Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Scouts and Street Agents Pt 1

Scouts and Street Agents Pt 1

The term street agent was commonly used many years ago when the PSAL was the strong league in NYC. The Public Schools had the great teams at Boys, Wingate, Clinton, Franklin, etc. During these times there were no AAU tournaments in Vegas, or College Park or Providence. There were semi large tournaments in Pa., Conn., Portchester, NY, and the big NYC event called up at the community center in the Bronx in the Bronx. Part of a hospital and I cannot think of the name. Montifiore?

Players from that era were often paid to play in games and tournaments by street hustlers and agents. Often it would be $50 or $75 a player for the top 4 guys and the rest played for free. I have the names of the street agents but it might be in poor taste to mention. But many books mention them. They made a living betting on HS and college basketball while also selling players to many colleges throughout the country. At the time it was no such thing as coaches spending weeks in NYC and NJ. Sneaker camps? never heard of them. Just great rec teams that often had hired guns! Even good people such as Leroy Otis gave out quarters to young players on his Young Life and Church of the Masters teams for ice cream after games. Those who remember him should be reminded of the change always in his pocket.

I cannot think of one person currently around the game with the reputation that past street agents had. They were crooked and they let you know. Well, there are maybe a few around, but still not on those guys level. Those guys did everything from supplying women to taking a kid clothes shopping. They were investing in the future. After selling the kids to colleges, they would stay in touch in order to deliver the kids to a particular agent who would pay the street agent for their services.

The people who currently run scouting services are far from being street agents or illegal. Tom Konchalski runs a service and talks to coaches all the time. Is he illegal? Of course not! Many people calling themselves scouts are really folks who love HS basketball. They go to a lot of games and become rather good at establishing communication with great players and gaining trust. They are more of an information service than a scouting service. UCLA or St. Johns will not offer a scholarship to a kid based on a "scout" saying he is a good player. With earned trust and credibility a scout can get a college coach to watch kids play. Hell, Tom himself cannot get schools to give scholarships without the coach seeing kids play. Junior Colleges are the exception to the rule. A person such as Ed Butler in NJ, who may be the best of all the scouts, can get on the phone and get a kid into a high level JC sight unseen. In the future so will All the others. Russ Blake can also open doors at JCs as he did for Kasib Powell years ago. Kasib went on to play for Bob Knight at Texas Tech and has come close to making NBA rosters plenty of times. But most of the scouting services are strictly for fans. Coaches are not reading those reports like they are reading the Bible. They make the person putting the report together feel they read it like it is the gospel. They do this because many "Scouts" have good relationships with players they might recruit.

I will not say much about this, but I tend to question the credibility of some scouting services. Russ Blake and I use to debate this yearly (I have big respect for the job Russ does). Most of these guys have never played, coached (even biddy ball), managed, or even watched much. They have no idea of who can play and cannot play. Yet they rank players! Hell Stevie Wonder can see that OJ (No need for a last name) is a player. Same with his teammates, Ditto Lance Stevenson. But what about kids who are at schools not on the radar screen? Find those! It still amazes me to see the list of the top 300 SRS, top 300 Juniors, Top 125 4th graders, all from NYC. Who has really seen those kids enough to evaluate them? And what are the evaluations based on? Those services that sell this meaningless information are the real crooks. They are the ones that sell rumors and hearsay!

As far as AAU teams are concerned I have not seen many folks get rich off AAU teams. I see guys lose money because they are committed to helping kids. I see guys with huge egos attempting to be the best. But so what, that hurts no one while providing a service. People always complain about sponsor money and the AAU teams that get it. Are the complaints based on jealousy? Gary Charles of the NY Panthers spends more than he gets. Jim Salmon in NJ does fund raiser including selling hot dogs at events sponsored by the Hoop Group to pay expenses. Gauchos? Who are they stealing from? No one! Riverside Church? Ditto! The new teams have taken it a step further. New Heights based in NYC has tutoring and position practices. The Westchester Hawks are doing great things. I can go on and on about this. In fact, many from the above mentioned programs are being steered to academically sound prep schools (more on this at a later date).

In closing let me just say it could be much worse. It could be the people from years ago still on the scene. Buying and selling players. Thanks to stronger HS coaches and caring people it will only get better.'

It's That Time Again

HS Basketball

Well HS Basketball is about to go into full swing. Kids all over America, both boys and girls are working hard preparing for the season. Oddly a few things come to mind as the season approaches:

How many kids are under the radar who will turn out to be better college players than many rated above them?

How many kids are being pushed to college programs by rec and aau programs based on prior relationships and favors?

Who really is the best boys and girls teams in America? How do we really know without a national tournament.

Who really is the number one HS player in America/ After the top 20 is there really much difference in those rated 21 through 150?

Where are the great HS tournaments taking place? Ever wonder how tournaments get the great teams to come and play? Maybe I will share with this information with you.

College Hoops

Folks all over America are cheering on there teams. Some teams are under achieving and others are over achieving as UCLA and North Carolina look to be the consensus number 1 teams in various polls.

Anyone care to discuss who the worst 50 teams are?

Impact freshmen stories are poping up all over the place. Where are the stories of the over rated thus far? How about the kids who were spoiled by boosters and AAU types and now look very average. Michael Beasly looks great but what about...........? Maybe Michael is so good he makes him seem average.

The most competitive conferences always seem to be from among the big boys. But we all know that the bottom of most big conferences consist of teams that could be beat by mid major programs.

How did many of the college programs in the middle of nowhere get such great players? UMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Join Me For Weekly discussions covering these topics and much more. It will be a very interesting season to say the least. Trust me!!!!!!