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Basketball Season Isn’t Over Yet for Some Hopewell Players; It’s AAU Season!

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AAU basketball season has officially kicked off and Hopewell Sports Nation caught up with Central Valley Head Boys Basketball Coach Brandon Ambrose and former Beaver Falls Basketball Coach Doug Biega to get their take on today’s AAU and its popularity.

AAU has never been bigger in Hopewell than it is right now.  Both boys and girls have been taking advantage of the many available organizations.  Beaver County Basketball Club, Drill 4 Skill, and Flight 724 are the most popular AAU organizations for boys and girls in Hopewell.

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HSN asked Coach Ambrose who just finished his 20th season as a head coach for his feelings as to why that is.

“AAU has changed a lot over the years,” said Ambrose. “Originally it was reserved for simply the elite players, and there was only one or two AAU teams in the entire Pittsburgh area. As I got into coaching, I saw that a lot more kids were playing AAU and there were a lot more organizations.  I wanted a place for my high school and youth players to be able to play in the off season and get quality instruction, focused on skill development rather than simply playing games.”

Coach Ambrose is the founder of the Beaver County Basketball Club AAU Organization.  When asked why he started his own organization he added, “I really just started my own program so that my players would have a place to play in the offseason that focused primarily on fundamental skill improvement instead of simply collecting the best assortment of talent. Not all my players were good enough to make a high-level AAU team, so I wanted them to have a place to play.”

When asked why AAU is so popular in Hopewell right now Ambrose stated, “I think you simply have some basketball minded individuals in the community that have kids playing at Hopewell right now. Doug Biega, who was a highly successful coach at the high school level and has taken the lead with those middle school kids and helped reshape the youth program. Craig Biller, who is currently running the youth was a very successful college player and basketball is in his DNA.  Likewise, my son is now in 4th grade. In each of those levels, there seems to be parents and kids, who just simply like basketball along with those coaches realize that in order to compete at Hopewell we have to play in the offseason.”

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Doug Biega agreed with Ambrose’s take.

“It was very different 20 years ago. You had to be invited to participate,” said Biega. “It was for the best of the best exclusively. It is very, very different now. Now, as long as your parents are willing to get you to the places and pay the fee, there are so many organizations that are willing to place players.  And even within all of these many organizations, there are levels in which players can be placed.  So, there is no reason for every single person who is interested to not get some extra basketball in. But it is not at all like the AAU model that was in existence a few decades ago.”

When asked about more Hopewell kids playing AAU, Biega added, “I think the current eighth grade group had a lot to do with it as well as just the availability of so many programs. People see that age group succeeding and learn that they do not play only in season. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Hopefully this group influenced many more kids in Hopewell to play basketball more than three months per year. It seems that it has, and the results are showing. The fourth-grade group is very, very talented as well. And I believe they are all playing together.”

If your child has interest in learning more about the Beaver County Basketball Club AAU, they can reach out to Coach Ambrose ambroseb@basd.k12.pa.us.

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