NEWS FLASH!!!!!!! NEWS FLASH!!!!!!! Just added
Just heard from two very reliable sources that this Bobby Gonzalez thing has legs to it. They informed me it was more that people know and understand. They also said info leaked to paper and other stff has happened all year and alot involved certain people going after the ADs job all year. Not sure about all of this but I wanted to mention it. One person went as far as saying Tim Welch would be considered for the position if Bobby is let go! All I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HOPE THIS IS WRONG and MY SOURCES ARE NOT GETTING THE STORY RIGHT. I just cannot imagine this happening.
This is such a hard thing to write about because of the various types of people associated with AAU and Rec basketball. I really should not say AAU because most of the good teams are really just grassroots travel teams playing in 6 to 10 travel tournaments between April and August. So from this point on I will refer to these teams as Travel Teams. Before talking about the Playez Spring Fling, I need to address the different types of travel teams.
Local Teams with Local Players
These travel teams usually have a few Dads or Moms (yes Moms and they do GREAT JOBS)coaching. Each kids family has to pay a certain amount of money for the season and the kids do fund raisers to earn the rest of the money needed. These teams often play hard but have difficulty competing. And little do they know, they are often put in tournament brackets on courts no one is really watching. But it is a great experience for the kids that participate.
Regional Travel Teams
Team's from areas like Rockland County, Parts of Connecticut, Suburban NJ, and even NYC compete hard with out the players or funding that many others have, These teams seek sponsors and sometimes wealthy individuals will cover expenses for the various local and regional events they participate in. But again it is usually parents paying for the hotel and the kids pay for their own food.
Travel Teams That Charge
Big business for some teams. They get wealthy or middle class kids to play and charge a nice fee for participation. They often have a few true players on these teams but those kids do not pay to participate. It could be 12 kids and 10 are paying $2500 for the season to cover expenses for a few local events and maybe two tournaments. These programs also have 5 different teams in various age groups.
National Travel Teams
At any tournament you can tell who the national travel teams are. They are the teams with all the nice gear and matching sneakers on players and even in some cases on all the parents. It could be a wealthy ex player funding the program, or a sneaker company. But they are funded well. These teams even now have meal money for the kids that are recruited to these teams via home visits etc. In fact, some teams from California, NY, NJ, Chicago, and DC/VA have kids on the roster from a considerable distance. It is better now since a rule went into effect stating kids had to live within so many miles of where the team was headquartered. Prior to that teams had players flying in from the west coast, east coast, and in a few cases I hear kids came from other countries.
Elite National Travel Teams.
About 5 to 8 of these teams across the country. They get the best of the best and usually win in front of hundreds of college coaches during tournaments held during open recruitment periods. They have all that is mentioned above plus great travel and hotel accommodations. Money seems to just flow from these teams based on corporate sponsorships. A few local teams in this category would be: Metro Hawks (though the talent is down thus far this season), NY Gaucho's, DC Assault, DC Blue Devils, NJ Playez, Va. Squires, Boo Williams from Virginia, and Baltimore Select. I could have the NY Panthers and New heights from NYC on this list as well. Just not sure of talent this season. But New Heights is definitely a first class operation and the NY Panthers are run by a good guy ( I KNOW!!) but do not seem to have the number of teams others do.
So now that I have provided an overview, allow me to give additional information.
Travel Team Coaching and Player Development
People might disagree but the teaching and coaching by travel team coaches in many cases is better than what kids get at the high schools they attend. In fact, many of the coaches are also HS coaches. I have seen some horrible HS coaches just doing it for the pay. Especially In NYC public schools! But I have seen travel team coaches super organized. And in most cases it is no money to be made. It is really just about assisting kids with just a dash of ego attached. It was different years ago, but now players get better during summer months if they are not with an elite or hard working coach similar to those at St. Anthony, St. Benedicts, Rice, Mt. Vernon, Lincoln, Kennedy in NYC and NJ, St. Patrick's, Cardoza, Boys and Girls, and many of the Philly Schools.
