Saturday, February 20, 2010


As promised, I now begin my weeklong look into how I would propose to improve AAU basketball throughout the state of Vermont. The first problem lies with the geography of our great state. Other than Burlington, there is no other city with a population of over 20,000 people. Cities are convenient simply because they concentrated people within a small geographic area and therefore make association simpler. In basketball terms, this is also an issue. I have enjoyed traveling around in Vermont and watching basketball in the small schools. However, I also have learned that in these small schools, there might only be one or two kids who are truly good basketball players. This is where AAU needs to do its magic. It needs to overcome the idea that AAU is simply an extension of the school team. Instead of having a bunch of AAU teams with one or two good players, why not create just one that concentrates all of these talented players? The one problem with this aspect lies in the fact that there might need to be a certain amount of travel to get these athletes to practice. However, I have heard of players traveling a few hours to practice with an elite team, so since you can be from one corner of Vermont to the other in just about four hours, if Vermont could manage to create just four of these competitive teams, no player would in theory have to travel more than one hour. Now, I do not know the talent distribution in Vermont. It might be such a thing that out of the 40 best players in Vermont, 14 of them are in the north. Then, the North team would be overloaded or would leave out some of the best players in Vermont. What to do then? Well, in looking at a population density map from the 2000 census (, a majority of the population lives in or around Chittenden County. My proposal would actually involve six teams throughout Vermont. The proposed regions would be:
• Burlington area (Essex, Colchester, etc.)
• Central Vermont (Montpelier, Barre, Northfield, etc.)
• Northeast Kingdom (St. Johnsbury, Newport, etc.)
• Southern Vermont (Brattleboro, Bennington, etc.)
• Rutland area (Middlebury, Vergennes, etc.)
• Eastern Vermont (White River Junction, Windsor, etc.)
The nice part about this system is that if one team is full, there would be another team one hour away. This system would allow for 10 players at any given age group from each area. Within one hour of each of these regions, I'm sure you can find 10 good players or at least 10 players who if given proper coaching could turn their natural athleticism into solid basketball talent. Tomorrow, I will explain as I have previously noted, how I would propose that coaches train and nurture within the system.

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