Being a kid has a different meaning

April 23rd, 2009

Remember when you were just a kid, about 13-years-old? All you wanted to do was watch T.G.I.F. on ABC or go to Friday Night Skate. If your parents were in a good mood and you got lucky, you could have a sleepover.

Those were the days! Not a care in the world.

Now, kids that age that happen to be gifted in the game of basketball have something to worry about, something a bit more important than pimples: Where are they going to go to college?

In January of this year, the NCAA put a guideline in place that declares seventh graders are now classified as “prospective student-athletes,” allowing college coaches to recruit them under the same rules as they would a high school player.

Because of this, we have kids like Allonzo Trier, the feature of a recent New York Times article. Trier is labeled as the best high school player in the class of 2014.

Yes, high school class of 2014.

The article followed the seventh-grader in Seattle during his daily basketball workout. His mom, who works an early shift to ensure that she can watch her son workout after school, demands that the youngster makes at least 450 shots per day.

After he makes his 450 shots, Trier’s mother, Marcie, takes him to a basketball tutor for a private session, and after that it is off to practice for his summer team, which traveled as far as New York.

That was about as far as I got in the article. I just couldn’t stomach anymore.

For a college coach to sit in a living room and recruit a 16-year-old is one thing. That 16-year-old can at least drive to practice.

But trying to get a commitment for six years down the road from a 13-year-old just seems ridiculous to me. A kid that age thinks a big commitment is the relationship he has with his “girlfriend.”

I am not really sure who is at fault here. Some would say college coaches, but if they don’t recruit this kid, one of their rivals will. It seems as though recruiting these days is all about establishing a relationship early and then maintaining it.

I think it falls with the parents. Sure, they want what’s best for their kids. Does Marcie Trier want what’s best for her son? After reading the article, I wasn’t sure.

Above all, I guess I just feel bad for the kid. When you’re 13, you shouldn’t have to worry about people who want to be your friends having an agenda.

What if he gets hurt? What if he doesn’t make it? Then what?

For the sake of little Allonzo, let’s hope we never find out.