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Greenwood Signs with Air Force

Posted by Donald Wilkerson at May 24, 2004 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
Cum Laude graduate Aaron Greenwood has officially signed to play basketball for the Air Force Academy. Included in the picture with Aaron on the bottom row are his parents, Bruce and Martha Greenwood and grandmother Violet Greenwood. On the top row are Coach Mark Barker, brother Blair Greenwood, Head Coach Lynn McDonald, and grandfather Ralph Greenwood.
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Why Recruiting Is Killing Basketball.

Posted by Donald Wilkerson at May 21, 2004 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
(Brian McCormick, High Five Hoop School) -- Basketball  is influenced more by recruiting than any other factor. When basketball is discussed, recruiting is more prevalent than jump shots or wins and losses. College fan message boards ebb and flow with tales of possible signings, the future of a program seemingly decided every spring on the dotted line, not during the fall and winter on the hardwood. Recruiting dominates basketball at every level, and it is slowly killing the game. The United States still dominates basketball, as it exports far more players to foreign professional leagues than it imports for NCAA Division I basketball and the NBA. However, the gap decreases every year, as NBA teams draft more and more foreign players, citing their height, versatility, shooting and fundamental skill levels and college programs recruit foreign players to close the talent gap or fill a need, usually height or a shooter, they are unable to fill through domestic recruiting. Recruiting is prevalent at every level, from AAU teams, where many youth AAU teams are formed by a parent or coach recruiting local recreation league players to play on their “all-star” AAU team, to the NBA, where, despite its protestations to the contrary, the NBA recruits talented prep stars. While David Stern publicly advocates an age limit, he lowered the current limit, albeit by mere days, to allow Darko Milicic to enter the 2003 NBA Draft and knows the league would have suffered this season through Kobe’s trial, TMac’s complaints, AI’s injuries and the rash of coaching firings and big salary dumps, err, I mean trades, if not for the superlative play of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, who would be age limit casualties, not franchise-saviors if Stern had the backbone to turn pubic lip service into action.

Youth Basketball.
While I have coached at the AAU National Championships, and in theory believe it is a great experience and opportunity, the golden caveat of the “Nationals” ruins youth basketball, as players skip from team to team to improve one’s chances to play at Nationals. Once upon a time, youth basketball was played for fun and to teach young players basic fundamentals; now, there is an U-9 National Champion and eight year olds who know how to switch from a man defense to a zone without the coach using a time out. Players are more sophisticated at an early age, but that does not mean they are better, or that the system provides a better experience for players and parents. Just because someone can collect the most precocious players does not mean the same individual can coach, and, often times, young players peak early because of size or speed advantages, and they never learn necessary skills to continue progressing as a player once others catch up to their physical attributes. Kids are not developed because a slick-talking AAU coach can recruit a new player to fill a need during the next season. Coaches use the lure of a trip to the Nationals to recruit new players, just as a college coach does. Parents hear nationals, think bragging rights and flip for the opportunity, especially when the new team is willing to foot some of the bill or is sponsored by a shoe company. This begins the families’ affair with the “Entitlement Affliction,” as parents and players start to believe people owe them something because their son had an early growth spurt, or is especially fast or maybe has better coordination or strength for his age.

High School Basketball
High school basketball gets hammered from both sides, as coaches recruit precocious players to their programs, and college programs recruit high school players for their programs. High school coaches who recruit youth players build programs with players others’ develop, then reap the rewards of a winning team due to its talent advantages. Once players get recruited to a high school, the coach may or may not advance the player’s skills. He may or may not be a competent coach, regardless of what his record suggests. As colleges recruit the high school players, some get big heads. Others suffer from delusion, suddenly believing a college letter equals college interest and a scholarship. These players become obsessed with their recruitment and their rankings amongst other top players, and spend all summer enhancing both. Summers used to be the time for player development; now, summer is all about exposure, and not just to the sun. Players seek tournaments college coaches attend; they play year-round for club and AAU games. These club games begin the week teams are eliminated from high school competition, resulting in fewer three-sport athletes, greater specialization and year-round basketball. Despite this year-round basketball schedule, the search for the scholarship means games and more games, leaving little time for shooting and practice time. The best players’ suffer deeply from ‘Entitlement Affliction,” as now parents believe they know enough to suggest new coaches for their high school, or they change AAU teams if their son is not getting enough shot attempts, and they buy into their own greatness because shoe companies pay for them to fly all over the country to tournaments and camps.

