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AAU Teams Need to Reevaluate Their Choice of Name



With the summer AAU circuit beginning to wind down, it’s time to address the most important issues at hand: these teams HAVE to find better names. This seems to a very miniscule detail that every AAU coach/manager/obese uncle forgot to take care of before starting their “team”. I use the world team loosely, because most AAU “teams” aren’t teams, rather a conglomerate of talent that can play Dirt Bowl-basketball better than they can get along with one another. The only “teams” that actually know the X’s and O’s of basketball well enough to function together, usually have enough talent to have their name predestined by sponsors (King James’ Shooting Stars, Team Manimal, Indiana Elite, etc. etc.). Those that have to actually pay for their shoes have the choice to pick any name from Webster’s Dictionary, but since AAU took off in the 90s, creativity has slowly fallen to the wayside.


The largest AAU Tournament in the State of Kentucky finished today with the conclusion of Eddie Ford’s Hoopfest. The 16U Division was decided between the Louisville Magic and the Next Level Retros, with the Magic taking home the crown after a 67-64 win. These two teams present us with the most basic philosophies behind name selection: A. The traditional city where you are from, followed by a nickname that is generally used and accepted nationwide. B. An arbitrary combination of slang terms. The only archetype missing from the equation? C. The blankety blank All-Stars (feel free to replace All-Stars with either Shining or Shooting Stars). Upon visiting an AAU Tournament you can successfully match one of these three templates to any AAU team you encounter.


While the names on the front of AAU team jerseys shouldn’t matter that much, the lack of clever originality speaks to how far we have fallen as a society. The world won’t come crumbling to the ground because somebody thought it’d be a good idea to name a team the Iowa Cornsharks Select, but we shouldn’t have to sit back and watch talented basketball players lose credibility because their team simply doesn’t have the “D-I” look. For example, if I asked you what team you’d rather watch play, Team Louisville or the Ville Illness, you’d obviously choose Team Louisville (the last great KY AAU dynasty during the 90s). Coaches may not go through the exact same process when deciding which game to watch, but it’s undeniable that their subconscious will rule out the most ridiculous in the crowd.



Furthermore, we shouldn’t encourage our children to use ridiculousness of this magnitude on a daily basis. In the mid-2000s the geniuses at the University of Louisville hung a giant billboard on the smokestacks off I-65 near campus reading, “The Ville: The Best College Sports Town in America”. The billboard stands to this day, reminding the thousands of esteemed graduates of the University of Louisville that their institution can now be simply referred to as “DA VILLE”. While mocking the lack of intellectual savvy of U of L is easy, it is the indoctrination of a people that is dangerous for society. The fact that my hometown is now referred to by thousands on a daily basis as simply “Da Ville”, embarrasses me. The selection of the term as something official condoned by U of L was originally questioned by a fairly large audience; presently citizens from all ages around Kentucky immediately associate “DA Ville” with U of L, which I quite frankly find pathetic. AAU Teams will never have close to the power that “DA Ville”, but the choice of stupid names continues to reinforce and teach our kids that using awful language and slang is ‘OK’.


I may seem like a crusty old conservative, speaking of the glory days when the most known deviation from basic recreational team names came in Walter Matthau’s “Bad News Bears”; I’d rather like to think of myself as a person that couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I ever had to break a huddle with the chant of “Illness”. These kids don’t have malaria or smallpox, they’re talented basketball players. Treat them like real people now and later on in life they won’t treat you like you have an illness.


Feel free to yell at me via Twitter @RoushKSR

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

13 Comments for AAU Teams Need to Reevaluate Their Choice of Name

  1. Bomb
    5:21 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    The article looks a lot like my post breakfast ritual. See the part right before the shower and after the shave.

  2. Truth
    5:31 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    So basically using slang or nicknames makes people dumb? Are you aware that Shakespeare was known to create on average 1 out of 10 words in his works? New words that society had never known until he gave meaning to them. So Shakespeare is an idiot, right? Slang is used in sports almost every single day. Hell, a lot of team names originate from slang as well. Considering the fact that slang has been around us since we began communicating as human beings I find your argument null and void.

  3. Joe
    5:41 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    Nick bud you’re usually pretty good but that was so bad it was bizarre. I kept waitin for it to go somewhere but it just got worse. We all whiff sometimes, that one was a doozy

  4. Nick Roush
    5:58 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    2. You look good, you play good. You talk like an idiot, people assume you’re an idiot. You may believe the post didn’t get much to the point or really have one at all, but I didn’t sound like an idiot. Using the term ‘illness’ as a positive adjective won’t get you a job in the future.

