The State of Mississippi (HS Basketball) – The Final Chapter

Sadly, the game of basketball has lost its purity. Corrupted by greed and exploitation, pride replaced by purpose, basketball — particularly at the high-stakes high school level — is no longer a game played simply for the sake of playing a game.                      –Scoop Jackson  

Want to know what makes AAU basketball such a breeding ground for corruption? In the Amateur Athletic Union…anything goes. There are no special qualifications needed to become an AAU coach, you just do it. Want to start your own AAU team? Go right ahead. Want to have a kid play for you from another state? No problem. There are no rules against recruiting in AAU. It’s these types of things that make the game so crooked. The summer AAU circuit has replaced the shoe camp as the most important event in a kids summer. And the AAU coach has replaced the HS school coach as the most influential person in the early stages of a kids basketball career.  All of the things that I just mentioned are what makes Omhar Carter who he is. People like him have become power brokers in the world of amateur athletics. College coaches and pro scouts know that they’re prohibited from having direct contact with HS players, so nowadays if they want to get to a kid they just go through his AAU coach to do it. If an AAU coach has a star player like Omhar does in LaQuinton Ross, that relationship gives that coach the leverage and the ability to get anything that he wants for himself. And that’s when the kid gets taken advantage of and he becomes a commodity; a product to be “sold” on the open market to the highest bidder.

I’m not implying that all AAU coaches are bad people. The things that I’ve written about can happen anywhere and at the same time they happen everywhere. There are a number of AAU coaches and organizations out there that really care about giving kids an opportunity to live out their dreams and they have programs that are run the right way. Omhar Carter said that the people who talk bad about him are just haters. To that I say where there’s smoke, there’s fire. People wouldn’t just go around calling you and your partner a liar and a thief if there wasn’t some truth in there somewhere. You can’t try to be “city slick” because you think everybody else is “country dumb”. Yes, if you’re doing something good you will have haters, that’s just the world we live in; but if your first order of business or the primary principle in your life is to always operate from a standpoint of integrity, then with that comes trust and respect and it makes it easier to separate the haters from everybody else. That’s called keeping the grass cut so you can see the snakes coming. But even with that being said, and after everything that I’ve written about him, I don’t think that Omhar Carter is a bad person. I think that what he’s done with making “Q” into what he is and what he’s done with the MBA Hoops organization is something to be admired. I just think that he got caught up in himself and the success that he’s seen so far has gone to his head and at times has affected his better judgement. The only things that you have that’s worth anything in this world is your name, your reputation and your word. You don’t want those three things to be associated with anything that’s negative. Hopefully he realizes that and takes the steps necessary to get them cleaned up.

Parents, do your homework. Find out everything that you can about an organization before allowing your child to play. Educate yourselves and then educate your kids. I hope that what I’ve written has helped both parents and players alike; I did this for you. I would like to personally thank everyone who has followed this story and those who have helped contribute to it. The support is greatly appreciated.

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