Class of 2021 Jai Smith (Ludden)

retro44

Women's Athletic Director
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
12,449
Likes
9,585
#4
Sounds like raw talent. Only an 8th grader, so plenty of time to improve his game. Guessing he will be hitting the AAU circuit this summer. Someone to definitely keep an eye on. Sounds like a real good kid as well.
AAU will ruin another kid then.
 

Francis03

All American
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
6,228
Likes
24,554
#7
Not a huge fan of the AAU system, but almost every top level college recruit participates in it. Not sure how it would ruin him, as there are countless examples of ex-AAU kids who have gone on to stardom.
It's crazy how some don't realize that AAU gives these kids an opportunity to get out of the hood and travel around the country to compete against the best in the nation. Watch an EYBL game and tell me how that is any different than a regular HS game. People just like to stereotype what they know little about when their current favorite college and NBA player came through the same system.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
1,787
Likes
2,058
#8
It's crazy how some don't realize that AAU gives these kids an opportunity to get out of the hood and travel around the country to compete against the best in the nation. Watch an EYBL game and tell me how that is any different than a regular HS game. People just like to stereotype what they know little about when their current favorite college and NBA player came through the same system.
Kobe really fanned the flames with his rant a few years back on AAU...
 

shandeezy7

All American
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
5,618
Likes
7,921
Age
33
Location
Buffalo, NY
#9
It's crazy how some don't realize that AAU gives these kids an opportunity to get out of the hood and travel around the country to compete against the best in the nation. Watch an EYBL game and tell me how that is any different than a regular HS game. People just like to stereotype what they know little about when their current favorite college and NBA player came through the same system.
Yeah I get the issues that people have with AAU, and I don't necessarily think it's the best way of doing things, but to say that it will ruin a kid's game by participating in it is pretty ignorant IMO.
 

Francis03

All American
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
6,228
Likes
24,554
#10
Kobe really fanned the flames with his rant a few years back on AAU...
Yep. Kobe and Sir Charles have ranted against AAU, so people just piggyback off that and call it the devil of bball when it's far from the case. Melo, KD, CP3, Steph Curry and a long list of other NBA stars sponsor AAU teams, which I think is a very good look on their part. I read a really nice article recently that detailed how Penny Hardaway spends his time in retirement coaching a HS team and then in the spring/summer continues coaching and mentoring them through his Team Penny AAU program. People need to educate themselves on what they're craping on first before passing judgment. You definitely have some guys who are in the AAU scene for the wrong reasons, but for the most part there are plenty of good dudes who spend countless hours away from their families to help these youngins throughout the spring/summer and keep them out of trouble.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
1,989
Likes
2,479
Location
Fort Myers, FL aka Dunk City
#11
Yep. Kobe and Sir Charles have ranted against AAU, so people just piggyback off that and call it the devil of bball when it's far from the case. Melo, KD, CP3, Steph Curry and a long list of other NBA stars sponsor AAU teams, which I think is a very good look on their part. I read a really nice article recently that detailed how Penny Hardaway spends his time in retirement coaching a HS team and then in the spring/summer continues coaching and mentoring them through his Team Penny AAU program. People need to educate themselves on what they're craping on first before passing judgment. You definitely have some guys who are in the AAU scene for the wrong reasons, but for the most part there are plenty of good dudes who spend countless hours away from their families to help these youngins throughout the spring/summer and keep them out of trouble.
I saw Hardaway's HS team this year in the City of Palms, where they came came up just short falling to national powerhouse Montverde in the finals. He's got a few really good underclassmen in T.J Moss, Alex Lomax, and Chandler Lawson and should have one of the better teams in the nation last year.

I actually got to spend a few minutes talking to him when I bumped into him at the food tent between games. He's a great guy and was very accommodating to everyone that approached him.
 

two3zone

Living Legend
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
11,757
Likes
15,357
Location
Syracuse, NY, United States
#12
The AAU hate is turning into "the NBA is awful" myth around here.

At this point probably every NBA player and most D1 players have gone through AAU and honestly I don't think we've ever seen more talented players as we do today, especially the depth of great players.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
223
Likes
296
#14
VIDEO: 8th grader Jai Smith shows crazy basketball skills

This kid is a stud. Donnelly is bringing him along slowly but Jai is very skilled. He is not just a tall 8th grader. As for AAU I think the views being shown here are outdated. EBYL and the Adidas circuit are high level basketball with very competitive hard played games.
Gotta pull kids out of their comfort zones for better competition. Some of these kids could be playing against HS teams with all <6' kids . Thus, IMO the AAU circuit is a good thing. Plus a kid in the 6'6" range might be stuck playing center in HS. On the AAU circuit, the player would be able to play a position more suited to their college level position. It goes with every youth sport. The travel and select teams play better competition and more games to enhance skills and provide better college opportunities.
 