College Basketball
Talent wins games, and coaches need to recruit talent. Therefore, the hiring process for assistant coaches is skewed toward recruiting ability, not teaching ability. Plenty of Division I assistant coaches cannot teach the game at all, but they can recruit, or appear as though they should be able to recruit because they are a young, former player. The emphasis here is backward, as coaches should be teachers first and accumulators of talent second. But, because of the NCAA rules limiting off-season practice time and the propensity of players to jump to the NBA after one or two seasons, recruiting is the single greatest element of college basketball, which influences the hiring processes of college programs. Also, the best players enter college with the same “Entitlement Affliction.” They have been “The Man” for so long, they do not know how not to be the man. They do not understand the team game and how to fit into a system. Instead, they believe they know their own greatness, greatly inflated by the hangers-on who buy into the idea of entitlement. Yet, they do not know how to defend or play without the ball because their coach never cared much about either. Recruiting spawns the year-round AAU play currently damaging the game, as it’s more convenient for college coaches to attend 2-3 tournaments each with 40-50 teams filled with legitimate college prospects than to attend high school basketball games and tournaments during their season. These tournaments masquerade as competitive games, though they are merely showcase events for college coaches and scouts. Borderline players travel to as many showcase events and tournaments as logistics will allow, ignoring practice time and individual workouts that could actually improve the player’s skills or physical attributes, which would increase their value to college programs. NBA Basketball The chosen few playing in the NBA are, with some exceptions, products of the entitlement affliction, players who have been coddled since the first glimpse of their precocious ability. They do not know how to play team basketball as they have been stars for so long, teammates and coaches always adjusted to their game. Agents and shoe companies recruiting college players to the League before they are ready also kills the professional game. Teams have players on the end of the bench who do not have the basic skills needed to play in the league, but who possess some physical attribute (height, long arms, quickness) which warrants their contract as the team hopes they develop. Instead of added playing time on the college level, these players get the best seat in the house 82 games a year. Players like Kendrick Perkins, Ndubi Ebi and Sebastian Telfair skip college because someone convinces them that the millions guaranteed in all first-round contracts is worth the jump, regardless of their preparedness or lack thereof. Consequently, players learn to play while already in the league, as opposed to developing their games at lower levels and then entering the league needing only to add experience and seasoning to an already developed repertoire of skills and basketball knowledge. At every level, the game deteriorates from an aesthetic view, as fewer players understand the nuances of the game or possess the fundamental skills. Few players at any level are great shooters, yet each game at any level consists of dozens of errant three-point attempts as players fall in love with shooting beyond the arc. Few coaches are motivated to develop players, as the players illustrate no commitment to anything other than the best deal, and leave a coach at the drop of the hat if offered something better, whether it is an 11 year old getting a better chance to qualify for nationals or a college player seeking more playing time to enhance his professional potential. Basketball is backwards nowadays. Players want millions and shoe deals before they have ever produced at the professional level. College coaches are hired for their ability to recruit, not to coach players. High school players enhance their recruitment not by improving heir skills and ability to play, but by being seen more and more. And, even youth coaches ignore skill development, focusing on attracting new players with better skills or athleticism. None of it makes sense, but it is consistent. From the top down and the bottom up, recruiting rules American basketball, ruining the game year by year.

By Brian McCormick, Staff Writer for McCormick, a freelance writer and author of The Art of Ball Handling; Getting a Handle on Your Game, has coached college basketball and professionally in Europe and now runs High Five Hoop School.
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Dan Rieke Selected for Academic All State

Posted by Donald Wilkerson at Apr 15, 2004 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches selected Dan Rieke as a member of the prestigious 2003-2004 Academic All State Team. Casey Jones and Jacob Kincaid from Alvin were the only other District 24-5A players selected to the team.image
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Third Archive start

Posted by Donald Wilkerson at Apr 6, 2004 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
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Tournament News Archive

Posted by Donald Wilkerson at Apr 6, 2004 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
Second Archive start