AAU and exposure tournaments seem to be taking over, especially since the big time shoe companies have begun sponsoring their own tournaments and camps. If one looks at a Top 100 recruit’s summer it would be astonishing at how many games and miles these kids are playing and traveling.
Every weekend seems to be littered with an event; whether it be an Adidas, Nike, or Under Armour sponsored camp or tournament. It is no secret that the all mighty dollar is responsible for the chaotic pace and seemly endless tournaments all over the country throughout the summer. The shoe companies have more influence in today’s recruiting than it did a couple of years ago. Now the company sponsoring the school has a big pull in whether a kid will look into their program.
Look at the Maverick Rowan recruitment, it was rumored that his dad wanted him at a Nike school but he preferred Adidas. Dennis Smith Jr. has played on an Adidas sponsored team and therefore was a staple at all the Adidas tournaments and exposure camps. This is another reason why many predict that he will end up at NC State.
However, one has to question if this is in the best interest of the high school athlete. On one hand there is no doubt that these camps can be a great springboard for a student athlete to gain an opportunity at a four-year degree. Tyson Carter is a case-in-point at how a strong summer showing can catapult one’s status. At one point Carter was a lowly rated two-star recruit, but he picked up 12 offers in July alone. Most of these offers from high level D1 programs, NC State included. Now he’s a four-star recruit The exposure and stage of these events gave him the chance to shine.
Then you have a case of a player getting injured who was setting the country on fire with his elite athleticism and skill in Dennis Smith. Smith could have gotten hurt practicing or playing a pick-up game, but his hectic schedule could have been a factor in him tearing his ACL. Dennis was injured at the Adidas Nations event in Los Angles at the end of July. Leading up to this event Dennis played in the following locations in July alone: Atlanta, New York, Las Vegas, and in between these he went to the Stephen Curry Select Camp in Oakland. He also played in two more tournaments in Myrtle Beach and Richmond.
That is a jammed pack July. One that will take a tole on even the best athletes in the world, especially a teenager who is still developing physically. I am not going to place blame on his schedule completely, but it could have been a factor.
In my opinion, and I am not alone, I think that they should allow for a longer recruiting period for college coaches. This could smooth out the schedule and give recruits more time to recover and practice. I also think that AAU is causing players to be less prepared for college basketball.
Summer is the prime time to get better through skill work and drills, but AAU forces a kid to play so many games that they have little time to devote to getting better. With the travel and the amount of games played, a team cannot have more than a couple of light shoot-arounds and walk-throughs in order to be physically ready for the grueling AAU schedule.
Kobe Bryant has spoken out about how European players are more skilled and developed than U.S. kids. He says the main factor is,
“AAU basketball, Horrible, terrible AAU basketball. It’s stupid. It doesn’t teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don’t know how to post. They don’t know the fundamentals of the game. It’s stupid.” (NBC Sports)
When asked how this could be corrected he responded,
“Teach players the game at an early age and stop treating them like cash cows for everyone to profit off of,” Bryant said. “That’s how you do that. You have to teach them the game. Give them instruction.” (NBC Sports)
“That’s a deep well because then you start cutting into people’s pockets,” Bryant continued. “People get really upset when you start cutting into their pockets because all they do is try to profit off these poor kids. There’s no quick answer.” (NBC Sports)
Unfortunately, Kobe is right. There is no quick answer as to how this could be ironed out, yet the answer is simple. Cut the schedule down and allow these kids the needed time to get better. Stop treating teenagers like dollar signs and give them an opportunity to grow.
If AAU was cut in half I guarantee that these tournaments would hold much more value. The games would be better, because the individual parts would be better, and the kids would not be fatigued from games and travel. It is common in today’s AAU to see some of the worst displays of basketball, as teams are not coached properly. In their defense, they do not have the needed time to construct proper principles.
I am pleading for an amendment to the current system. It is going to take more people like Kobe Bryant to stand up and call out the AAU and the companies making kids their cash cows. It will also take the NCAA to make more changes that allow more flexibility in allowing coaches the opportunity to see kids play.
The state of college basketball would undoubtedly improve if kids had more time to devote to the fundamentals and skill development, instead of running and gunning in glorified pickup games. Kids nowadays are more athletic than in any generation, just think if this athletic ability was coupled with the proper fundamentals. The product on the court would be unprecedented!
