The Shoe That Fits

Already this year, several athletes at the school have been recruited by colleges and have had to make difficult decisions on which school to pick. Student athletes must make several considerations before they make their choice.

But in Division 1 College Basketball, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) star’s footwear plays a significant role in this process. This hasbecome a recurring theme in the scandalous nature of Division 1 College Basketball recruiting. Because only five players are on the court at one time in a basketball game, a superstar such as Kentucky’s Anthony Davis can turn a struggling program into an immediate title contender. Such is the case for UCLA after the college successfully recruited the second-ranked
high school player in the nation, Shabazz Muhammad.

UCLA’s well-documented recent struggles, both off and on the court, compelled them to make a move for a top prospect like Shabazz. Shabazz’s decision to choose a struggling program perpetuated some hysteria and suspicion by the media.

“Adidas, um I mean UCLA, wins the Shabazz Muhammad Sweepstakes,” wrote’s Jeff Goodman. “Shabazz stayed loyal to Adidas [the] entire way.”

Most college recruiting is done at AAU tournaments, where teams travel from across the country to play in a tournament, like the Nike Beach Jam. Brands invite affiliated AAU teams, players, and coaches for recruiting purposes. These tournaments are where the majority of recruiting gets done, and why top recruits tend to stay on the Nike or Adidas path.

From the perspective of a student who has no idea where he wants to go to college, I feel for kids in this situation. Besides being talented at basketball, these recruits are just high school students who are making a life-changing decisions. Instead of being being offered encouragement, they are pulled in all directions by corporate sponsors looking to fill their pockets. So to those seniors who have gotten into many colleges but just cannot decide which one to attend, be thankful that your decision will not result in the firing of your AAU Coach or spur a multitude of accusations and threats via Twitter. Because as difficult as the college process is, we have it a whole lot easier than Shabazz.