Originally Posted by SourPatchKids
Thorpe, do you coach youth basketball?
I've been coaching middle school CYO (that's Catholic Youth Organization) basketball for almost a decade.
I grew up playing just outside the fringes of that CYO culture, which in New England and New York, and the northeast in general, is kind of a thing. I was cut from a number of CYO teams in my youth, and often wound up on other travelling teams that wound up competing with those kids at a very high level. The way it worked was that kids who went to private catholic elementary and middle schools had an obvious head start to make teams, and then a certain number of kids who lived in the parish district could also make the time, but it was pretty limited. And coaches would offer scholarships to elementary schools to inner city kids, whose parents were more than happy to get their kids into the Catholic school tract, to get them on the hoops teams.
Those elementary schools fed the local catholic high schools. Schools which consisted of maybe a couple hundred kids, but perhaps the 4 of the top 20 HS basketball players in the state. They'd also get kids from NY to transfer and do the travel, like my guy Rashamel Jones who I mentioned above, and his backcourt mate, Earl Jones, who wound up at Rutgers, and later transferred to Iona.
Those catholic schools are direct feeders to these small New England Catholic Universities, which offer a really premium education, I played at one myself as a walk on. But if you were a good HS basketball player at one of these local HSs, and you had a desire to play in college, these schools had a relationship where they'd hold a spot if possible for the kid, knowing that down the road when a better player came through, the coaches would sort of coax him in that direction.
It's a weird sort of cottage version of what the national AAU system has become, and frankly it sort of grew out of that. And it happens all over the northeast. Bobby Hurley's vaunted St. Anthony's teams have had an unusually high percentage of guys go to Seton Hall, for example. Most of those storied New Jersey HS programs come out of this system. And a few years ago when St. Anthony had that national title, and then two years ago with St. Pat's, a lot of it stemmed from other churches having to close their doors, like Patterson Catholic (Tim Thomas' school) and them getting an influx of talent.