With the MPA’s required 2 week sports season hiatus policy currently in effect right now until August 15th in which high school coaches cannot be in contact with athletes from their high school, some of the higher skilled boys and girls basketball players may have been involved with basketball for the past 45 weeks finally get a much needed break from the game.
I call these players basketball’s 12 monthers as they are usually involved with basketball in one way or another year round. I used to tell my D-1 high school prospects that they had to be 13 monthers if they wanted to get a scholarship. They would say, “coach there are only 12 months in a year” and I would respond, “then you have to find another month in the 12”. This meant weight-lifiting, foot quickness drills, and working on their individual skills on their own.
Some of the very highly motivated players may have probably been going 45 straight weeks since the beginning of last years fall AAU/Club basketball programs that ran from late September to mid November, when High School basketball starts and runs to either the lst, 2nd, 3rd week or 4th week in February depending on if teams make the prelims, tournament or state games.
Then in the first of March it starts all over again for AAU/Club basketball until the end of July for HS summer and AAU/Club programs.
The only time that the high school and non-high school programs conflict with each other is in the 6 week summer program from mid June to the end of July.
Is it any wonder how important it is for these almost year round basketball players for the MPA to put in this 2 week mandatory break.
With the desire of many parents and players to get a basketball scholarship for college, the over emphasis of playing more games then to practicing for the non-school AAU/Club teams just playing games does not develop the players as much as it should.
The areas that are hard to develop basketball skills are shooting, developing and improving basketball IQ’s to make better in game basketball decisions.
Even at the high school level where there are more practices during their season then the non-school seasons. many coaches have a tendency to scrimmage more in practice then working on the needed skills previously mentioned in the paragraph above.
The high school basketball season starts in mid-November with team tryouts and ends either the first of February for teams that do not make the post season (12 weeks), second week in February for teams that lost a prelim game/or tournament game (13 weeks) , or a team that lost a tourney game in the 3rd week of February (14th week) or the teams that get to the state games in their class in the last week of February (15 weeks).
So let’s total up the weeks:
AAU/Club Teams September 1 weekend-October 5 weekends, November …….. 2 weekends… total 8 weekends….more just teams made up of their high school teams players then AAU/Club all-star teams in the fall.
High School mid November to lst week, 2nd week, 3rd week or 4th week in February…12 to 15 weeks depending on teams post season play results
AAU/Club Teams, March thru end of July…Total 22 weeks/weekends
Total weeks/weekends 45 out of 52….7 weeks
…… first week of August to last weekend of September no organized basketball for high school players to participate in.
For players who are trying to get a D-1 or D-2 scholarship they usually have to be a year-round player in order to compete for scholarships with out-of-state players in these 2 college divisions.
Especially seeing that there is only 1 D-1 college in Maine and no D-2 colleges. The competition is very tough and competitive for these scholarships, especially for Maine players.
It is important to play with and against better competition in order to be competitive for a basketball scholarship.
AAU/Club basketball gives these higher skilled Maine players the best opportunity, one that Maine high school programs usually cannot give the higher skilled players.
But, for the 7 week period of no organized basketball for these higher skilled, scholarship minded players it gives them a much needed break. They should take at least 2 weeks off completely (not touch a basketball for 2 weeks) and then they should be back to working like I mentioned previously on their individual skills, especially shooting which they do not get much of a chance to work on the other 45 weeks of the year.
The biggest difference between high school and non school AAU/Club basketball is that the schools have daily practices and usually 2 or 3 games a week except on Sundays, where the on-school AAU/Club programs practice once or twice a week and play up from 4 to 6 games per weekend or more.
Maine high school players usually are not going to get the exposure they need for D-1/D-2 scholarships by just playing high school basketball. It is the involvement with the AAU/Club programs that allow these higher skilled players the opportunities to be seen by many college coaches during the open evaluation periods during the time the NCAA allows the college coaches.
This is the schedule I know I followed up until I retired from high school coaching, in 2000 so I might be off some in time spent in the AAU/Club basketball scene, although I reffed many AAU/Club games from 2000 to 2015 all over the state.
If I am off on the schedule or times for AAU/Club schedules please feel free to let me know and I will correct the dates so that this article can be right up to date.
Thanks: Bob Cimbollek
P.S. I always allowed my higher skilled players who had a chance for a scholarship to commit to their AAU team over their high school team in the 6 week summer program when AAU games and practices conflicted with our summer program dates.
The only time I expected them to be at the high school program in the summer was if they were free of AAU conflicts. This way the high school program got the best of the 2 basketball worlds. My best players got the competition they needed to improve and it gave more playing time to other players on the high school team a chance to improve more by getting more playing time with the better players not there because of AAU.
Remember summer basketball is for development not for heal points.