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How It Started

How it all started

I have been involved in AAU Basketball in the Seattle area since 1991.  It started when I was asked to coach a Metro League “All Star” Team in the old LA Gear Spring League.  I worked with some really talented players, met some great coaches, and I was hooked.

That following winter I formed a team of 5th and 6th Graders in the Central District of Seattle.  The experience with those kids changed my life.  I had the opportunity to watch these young men grow as athletes and individuals.  Our nucleus, 7 players, stayed together for 8 years.  Families bonded and players made friends for life.  Most of those players are doing well today.  They have families, careers, some are coaches, others are leaders in our communities.   Some have achieved tremendous success.  One, Phillip Heath (Rainier Beach HS) went on to win (7)  Mr. Olympia Titles, tying Arnold Schwarzenegger for 2nd All Time wins.   Another became Washington State HS “Mr. Basketball” and Pac 10 Newcomer Of The Year at the University Of Washington.  But the one I think most about, is Ronald Preston, probably our most talented player.  He was murdered when he was 17 or 18 years old.  We just couldn’t keep him away from the gangs and eventually his lifestyle caught up to him.  That was when I truly understood AAU Basketball was more than just practices and games.  It was a calling and a way of life.   I realized I needed to be a mentor, not just their coach.

In 1996 I organized my first league,  The PNAAU Spring League.  That was when I figured out I could create my own activities to keep my players off the streets and engaged.  It also meant I would be able to keep an eye on them.  Give a few of them jobs scoring games so they could learn some responsibility, and make a few dollars.  That following  winter I hosted (4) tournaments, Veterans Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Presidents Day and the Spring League.  Couldn’t win the championship of any of them.  CAYA was the best team back then.  Seattle Pirates, PRO Stock and Peoples Center from Tacoma all had strong programs in those days.  Since then I have organized many AAU Leagues and Tournaments in the area, and look forward to continuing to offer quality events to the teams of the PNAAU Association.

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