  5. Truth
    6:26 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    4. Not saying you’re an idiot. I have no idea who you are in reality or the amount of knowledge that you may really have. But that’s not the point. The point is slang isn’t going anywhere and the use of “The _____s” in sports for nicknames has been around forever. And don’t get me started on athletes sounding like idiots when they speak. Have you heard a post-game news conference lately? “Uh coach say I need to pass da ball more so I pass da basketball more cause, uh, Imma team player. Da team comes first is wat coach always say so I gotta do wat good for the team…” Give me a freaking break. So these are our children’s role models huh? Ones that can’t even speak without sounding like morons. Then these guys go and get millions of dollars to play whatever sport they excel in and you wonder why catch phrases like “The Ville” get popular? Nick, you just have to give this one up, man. You’re not going to win.

  6. James
    6:46 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    So Truth defends slang in his first argument and then goes on to bash the way athletes speak and use slang. What is your argument? Are you just itching to start an argument with Nick? Are you aware that you are speaking out of both sides of your mouth?

    And lastly, how can Nick when an argument when you have monopolized both sides of the argument?

    I liked it Nick and I agree that “Da Ville” is an embarrassment to we Louisvillians.

    P.S. Get a life Truth

  7. Truth
    7:19 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    6. Nice try. And I believe you meant to say ‘Win’ not ‘when’. My argument is simple, well too complex I suppose for you. While I may not agree fully with every use of slang I do accept that it is part of today’s culture. I can’t change culture, and it’s not my job to. So if you can’t change something my best advice is to get the hell over it. Which I have, how about you?

  8. Nick Roush
    7:37 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    Here is basically my point: AAU basketball is essentially glorified street ball, that is becoming more and more ridiculous as time passes. Big money by shoe companies are the driving force that keep it big, but the bulk of the kids playing are playing for teams like “Ville Illness” (you should know that I have no idea how this team operates, who plays for them, just their stupid name). These kids are the ones being taught all of the wrong things: play for yourself, use poor language, get technical fouls etc. etc. If you don’t believe me, go watch a team ‘like this’. A guy name Warren Stanton was an AAU kingpin, yelling his kids every order and getting himself into plenty of trouble along the way. He is the type of person involved with AAU that makes AAU bad.

    It’s more than bad names, it’s a bad environment for learning how to be a team player.

  9. Al/in/Indy
    7:44 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    Not really careing one way or the other, if I were to play on a team I sure as Hell wouldn’t name it “The Ville” because it could be construed as……”Vile” who under Webster is “Ghetto school who’s students who often flunk basket weaving and tying shoes without Velcro” Or head BB coach who has a credit limit at a certain abortion clinic in southern Ohio!

  10. WTF?
    10:26 pm July 21, 2013 Permalink

    I ran this post through my Kazakh to English converter and it still made no sense. I see in a post that this appears to really be about the AAU culture and the bad habits it allows kids to develop. Did you just awake from a Jim Boheim-like stupor and come to this brilliant conclusion? AAU ball has been doing this for decades and changing the name of a team to “The Honorable Roundballers of Jefferson County” is not going to change that. If your point is that AAU ball is bad for player development and you feel the need to write the 3,812th article about that, knock yourself out. But please write that and not whatever the hell you did write.

  11. idontflinch
    1:54 am July 22, 2013 Permalink

    I refer to little brother as Duh Ville.

  12. Sean
    11:44 am July 22, 2013 Permalink

    I think there are very few that call it as you do, DA Ville. The reference of it being The Ville is no different than UK students referring to Lexington as LexVegas. Or IU students referencing Bloomington as B-Town. Or Alabama students referring to Tuscaloosa as T-Town.

  13. Da Vitriol
    1:46 am July 23, 2013 Permalink

    This post was so poorly written and pointlessly vitriolic that it gave me cancer. It then proceeded to give my cancer AIDS. The words on the screen then cried out in unison, begging me to rescue them from the torture of a man whose mental masturbation birthed them. But before I could act, thirty barn owls crashed into my patio door, temporarily stunning themselves in an attempt to escape a world they just learned was co-inhabited by such a hopelessly stupid blogger.

    I sprang from the couch to take cover from the hail of broken glass and feathers, but at that very moment the sun decided to set three hours early in protest that the world it served out of the goodness of its core had allowed such low-quality content to be published in its name. Unfortunately, the moon was also nowhere to be found. This sudden celestial strike took me by surprise, and in the darkness I slipped on my living room rug, twisting my ankle.

    I called my doctor for advice, but he informed me that the international medical community had given their entire endeavor up as in vain at the very thought of the possibility that whatever mental malady that afflicts Nick Roush might someday spread to the rest of the human population.