RF2044

Living Legend
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
19,576
Likes
42,580
#15
This kid has a big frame for only being an 8th grader. Tall kids at that age are often bean poles, but this kid already has some muscle definition. If he's a good enough athlete, he's going to be a monster. I'd be shocked if he doesn't get to 6-10 if he's already 6-7 at age 13.
 

RF2044

Living Legend
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
19,576
Likes
42,580
#16
It's crazy how some don't realize that AAU gives these kids an opportunity to get out of the hood and travel around the country to compete against the best in the nation. Watch an EYBL game and tell me how that is any different than a regular HS game. People just like to stereotype what they know little about when their current favorite college and NBA player came through the same system.
I'll add that the real issue is the quality of coaching. As with everywhere else, you have a wide range of coaching aptitude. Some AAU programs are terrific, others aren't coached as well, and the kids aren't as focused on fundamentals. But that isn't true of all AAU programs--some of which play at a very high level.
 

orangefog

Voted "Best Looking Poster" 6 years in a row
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
7,563
Likes
17,408
#17
I'll add that the real issue is the quality of coaching. As with everywhere else, you have a wide range of coaching aptitude. Some AAU programs are terrific, others aren't coached as well, and the kids aren't as focused on fundamentals. But that isn't true of all AAU programs--some of which play at a very high level.
And, to get the top kids, some probably sell the fact that they will feature the kid and give him freedom on the court.
 

Ward

Starter
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
1,065
Likes
1,927
#18
I'll add that the real issue is the quality of coaching. As with everywhere else, you have a wide range of coaching aptitude. Some AAU programs are terrific, others aren't coached as well, and the kids aren't as focused on fundamentals. But that isn't true of all AAU programs--some of which play at a very high level.
And, to get the top kids, some probably sell the fact that they will feature the kid and give him freedom on the court.
Agree there is merit to both of these points, however, the same exact thing can be said for high school basketball as well but that seems to escape the ire of many.
 

upperdeck

Living Legend
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
10,242
Likes
5,828
#19
I spent a ton of time at AAU all over the east coast, i could count on one hand the well coached teams.. There is elite AAU and then there is the 75% of the rest which is a joke, its pretty much pick up basketball with refs. the difference is that many HS coaches push kids into playing AAU to develop them because they dont want to do it themselves or dont know how.. its crazy expensive and a money maker for places at the expense of the kids.
 

retro44

Women's Athletic Director
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
12,449
Likes
9,585
#21
I spent a ton of time at AAU all over the east coast, i could count on one hand the well coached teams.. There is elite AAU and then there is the 75% of the rest which is a joke, its pretty much pick up basketball with refs. the difference is that many HS coaches push kids into playing AAU to develop them because they dont want to do it themselves or dont know how.. its crazy expensive and a money maker for places at the expense of the kids.
You touched on part of what I meant and what I don't like is all the sleazy agents/boosters who ruin these kids with promises of great riches and rewards.

I had friend who coached a local girls AAU team and had some pretty big recruits,one who went on to Georgia told me stuff that just went on with the girls only he had to deal with and he said it is much worse on the boys end.

Then the big story of the AAU coach around DC that was dealing with Maryland I believe that made tired of hearing about AAU ball and how they sell their players to the highest bidder
 

TheGov3304

No Value, None
Joined
Dec 29, 2016
Messages
343
Likes
393
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
#23
It's crazy how some don't realize that AAU gives these kids an opportunity to get out of the hood and travel around the country to compete against the best in the nation. Watch an EYBL game and tell me how that is any different than a regular HS game. People just like to stereotype what they know little about when their current favorite college and NBA player came through the same system.
Kristaps "The Unicorn" Porzingis is my favorite player...he comes from the shores of Latvia, not the American AAU system.
 

TheGov3304

No Value, None
Joined
Dec 29, 2016
Messages
343
Likes
393
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
#25
JB won't go to New Jersey to recruit, do you think he is going to start scouring Latvia?
I have stated this before on the forum, and I will state it again. We need to get in the Latvian market. They have been an Olympic power since the mid 1900s and have produced quality NBA players...such as...The Unicorn...and Andres Biedrins...crickets
 
Top