Monday, April 14, 2008

More on AAU and Agents

Sitting here in the very early AM thinking about my tasks for today. All of a sudden an email arrives asking what else I have to say about Street agents and agents in general. Well here is my response.

Remember a street agent is just a term used for folks years ago who received money for steering kids to certain colleges. And those colleges would surprise you. I mentioned in my last blog post the kind of guys who did this. Not sure if this still happens because I for one have not seen kids being outright sold to schools. But here is what I have heard and it was mentioned on the comment section of this blog as well by a few folks.

Certain folks are paid for influence in various ways. It could be final four tickets, large payments to attend awards ceremonies, purchase of tournament programs for $200 or more, donated athletic gear, jobs from friends and alumni, discounts on purchases, and even discounted loans. Now remember these are stories I have heard. They might be true, they might not be true. That's why I am not attaching names to these stories. But years ago it was a cash and carry business that started as far back as biddy basketball. Still remember some of the more famous named guys hanging around my biddy all star team. Of course I was just a role player but the stars were being groomed to attend very nice Prep Schools before that was the in thing to do.

But what really has happened is the certified agents have become much more aggressive in pursuing HS and College kids for future NBA drafts as well as over seas opportunities. It is why you see certain prominent sports agents at HS events. They are not there just because they love the games. Unfortunately even NBA teams are now showing up at big HS games to scout future players. The NBA really should not allow this but deep inside they really know it is the younger players who will keep the NBA alive. Some NBA teams even have scouts who ONLY go to HS games. One team I heard had a head of HS scouting position. With the NBA putting so much energy into looking at HS kids, it's no wonder Agents are now deeply involved.

Agents usually hire younger guys who really are not certified. These guys jobs are to act as runners. They go to games on the HS and college level and make friends. They come across as nice and considerate and in many cases they really are. But the main thing they are doing is establishing relationships that will pay off in the future JUST IN CASE! Just in case a player or two becomes good enough to get paid for playing. Please do not be fooled into thinking agents cannot make a fortune sending players to Europe. Some agents have become very wealthy without one NBA player. 25 guys over seas at an average salary of $50,000 equals 1,250,000. Agents can take 15% for the contract, and even more for managing money and paying expenses here in the states. Think about the guys with 10 NBA players? WOW!!! imagine 5-10% of $600,000,000? Not counting endorsement percentages, bill paying, and more.

Many of these agents are bright enough to become friendly with local AAU and HS coaches. I have heard that some even pay expenses and provide financial assistance behind the scenes. In many cases it is clear who is doing what. Some college coaches are very friendly with certain agents. Ditto sneaker camp people and AAU coaches. I have heard stories about prominent college coaches telling star players who they HAD to sign with. I have seen travel and AAU types suggest kids sign with particular people. maybe they were just looking out for the kids.

But the bottom line to this is the recruitment of kids and influence peddling is way out of control. When and where will it stop. I still remember the small time guys who have been replaced by super sophistication and salesmanship.

Guys Going To NBA

Earl Clark? Maybe I am missing something but is this kid throwing it all away? Has he not heard the Omar Cooke and Lenny Cooke stories? I asked a kid at a recent AAU event if he ever heard of Lenny or Omar Cooke. He answered no. Well Earl Clark must know something most of us do not. He must have been told he would be a first rounder.

Derrick Character can be put in the same category. Who is his advisor? Is it just because he is not doing well in school? This kid could become an instant "And 1" player if he is not careful. They are drooling just thinking about the possibility he could be on the next tour. I say this because this is a great kid off the court! But he might still be lacking the discipline needed to make huge money in Europe.

Two kids in real need of solid life advice. But than again, Rick could be pushing them to the door. I wonder who he would suggest they choose as an agent?


John said...

L, I have gone through this a couple of times. The one sentence that keeps leaping out at me is this one:

The NBA really should not allow this but deep inside they really know it is the younger players who will keep the NBA alive.

There's so much in that sentence - it's a complex topic. I wrote a bunch of philosophical musings a couple of times - and then deleted them before posting them.

LFBall said...


It is what it is. The NBA wants the best right mow!! They donot wish to wait on Beasley, Love, Mayo, etc. They might seem loke a caring bunch, but its all about business wwith them. If it was not about business it would not be a early draft. remember this started as a hardship draft for underclass students in need. Last time I looked Kevin Love was not a hardship lolol. They put that hardship thing away years ago and introduced a early entry program and teams applauded.

John said...

If it was not about business it would not be a early draft.

Bingo. I completely agree.