Where are the Kentucky HS high major talents?

After having watched four days of the Kentucky High School State Tournament in which over 120,000 fans attended during the combined sessions and couple that with several years of study, in relation to the past, I see a lag in where Kentucky high school basketball stands.

After having watched four days of the Kentucky High School State Tournament in which over 120,000 fans attended during the combined sessions and couple that with several years of study, in relation to the past, I see a lag in where Kentucky high school basketball stands.

For many years Kentucky was a hotbed for individual talent capable of playing college basketball at the highest level. For the most part over the last ten years we have had bogus Mr. Basketballs.

Comparatively speaking, you take a city like Flint, Michigan has a talent level several notches above Lexington, Kentucky. They produce Major Dl prospects every year and every three or four years they produce a consensus All-American. Conversely, Lexington hasn't put out a consensus All-American since Dirk Minniefield in 1979. Something is wrong with this picture. So why is the picture so murky? Let's se if we can shed some light on it.

In the last several years, pre-college basketball has evolved into a completely structured art form. Everything now has gone to an AAU or junior AAU format. High school coaches require their player to play together as a team in the summer or a player will find it very difficult being included when the high school preparation gets under way. That has some good points but it also has a lot of drawbacks.

In yesteryear, the game of basketball was learned on the outdoors courts where 3 on 3 and 4 on 4 half-court basketball was played. There were maybe as many as 10 players gathered to play and you choose you team and waited your turn to play. The games were played to 20 and win by 4 points. So what's so special about this, writer?

Well glad you asked. A certain level of competitiveness was reach with no precise rules or no referees governing physicality. You knew you had to play hard, scratch and claw your way to victory or you would be standing on the side waiting an extended period of time to play again. Oh, sure tempers occasionally flared a once in a great while maybe fight broke out but nothing serious.

One can drive from one end of the state to the other and view empty outdoor courts in the summertime. Oh yes, we played in the heat of the summer and the chill of the fall.

Confining AAU basketball restricts the ability to play against much better competition and to spend time working on your individual game. There's a level of retardation that come with playing all the time against people your same skill. One only gets better playing against superior competition.

There are 5th and 6th grade level league teams that travel around the state and play a summer schedule. In that case, what happens to late bloomers? I dare say they get left out and maybe forever.

We might ask, why not go back to some of the old methods? Well, the Genie is out of the bottle and like anything else, once it out it's hard to put it back. It could help the fundamentals of the game such as intermediate range shooting. The game now is played with a great deal of athleticism and fundamentals suffer.

While observing the state tournament, one the thing that jumped out at me was the wealth of sophomore talent with size in the state. So maybe there's hope.


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