New World Virginia 17-under head coach Chris Rhone makes adjustments during a timeout of an early season tournament
When it comes to AAU basketball, many have opinions as far as if its good for kids growth in basketball or if its isn't? Critics from every level of basketball have spoken loudly about how AAU basketball is killing the college and pro game. While, there are bad seeds planted in the ever evolving grassroots level of basketball, there are also those who genuinely are involved to help kids maximize their potential on and off the court. The genuine individuals usually are voiceless against the frequent attacks. I thought, why not change that? Why not have coaches who have been involved with AAU at the highest level and who are truly dedicated to the development of players give a inside perspective as to what it's all about. Enter Chris Rhone. Rhone is the head coach of Virginia Academy and head coach for the newly formed New World Virginia 17-under. While the New World organization as a whole competes on the Adidas circuit, New World Virginia is looking to prove that they are deserving by playing in some of the most competitive AAU tournaments in the country. So without further delay here is an introduction into whats to come from Rhone throughout the summer on our Inside the Circuit series. - Finest Magazine CEO Cardell Dudley
Part I: Your Life Can Change At Any Moment
First, when I was asked to write this blog I was hesitant. One, I’m not a writer; I visualize and put it together. Two, I don’t like to express my opinions too much about things I can’t control, but then I thought “why not”. Everyone (parents, handlers, host parents, player, coaches, etc) will all have a different perspective of what AAU is about. I will give my perspective as a coach affiliated with an Adidas grassroots organization, but a team that’s not on a major shoe circuit.
As a head coach of high school, I want all my players playing basketball at a high level all year; all the while getting the necessary exposure needed for them to attain their dream of playing college basketball. Whether people like it or not, what’s the best way for them to accomplish this goal? You’re right, AAU basketball. AAU has provided the necessary platform for high school players and colleges across the nation gives millions of dollars yearly in scholarships.
Do you need the circuit? In simple Yes, but in some cases no! A major shoe circuit provides a platform that’s attractive to all; travel expense, free gear, exposure, elite camps, high level competition against the best players in the nation, college head coaches, etc. Why would a player not want all of this? In reality, that can be one of the major problems with the AAU culture. A lot of parents and players think they are elite and they want to attain only division I scholarships. They get caught up with the hype of being on TV and making it to the NBA.
Whatever happened to the days where values of getting a education was the most important thing and preparing kids on how to provide for their family one day. As a trainer, coach, and mentor, I’m extremely blessed. I remind myself with that every day. God created this opportunity for me and I use basketball as a vessel to teach my kids more about life. Not being on the circuit for me is not a big deal. I train some of the top Div. I kids in my area, and I communicate daily with college coaches at all levels. The ultimate goal I have for my kids is to play college basketball after their high school season at the level that best suits their style of play. The only priority they need to focus on is simple, keep your GRADES UP!! At our games during the first live period, we had Div I, II, and III coaches coming to see our 17U New World Virginia team. I have 60% of my team receiving Div. I interest and the other 40% receiving interest at other levels. I’m fine with this. The mixture is what works for me as a coach. As long as we are playing together, playing hard, and competing, the college scholarships will take care of themselves.I say that to say this. Will all my players attain scholarships or free money? Yes, I can personally guarantee they all go to college to play basketball at the next level. AAU is providing the necessary exposure needed and we are going to the right tournaments for all our players to be seen by various coaches. It’ simple AAU CHANGE’S LIVES FOR PLAYERS AT ALL LEVELS!!! The question is what level are you?
17U NEW WORLD VIRGINIA
Part II: Hostage Host Parents and Sideline Parent Coaches :( Coming Soon)
Chris Rhone Varsity Head Basketball Coach Virgina Academy
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