Examining the complicated relationship between AAU and high school basketball

Pinnacle High School sophomore Nico Mannion has already received offers from around the country. (Photo courtesy Nico Mannion)

By Christian Thurley

Arizona in Focus is a podcast from Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. Each season we dive deep into a particular topic or story to bring you stories you haven’t heard elsewhere. Check out the rest of our episodes here, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Soundcloud.

Millions of of teenagers play competitive basketball each year. High school basketball programs and AAU basketball have been competing for the same athletes for the last decade and it has sometimes caused a rift among high schools, the AAU and colleges.

One issue in high school hoops is the recruitment of these athletes, which has been highlighted during the current federal basketball corruption trial. And a criticism of AAU basketball is that former NBA players believe kids aren’t being taught to play the game correctly. One solution is the the European model of coaching.

Is there any way high school and AAU can coexist? Cronkite News reporter Christian Thurley speaks with AAU coaches Jeff Becker and Lamar Hurd, and Brophy’s varsity basketball head coach Matt Hooten to find out.

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