For as long as most of us can remember, AAU has been a part of every hooper’s story as they move through the ranks from elementary school to high school, college, and in some cases, even to the NBA. Most of today’s NBA players have legacies within the AAU circuit more fabled than their actual high school careers. This is attributed to the fact that top AAU teams are loaded with Division 1, and often future NBA, talent. Whether it’s the 1994 New Jersey Patterson AAU team featuring Kobe, Vince Carter, Rip Hamilton, and Tim Thomas, or the 2004 Spiece Indy Heat featuring Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Josh McRoberts, Daquan Cook, and Eric Gordon, there have always been AAU teams that most college programs would love to have. The style of play allows players to showcase their full range of athletic and creative skill on the court — something that is often held in check during more structured high school ball. This was the case for former Team Takeover and current Knicks guard, Jerian Grant, who played alongside his best friend and current Orlando Magic guard, Victor Oladipo.
“In high school, you played a lot more structured ball, but in AAU the coaches want you to show the college scouts what you can do, and we had a great coach that just let us go,” said Grant. “I was playing with some of my best friends and we all wanted to see each other succeed. Nobody was hogging the ball. We all played for each other and I think that’s what pretty much got all of us scholarships. Being able to play with and against the best is where AAU really helps prepare you for college ball.”
As the spotlight on AAU grows and kids get recruited earlier and earlier, it will become increasingly important to play in these big-time AAU tournaments early in your career in order to showcase your talents to college coaches and put your skills up against kids who are going to push you. Every year the talent gets better and better, forcing kids to put in the extra work it takes to stand out and get noticed. And hey, if you and your friends work as hard as Jerian Grant and Victor Oladipo, you might both end up in the NBA like they did.
As a proud sponsor of AAU and Big Foot Hoops, we’ll be in attendance at many of the major tournaments this summer including the AAU National Championships in Orlando, the Big Foot Hoops Las Vegas Classic, and more. If your team will be attending, make sure to keep an eye out for the Eastbay booth to catch a glimpse of all the new basketball shoes for next season.
Comment below to let us know which summer basketball tournaments your team will be attending.