I’ve said it before… and I’ll say it again. The United States’ decline in the world of basketball… despite having superior athletes and coaches… is a problem of its own making. We let our most talented kids flounder in a system dominated by shoe companies and agents. Camps and tournaments like this, where kids play 100 games in a few months, are showcases of talent that are later picked over and exploited. Kids work on the wrong skills to get noticed… and they fall victim to slick talkers and empty promises of big payouts.
This isn’t a drum I haven’t banged before. And I haven’t changed my stance. A system needs to be created that puts these kids in a pipeline under Team USA.
USA Basketball’s primary concern seems to be how to assemble NBA players into a unit that can reassert America’s basketball dominance. What USA Basketball should also be doing is making sure these talented young kids have available leagues, camps and programs that are not affiliated with any corporate entity. Filter these kids into a pipeline that will teach them the proper fundamentals at a formative age. Teach them the GAME, not how to show off for some And1 Mix Tape. Then, when they get into high school and college, they’re playing the game correctly. The improved product will pay off down the road when drafts are full of quality players who, when Team USA comes calling for a favor, will be happy to repay their debt
What we need is a system that eliminates outside forces. How are kids playing 100 games in a summer? The Celtics played 108 over 8 months. There’s something wrong here.