In basketball, AAU teams have risen to great prominence as powerhouse programs in big cities attract rosters full of blue-chip NCAA recruits. Performance in AAU play may be more important to those recruits than their own high school careers.
Unfortunately, the world of AAU basketball is also full of sharks looking to exploit young players. The adults associated with AAU programs often wield tremendous influence on their young charges -- and have been known to use that influence to steer their most talented players to certain college programs or pro agents.
Sports agent David Falk -- who managed the NBA careers of Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and others -- recently told Darren Rovell of CNBC, "... we're dealing in a world where agents are splitting fees with AAU coaches all the time. And it's getting worse."