of the Power 5 schools -“boy, he is better than we thought.” WOW! Do your homework, college coaches.
One is a tight end who is just developing physically, because he was always a potential college basketball player. No real developing as a football player, because AAU. Going into his senior year, guessin 6’5-210. If he focuses on college football, in two years, he will be very good college tight end.
Both of these college prospects will be very good college football players in two years. AAU basketball held them back, because AAU coaches selfishly tried to convince them that were top level basketball players. Now they have to spend time developing their bodies to get bigger/stronger/faster.
To some extent this has hurt their football recruiting. College coaches see them more as developmental players. They will develop and they will have an opportunity. More focus on football training and less AAU emphasis would have been helpful.
Former Ohio State All- American Taylor Decker was told that he was a potential college basketball star. Even Ohio State rejected him twice. I am too embarrassed to tell you, “why.” I told Taylor that he could make money playing football. He was not a top basketball prospect. Obviously, I am not the reason that he was a first round draft choice of the Detroit Lions, but I had enough courage to tell him to stop traveling with AAU stuff.
AAU is good for junior high players. Good for high school basketball players who hav no chance to make it in football. Good for individual sports. Good for travel sports like baseball. Not good for football players when it comes to scheduling conflicts with football.
I am not asking to specialize of focus on one sport, no way. What I am asking is that before a freshman makes AAU is focus, because he is 6’5, he should really sit back and evaluate the situation. Even though he has a chance to play on one of the best AAU teams in Ohio, will this help him get a D1 college scholarship? I don’t know either.
What I do know, colleges take 25 football recruits every year. Basketball – maybe 5 at the most. Do the math.
Of course, I am a high school football guy, but I am also a “kid’s guy.” What is best for the football player?