What is AAU?
The easiest way to describe AAU Basketball is to simply call it NCAA collegiate basketball with grade school and high school aged girls participating.
It’s not for everyone. There is no mandatory play rule guaranteeing playing time to each member on a team. Playing time, and how it is given out, is up to the discretion of each head coach.
The AAU season basically runs from late March through mid-July and consists of weekend tournaments. Most tournaments have the teams playing 4 games on the weekend – 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday (though there are variations). Games start early in the morning (sometimes as early as 7:30 AM) and go on throughout the day.
Yes, there is travel involved. Although each coach sets his or her team’s schedule and picks the tournaments, most coaches opt for tournaments no more than a two-hour drive from Wilmington, Delaware. Count on playing in places like Bucks County, Philadelphia, West Chester, and Aston, Pennsylvania. Some teams opt on playing in the huge, season-ending (for most teams) tournament in Wildwood, NJ in late June. All parents should be prepared to attend Nationals, located in various places throughout the country.
Because of all the basketball (four high school length games per weekend), the acceleration in skills development per player is phenomenal. Because of all the downtime, spent with teammates in places miles from home, teams become incredibly close. Because of the year-to-year-to-year carryover of team rosters, players make many lasting friendships. The result is a “total package” experience that rivals or surpasses that found on a typical school team.
There are lots of off-season basketball programs in the area. While most of these are great programs run by dedicated volunteers, there is one major fact to consider. All of the big-name (and medium-name) high school basketball players in Delaware and Pennsylvania play AAU. Boys and Girls are recruited by colleges and universities out of AAU. In fact, more players are probably “discovered” playing AAU ball than from playing on their winter high school team. In short, it’s simply the place to be for players serious about advancing in the game. ...And if you're serious about basketball, why go anywhere else?