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Q: What is your name and who did you play for?

EW: My name is Erik Whaley and I played for the Charlotte Royals and QCAA Force.

Q: What years did you participate in AAU Basketball?

EW: From 6th Grade to 12th Grade.

Q: Who was the toughest team you played against and who was on the team?

EW: That’s a loaded question because we were a very talented team ourselves. We didn’t have any major division one players but we had many who went on to play mid major and lower division 1. Toughest team I would have to say would be All Ohio Red with Jarred Sullinger, Aaron Craft, Trey Burke, and Juwan Staten. New York Guachos with Doron Lamb and D-One Sports with John Wall, Jt Terrell, Theo Pinson, Quincy Miller and Duece Bello were tough as well.

Q: As far as the culture of AAU and the traveling, do you feel like this was your most fun time playing basketball?

EW:Yes, I keep in contact with the majority of all my teammates from AAU. I have a closer bond with them than I do my high school teammates. With so much traveling you tend to grow a really tight bond. On the flipside I do not feel a lot of teams over the years had a bond that we had. Our coach made it a family atmosphere almost like the culture of the NBA. We had team camp where we would go away for a weekend and just learn each other. That bond translated on the court a lot of times, and helped us get wins over more TALENTED teams.

Q: From the outside looking in, many spectators feel that AAU is wasteful. As it exposes players to too many games a day and more susceptible to agents and violations. Do you agree?

EW: It definitely puts a wear on the body. The most games I’ve played in one day was six. I do understand people’s concerns. I think a lot of it is overblown though. As far as the agents and violations are concerned. That was happening back in the early 90s and late 80s before AAU became the monster organization it is. “If they want you they will find you”, I do think AAU is over saturated though. When I first started playing it used to be the best of the best playing. Now there is a team every where you look. Anybody can make an AAU team and I think that’s where the bad coaching and player development comes from.

Q: Did AAU Basketball help you gain more attention from college coaches than regular high school basketball did?

EW: Definitely. AAU is during the summer so more coaches are able to come out and be a lot more personable than in high school cause the seasons are at the same time. I’ve played in front of every major conference coach there is during AAU.

Q: Recruiting is about gaining an advantage whenever you can. Many scouts such as ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and 247 Sport’s Evan Daniels believe that recruits are now picking colleges based on their specific brand sponsor such as Adidas and Nike. Do you believe this is true?

EW: YEEEEESSS!!!! I have many friends that chose schools because they were Nike and not Adidas.

Q: In your time playing and traveling, did you ever witness any NCAA violations?

EW: Yes.

Q: In your own personal opinion, do you think AAU has hurt the game of basketball?

EW: As far as player development yes I do. As far as exposure no. When it comes to AAU its really about finding the right coach and playing situation.

Q: With big time AAU teams sponsored by NBA players, with the likes of Chris Paul’s team (CP3) and Dwight Howard’s team (D12 Warriors), the NBA seems to not have a problem with AAU. Though the problem lies in the middle with college basketball. Do you feel that the value of college basketball is being overlooked?

EW: Yes but that’s the NBA’s fault. I’ve always been a fan of the college baseball rule. You can go straight to the pros out of high school but if you choose to go to college you must stay at least 3 years.

Q: Thank you for your time Erik. Let the people know where you’re from and peace out!

EW: Erik WHALEY 704 MY CITY!!! THANKS PLAYFORKEEPS!!!

-Terrence Whaley