AAU basketball has become increasingly popular in the United States over the last decade. It was initially created to develop an organized league of amateur basketball players and allow them to show off their skills at tournaments across the country. Until recent years, a select amount of players were chosen to play for these travel teams. However, with increasing popularity comes an increase in participation. With more and more players joining AAU leagues, it takes away from the original purpose of getting the best of the best players. That has led to some controversy surrounding the topic of AAU basketball and an increasingly sour attitude toward it.
Baron Davis voices his opinion on AAU basketball.
Many former players coach or keep up with AAU basketball to follow the up-and-coming recruits. Davis recently went on "BigBoyTV" and spoke on AAU basketball and voiced his opinion on how the game has changed over the years.
"Now I think it's getting more diluted. Because now you got, you know, almost like a thousand teams, right? So, if there's a thousand AAU teams in LA, how many teams are good? How good is the ecosystem of basketball being built in and around AAU basketball? And then you're not teaching kids the discipline, the loyalty of "hey, you're not good enough; you need to sit on the bench and get good towards the end of the season so you can play," right?
The problem is in the parents
There are just 358 Division I basketball programs in college; from there, just 60 people get drafted into the NBA. With thousands of teams across the nation, too many players get an opportunity to play in a league meant for players with "next-level potential".
"I'll just say this; like imagine this, the school used to hold back a kid for not making grades, you know what I mean? Or not being able to have a learning capacity. The parents are holding their kids back. That don't even sound right to me."
From a business standpoint, allowing these kids to play AAU basketball is unnecessary. Their playing time takes the focus off some players who genuinely deserve to go to the next level and wastes time. If a scout goes to a tournament with 700+ teams playing and only comes away with five notable players, there's no point in watching that many teams play. There are leagues such as EYBL or OTE in which top high school recruits are invited to play for these leagues. EYBL is still technically composed of AAU teams, but they work on an invite-only principle. They have essentially taken over what AAU basketball was meant to be, thus making its existence of it almost pointless.