Friday, December 17th, 2010 at 10:00 am  |  23 responses

Kobe Bryant Wants High School Basketball to Improve

Bean, who was honored by his high school last night, laments how young American ball players are brought up through the system compared to their European counterparts. Yahoo! reports: “On the Los Angeles Lakers’ preseason trip to Barcelona, Kobe Bryant watched the young kids with a basketball and marveled over the differences in the development of too many players in the States. ‘Every single one, it seemed – the 8-year-old, the 9-year-olds – go left and they go right,’ Bryant said. ‘The older ones shoot the jump hook with the left, and they shoot the jump hook with the right. You’ve got bigger kids who can shoot from the outside, who can handle the ball and play. A lot of young players that look like [Pau] Gasol, who are just so skilled. And now, you’ve got kids here in the States, 20 years old, who can’t do those things. Damn, you’ve got max players who can’t do that’ … ‘I really had a great high school coach,’ Bryant said. ‘I really had a great high school. I had the will to learn the game, but he had the knowledge to teach me the game. He would get there early to work with me on the basic things: midrange game, footwork. But these kids now, the coaches are catering to the star players. They don’t want to tell them when they’re messing up. They don’t want to correct things. They end up skating through things in AAU [Amateur Athletic Union], and go to college and still have all these weaknesses in their game. I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I think it’s a system thing we need to address in the United States.’”

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  • Scott

    Kobe is right.

  • Real talk, Kobe… Real talk…

  • Harlem_World

    As long as there is as much money as there is in aau and the lure of the nba ‘jumps’ – you may as well tell this to the birds. It’s not going to change without a revolutionary like overhaul of the WHOLE system, and as long as there’s money involved…that isn’t going to happen.

  • Crustified-Jalepino

    Is this another cheap shot at Bron ?

  • Mike from Spain

    Even though the skill level of American young players has (allegedly) slipped a little , US players are still the best.

    How good are the new generations, any thoughts about the weaknesses of the young players’ game? I think there are many impressive young players, yet the general consensus is that quality is worse than it used to be… I think I can agree that young centers are not as skilled as one would wish, but the young guards that are coming to the league are really great

  • arjae828

    until it happens, we’ll really struggle in international play.

  • Cizzo

    KB24 is keeping all the way 100, when I go to high school games these things always pop up in my head. When I played I always listened to older players or coaches strictly to get better,i took constructive critisim in stride and in the long rn it made me a better more coachable player. Now when I see these players all I can think about is how one dementional the majority of these players are. And how much a so-called superstars are feared and or is praised. Or how much baby sitting these coaches do. Most of these kids got the natural gift to play, but I’m sure they could get alot better if the emphasis was on basic fundamental development… And big up to Slam for for bringing this highly rellevant subject to light…..

  • Overtime

    Couldnt be more right

  • bashmo

    this reminds me of Gallo’ runnin and 1 layup with the left hand to tie the game NYK vs BOS…lol that was sooo clutch.

  • T-Money

    I think the main difference is in the coaching. Everyone plays for his local HS in the states (except a few who go to powerhouses like Oak Hill) and are coached by part-time coaches with day jobs. Everyone can coach at the high school level in the U.S. – the math teacher, the janitor, a parent, etc. Over in Europe, only the best players in an age category get to play for the junior teams of the few professional basketball clubs in a given city. It’s not even about not wanting to correct mistakes – these part-time coaches don’t even know the fundamentals themselves.

  • Crustified-Jalepino

    The skill level only seems worse because the rest of the world is slowly catching up on the (already hight & very competetive skill level of) USA as a whole by stressing the Basics, DISCIPLINE , being observant & open minded over Physicality on which alot of the NBA game is based on. Now it looks were ready to learn from each other & make the game even better. True Progression

  • hendry

    the reason why US youth team is still dominating is because of the athleticism of the kids. skill wise, european kids are better.

  • Dre

    I think that Kobe is correct but it doesn’t tell the whole high school basketball story. As a high school coach for a tradition rich private school and conference I can tell you that high school basketball players are better then they were in my day only for one reason at that is athleticism. The European players are more skilled then the players over here in the US. The reason that high school basketball players are still better is because that athletic ability is still better. US players rely on athletic ability too much and they do not adjust well when faced with other athletic players who happened to be skilled with high basketball IQs.

  • T-Money

    hendry: this doesn’t apply to elite players (players on national teams). the americans on those teams are more athletic AND more skilled than anybody else – at any level. who can mess with the skill level of cp3, deron, kobe, wade, lbj, melo, kd??

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Kobe is 100% right. That’s why dudes like Gerald Green and ‘em never made it. They lacked the fundamentals.

  • http://psp2423@yahoo.com Eboy

    Ill give Kobe this one… he’s right but the differnce from American ballers from Euro ballers is that American ballers are more athletic faster and physical Euro ballers are like Gasol and Dirk.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Nah, T-money is right.
    And, unless y’all were asleep during the WBC, you had to have noticed the horrible decision making of Euro players, and generally, the overall lack of skill in many of them, particularly around the hoop.
    Was I the only one who noticed?

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Damn allen. I was about to say just that. Tmoney has a point about coaches. And there were many stupid mistakes by supposedly more skilled euros. The difference is overstated.

  • OvaChicken

    SKILL LEVEL THIS & HORRIBLE DECISIONS THAT Does anyone even remember this ? –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6TNH4w3rY0
    The Lakers tastin’ some of their own(showtime) medicine vs Barcelona. That wasa good game. Noone has mentioned this & it’s a thing USA ballers lack not completely but compared to European ballas.

  • OvaChicken

    but T-Moneys hit it on the head though

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    And who the eff is kobe to harp on players for not playing the right way when he had mde and semi froze him out in 04 finals. All cuz he wanted to go for dolo. After a few years of that, he decided he needs great teammates after all, and demanded a trade while throwing bynum under the bus. ….

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/media/slam-tv/2010/08/video-michael-jordans-love-of-the-game/ notblack

    Ovachicken Yiu just jogged my mind. By the way per poplus and players uro is better. US has more ballers therfore more are licky to be god

  • http://slamonline sulaiman ali

    Kobe is right on point. The skill of this game in the high schools of america is a dinosour. It is all about bells and whistles(athleticism. I ‘ve always maintained thea athleticism is a skill not multiple skills. When you watched Jordan you saw the perfect balance of atheleticism and skills. To this day people are marveling over his ability to dunk over people while dismissing his supreme skill set. Kobe also has to give credit to his uncle Chubby Cox, and father for being prepared and sophisticated to recognize great coaching.