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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What happened to AAU in Shreveport-Bossier City?

I remember when AAU girls basketball used to be big in the Shreveport-Bossier City area with teams comprised of area players consistently contending for national championships.
I realize that some local girls -- Airline's Emily Carter and Loyola's Chassity Brown come to mind -- have played on strong AAU teams recently, but it doesn't look like there is as much AAU presence here as in the past. With the strength of girls basketball in the area, it seems like a strong team from here could be put together if anybody had the want-to.
National tournaments for 15- and 16-year-olds were also held here. I remember a photo we had in The Times of two Olympic coaches, Pat Summit and Kay Yow, sitting side by side watching a game in a local gym. The tournaments attracted hundreds of people, including parents and coaches, who spent their money here.
This week Lafayette and Monroe are reaping the benefits of national tournaments. Putting on these tournaments takes a massive effort and dozens of volunteers. But they are well worth it. Some of them are played at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., site of the AAU's national office, so there's only a limited selection. But that doesn't mean Shreveport-Bossier City shouldn't try to bid for these events. Maybe officials have and just haven't had any luck.
If so, they should keep trying.

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