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All Star Touring Teams to Play College Opponents

College coaches support innovative tour format

Creating opportunities for College basketball recruitment takes up a lot of headspace in the offices of AAU Australia according to Co-Founder and COO, Pete Unwin. “It drives us. It is our motivation. It is the filter that we look at everything through. It is why College Bound exists, why we have created our Coach Connex network of college coaches, why we do tournaments, the EXYBL, our basketball village initiative, and the All-Star tour we are announcing today.”

 

Following consultation with their College coach network, AAU Australia has announced the creation of an All-Star US College Tour for Autumn 2021. No ordinary tour, the All-Star US College Tour will be a unique experience in Australian basketball terms. “This is an incredible opportunity,” explains Unwin, “for talented prospects to stand out from the 1000s of names they are competing against for spots on College rosters by playing a College squad, in their gym, in front of their coaches, and with other College coaches in the stands, or viewing the games via live streaming or through replays and highlights. It helps overcome a coach’s inability to calibrate Aussie talent and ‘level’ with what they can view in the States.”

 

Able to see a prospect play live is an integral part of college recruitment for North American talent. Says Melbourne-born Umpqua Community College (OR) Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Daniel Leeworthy, it helps decision making enormously. “I receive hundreds of emails each week from potential recruits.  Everyone wants to play College but not many know how to go about it.  Eventually the recruits all blend together and it gets hard to distinguish talent based on an email and video clips.  Everyone makes all their shots on a highlight clip, right?!  I get a better sense of who the player is from watching the player play in person from talent to character, to work ethic and passion for the game.  This is much more effective and we have a greater rate of success as a program when we recruit players we have seen and are familiar with.”

 

While not a guarantee of being recruited, Unwin is confident the tour schedule will be the final piece of the puzzle to convince coaches. “The best anyone can do to increase their chances of being recruited is take up the best opportunities available. Playing live against a Coach’s squad of players, or other recruiting prospects that are known quantities removes the obstacles preventing a coach from choosing Aussie talent.”

I get a better sense of who the player is from watching the player play in person from talent to character, to work ethic and passion for the game. This is much more effective and we have a greater rate of success as a program when we recruit players we have seen and are familiar with.

Daniel Leeworthy, Men's Basketball Head Coach, Umpqua Community College (OR)

“Our schedule will be tough, but it will be worth every cent to be part of if.”

 

The tour is planned to last 14-16 nights, with most play focused in the Pacific Northwest region of the US. “We will play mainly in Washington and Oregon, against a number of JUCOs in that area with potential forays into Northern California and Utah”, notes Unwin. “There will be a reasonable amount of travel involved as we are looking at playing between 10 and 14 games, as well as participate in at least one College recruitment camp. Not an easy schedule but worthwhile. Once the COVID-19 travel issues are resolved we expect our itinerary will be locked down.”

 

Participation in the tour will be by invitation only with AAU Australia Co-Founders and support staff already on the hunt for talent. As mentioned by Unwin, winning games is not the key criteria, but a squad that is competitive is essential. “A lot of guys when playing in front of coaches in recruiting mode often forget how much a coach is looking for a player who can gel with a team. Some seem to think this is their moment, and to hell with their teammates. We aren’t looking for that kid, however talented he may be. We want guys who can hold their own, but who know that they will ultimately succeed when they focus on team. We will be watching a lot of games and mix tapes.”

Players interested in the All-Star US College Tour can go here to express their interest, submit mix tapes for consideration, and read more about the tour plan.

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