I will say some of the guys coaching Travel Teams are developing even greater egos than ever before. And that is unfortunate. One coach from the NY Gauchos walked past me as I spoke with a NY Panther Coach at the Playez Spring Fling. As I tried to get his attention he walked right by us looked in our eyes and refused to even say hello. He was so caught up in coaching his travel team. I always liked this guy going back 12 years when I watched him coach young kids. Now he acts as if he is the man based on coaching at Rice HS as an Assistant and with The Gauchos. Sad guy if he thinks its about him now. Little does he know that many D1 coaches are paid to treat you like you are really important. I bring this up because this guy and others are VERY GOOD COACHES but now seem caught up in the hype! They will learn when it is way too late.
The Playez Spring Fling
A few people do not like the organizer of this event. And by few it could only be 1-3 people. Why? Only they know! Because Stevie Wonder again has spoken to me about what he has seen while observing this guy. I for one think the organizer has done more for kids in NJ than 50 HS Coaches combined. Is he a friend of mine? Yes he is but we do not socialize. All I know is the facts and nothing but the facts. This guy cares about all the kids that come through the Playez basketball program and even more who do not. He is not attempting to get a coaching job out of the deal, nor is he trying to get rich. He is one of the guys who goes out and raises money for his programs through dinners, tournaments, and even selling hotdog's at Hoop Group Events years ago. I love going to his events and PAYING MY $10 because I know it is a great cause. I also will always be in his corner because I have personally had him in my corner during rough mental times. There is so much more to him than what meets the eye. He should be getting special awards from the Gov. of NJ for his work with youth. I think he and his entire staff should be commended for the work they do with kids in NJ, Delaware, and Pa.
My Thoughts on the Tournament
I traveled to Rutgers Saturday morning, paid my $10, and watched very little basketball because it was not set up for watching as much as it was set up for playing. No programs (I have spoken to the organizer about this) made it difficult to know who was who. Luckily I knew some of the kids.
games were all over the place and the teams seemed balanced. I was really impressed with the DC Assault program that had strong teams from the 15's on up. They were uniformed and sneakered down from the players to the coaches. And they ran stuff! The Playez have a similar type program and looked equally impressive.
I only stayed for a few hours and even left late because I needed to see a buddies 6 ft 9 Freshmen son play for DC Assault. And yes he can ball!!! A future top 20 kid at the least with development. But before leaving here are a few observations:
New York City teams are very weak for national type programs. Metro hawks (ex Riverside) has really feel off from what I saw. NY Panthers had nice players but no one that special like years ago. Did not see new Heights play but hey looked impressive standing around as did a young Dingle Lightening team. What I think is happening, and Robert White who does NYCNJHOOPS and more pointed this out to me, is there are so many teams in NYC the talent per team is watered down. This could be good and bad. Good because more kids get to play. But bad because they are less competitive.
NJ Playez also seem to have a team in New England called the New England Playez. same uniforms, etc.
Saw Lloyd Daniel's, ex playground, HS, and College legend had a team in the tournament. This guy is a genius when it comes to basketball. Just watching him was great and it made me wonder why more folks do not get involved after their playing days are done.
Tom Konchalski was in the house with a briefcase. Never saw him with one in the past. I thought it was a laptop but he informed me it was not. Tom still does it by hand.
Still love the guys who never played a game of basketball running around as talent evaluators. One said to me in the bathroom he was running the event with the organizer and doing player evaluations for ESPN. Go figure lolol!
John Carroll, ex SHU Asst. was also there. same great guy with a great personality.
Saw alot of NJ players during my short stay. Some are a bit overrated but have time to develop. One kid in particular I could not wait to see. . But again the guys evaluating need to have a better understanding. Where are the ex coaches and players when it comes to this?
In a few days I will post my AAU article again. It questions if AAU is good or bad. I heard a rumor on Saturday that the NCAA and NBA would be taking this over. Stay tuned!