An AAU game led to an all out, on-court brawl between players and referees. This is AAU, meaning the players involved were kids. This was an Under-17 AAU Basketball team called the Chicago R.A.W. They were playing on Sunday in Emerson, Georgia (just north of Atlanta) against the Houston Raptors when they attacked the game officials.

Multiple major media outlets (including ESPN, Yahoo!, and Deadspin) have reported that the teens from Chicago were losing to the Houston team in the final minutes of their game when they started fighting among themselves. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg spoke with the coach of the Houston Raports. Here are some of the quotes:

“Their players started fighting amongst each other and they were arguing with their coach,” Benjamin said. “That’s when I knew it was about to get bad. I figured if they’re going to fight with each other, they might be willing to fight anybody.”

Houston's coach wasn't wrong...

Another video shows what led to the start of the fight.

The official called a foul late in the game against a Chicago player, after the call, the player shoved the official, who then called a Technical Foul on the player, which is when the player attacked, and started throwing punches. As the official began to defend himself, someone came off the Chicago bench and took the official to the ground extremely hard, slamming his head into the court, face first.

As the official was on the ground, other Chicago players surrounded him and started assaulting him. Refs from other courts came in to separate the melee. Then Chicago players began assaulting other officials, which broke out into an even bigger fight.

In this video, you can see the start of the fight, and the fact that nearly every player on the Chicago team threw punches or tackled officials.

Houston won the game, by forfeit, even though they were up by double digits. They went on to the Championship game of the event, where they ended up losing to Southern Indiana Titans in a close game.

That's the "news" portion of this story. Now time for my personal opinion.

AAU basketball should be disband.

When I was in high school, AAU basketball was really taking off. I wasn't a good basketball player, hell, I could barely be considered a basketball player. But I liked the game. So I actually became an assistant coach for our high school team. Not a water boy or "team manager", our coach (a great man, who will forever be missed) Ken Doty had coached around me for a few years, and told me that I knew the game better than most, but "those can can't do, teach". So while in school, I was given the actual title of Assistant Coach, and ran drills for my peers in practice, and drew up plays on white boards. Yes, it was a little weird, but after the first couple weeks, that stopped.

Anyway, back to AAU.

I was deep into high school basketball, but looking at it from a different perspective. any dream I had of playing basketball at any higher level had been crushed by this point, so I didn't even see AAU as a means to an end. What I saw was a way to cheap out on a level playing field.

I saw groups of cheaters pooling talent to out-cheat others.

Kids who couldn't spell their own name, let alone stay eligible at the high school level, finding a way out of having to learn. I saw AAU coaches promising these kids and their parents that if they dropped out of school to follow them, they'd be NBA stars. Essentially encouraging high school drop outs.

We had an "academy" in our area. Where kids dropped out of real school, were home-schooled (not really, he just did their tests online for them), and spent almost all day practicing basketball at the gyms of the local community college.

These AAU coaches trick parents, Pinocchio kids away from home, and try to form unholy alliances with college programs, all in hopes of getting rich on some random kid.

Oh, and those kids, AAU isn't helping them. It's creating generations of players who've been told they don't have to do school work, they don't have to listen to coaches, they don't need their parents, and they can fight refs on courts now.

BTW, I'm not the only who thinks this. Two of the best NBA players in history agree:

Kevin Garnett hits the nail on the head. You don't EARN anything at the AAU level. You're given everything. But the way they play, or lack of coaching, is also a huge issue. According to not just me, but Kobe Bryant, and his famous quote on the league:

“AAU basketball. Horrible, terrible, AAU basketball. It’s stupid. It doesn’t teach our kids to play the game at all, so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap, and they don’t know how to post. They don’t know the fundamentals of the game. It’s stupid.”

So why is AAU still allowed to operate? Oh, money.

Nike, Adidas, and tons of other shoe companies pour millions of dollars into summer leagues. ESPN puts their games on TV...yes, 15-year-old, fake home schooled, living in commune kids are featured on ESPN.

AAU basketball should be dissolved. Put the focus back onto high school basketball, where there are rules, suitable punishments, and multiple levels of oversight. How many more NCAA violations, sexual abuse allegations, and fights with officials on the court will it take until we grow up, and end AAU basketball?



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