North Carolina High School Athletes Will Now be Able to Profit off NIL
NIL has shaken up the college sports world, and now it will be shaking up the high school sports world in North Carolina (NCHSAA), becoming one of 27 states to approve the ability for high school athletes to profit off their Name, Image and Likeness.
This will officially take place beginning July 1.
In order for a student athlete to begin this process, they will have to take a course on NIL, and their parents, coaches and athletic director will as well. Schools and coaches will not be able to represent the student in NIL Deals, and they will also not be allowed to use NIL as a way to draw athletes to their school.
There are restrictions on what student athletes can profit off of though.
The NCHSAA will prohibit student-athletes from entering into NIL deals with products around adult entertainment, alcohol, cannabis, controlled substances, firearms and ammunition, gambling, prescription drugs, as well as tobacco, vaping, and other Nicotine-related products. Athletes cannot affiliate themselves with a specific school, conference, school district, the NCHSAA, or the NFHS through a NIL deal.
What are your thoughts?
NC State Men’s Offers 4-Star Jahki Howard
Last Thursday, the Wolfpack offered 2024 Small Forward Jahki Howard (6’7″/180) out of Overtime Elite (Atlanta, GA).
Blessed to receive a offer from NC state 🙏🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/4lgSd9b9s8
— Jahki Howard (@showtime_ki) April 28, 2023
ESPN ranks Howard as the #53 overall player nationally in the 2024 recruiting class, and the #3 player in the state of Georgia.
Howard is familiar with NC State, because NC State 2023 signee Trey Parker played with him down at Overtime Elite. In 2022-23, Howard averaged 10.1 points per game, shooting 58.6% from the field.
Check out these pictures of Howard on an unofficial visit to NC State with Parker.
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Check out these recent highlight reels of Howard.
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Jahki Howard has taken his game to another level. Off to a 5-0 start with NH Lightning on the Circuit.
Averaging 17.6PPG and 7.2RPG, while shooting 69% FG and 63% from 3P (7-11). Insane numbers.
Highlights below📺👇 pic.twitter.com/90DcLkLKN7
— GREENLIGHT MEDIA (@atlgreenlight) April 29, 2023
Parker and Howard showed out in this Dunk Contest a couple of months back.
Howard will be taking an Official Visit to Georgetown on May 8-9.
4-Star SF Jahki Howard Takes an Unofficial Visit to NC State
4-Star 2024 Small Forward Jahki Howard (6’7″/180) took an Unofficial Visit to NC State yesterday alongside 4-Star Shooting Guard Paul McNeil, who verbally committed to run with the Wolfpack yesterday.
🐺🐺nation ? Unofficial visit❤️🤍 #notcommitted pic.twitter.com/NxNncnptkm
— Jahki Howard (@showtime_ki) February 20, 2023
Howard is ranked as the #51 overall player nationally in the 2024 class by Rivals, and the #4 player in the state of Georgia according to ESPN. Howard plays for Overtime Elite in Atlanta, where 2023 NC State signee Trey Parker plays.
He also holds offers from Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Providence, Auburn, Rutgers, Illinois, Texas A&M, Mississippi St, Wake Forest, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Arizona St, Kansas, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and others.
As far as I can tell, Howard doesn’t hold an offer from NC State at this point.
Jahki Howard earns Player of the Week honors after a big performance vs. Hillcrest dropping 25 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST 🚀 @showtime_ki pic.twitter.com/yPD5psrm2m
— Overtime Elite (@OvertimeElite) November 29, 2022
4-Star 2024 Shooting Guard Paul McNeil Commits to NC State!
What a day! 4-Star 2024 Shooting Guard Paul McNeil (6’6″/185) wrapped up his Official Visit to NC State today by committing to run with the Wolfpack, after watching them defeat their rival UNC in PNC Arena.
@PackMensBball #Committed🐺🐺 pic.twitter.com/AiSg5h2wCg
— P2⚡️ (@PaulMcneilJr) February 19, 2023
McNeil is the #17 overall player nationally in the 2024 recruiting class according to ESPN, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina.
In 2022-23, McNeil is averaging 23.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.4 steals per game for Richmond High School. Last year, he became the first ever Sophomore to win the Gatorade Player of the Year Award in the state of North Carolina.
McNeil also held offers from Clemson, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Miami, Georgetown, St. John’s, LSU, Virginia Tech, Missouri, and others.