Have you been playing for the same AAU Team or program for years? That's not necessarily a bad thing... BUT if you're noticing or experiencing any 3 of these patterns below and you're in grades 8 - 12, then it might be time to make the switch! I'll explain why.
*If you have no desire to play at the college level (which is COMPLETELY okay), none of this applies to you*
1) Your Team Doesn't Travel Out of The State or Region
If you're looking to play college basketball at any level, but especially D1 or D2.... you MUST play for a team that will give you opportunities to be seen by college coaches, NOT just in your local area, but coaches all over the country! What if none of the schools in your state are interested in you or don't have enough scholarships to offer you a spot... That doesn't mean you're not good enough to play in college, it just means you need MORE opportunities!
If all of your teams tournaments are within a 30 minute drive of your home or teams practice facility, that's probably not a good sign. Whatever the reason may be for your program not leaving the state let alone your local area, you're limiting yourself by only allowing a small variety of coaches from that area to see you play. Playing in a variety of tournaments in different states and regions will give you a sense of not only your skillset and abilities in comparison to players from other regions, but MORE importantly 10x the number of chances to earn that scholarship by putting yourself in front of hundreds of NEW coaches rather than the same 20 that have already watched you play in that same local tournament for the past 3 years.
2) Your Team Has The Same Players on It Every Year
Take a look at your teams roster... have the players changed at all over the years? Are you guys getting better? Do any of your teammates have similar aspirations as you? Or are they just playing as a recreational thing for fun? Does your AAU coach make an effort to reach out to college coaches on your behalf? Has anyone from your program gone on to play collegiately? Going to leave this one pretty open ended....Again, if your end goal is to earn a basketball scholarship, these are all questions you need to stop and ask yourself BEFORE you sign up for another year on that same AAU team...
3) There Are No College Coaches At Your Tournaments
At your next tournament, I want you to look around the gym...Do you see any coaches lined up across the sidelines or baselines repping their school's gear, notebook and pencil out, watching intensely to see who their next potential prospect could be? If the answer is no and you're in high school, and you have no idea what I'm talking about because you've NEVER seen college coaches interacting or engaging during an AAU tournament, you need to change teams NOW! Time is ticking and if you have yet to get in front of any college coaches, you're putting yourself at a clear disadvantage.
*With all that being said, I whole heartedly believe that if you want to maximize the chances of earning that scholarship, it is your best interest to join an AAU team that
#1 Travels around the country
#2 Improves Their Roster & Advocates For Players
#3 Enters Competitive Tournaments That College Coaches Attend.
I understand that not every team or program will have the means both financially and talent wise to accomplish all of these things... BUT for you as a player who has future goals, there comes a point where you have to do what is best for YOU and although it may be scary to join a new team or you may feel bad for leaving your old team (I know I did when I made the jump)... If those players and coaches care about you and your future, they will understand!
- Jen Fay