Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Exploiting Young Talent

    I read a book recently titled Play Their Hearts Out written by George Dohrmann. I would like to give you a brief background of the book and then explain why I think it is worth reading. It is a true story about a man named Joe Keller who has a goal of finding the next LeBron James. To do this he decides to start up a youth basketball team and recruit the most talented kids he could find to fill out the roster. He get a group of kids around 10 years old and has one who he sees as a stud. The young boys name is Demetrius Walker. Keller quickly tries to exploit Walker as much as he can. He takes Walker under his wing and treats him like his own son. However, even though from the outside it may seem that Kellers intentions are good the only thing really on his mind is getting rich off Walkers talent. This brief review doesn't nearly cover all of the terrible things that Keller does to exploit Walker. It is important to understand that this is definitely not a feel good sports story. Even though its about kids and basketball reading it will make you angry and grow to hate people like Joe Keller.
      That being said I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in basketball and who has ever been a part of any sort of AAU program. It shows the true motives of some of the coaches working in these programs and all the terrible things they do. It makes you aware of things you should possibly be looking out for when you have youth kids in sports someday. It helps you understand what is wrong with these programs and how many things need to be changed. I promise you if you start it you will fly through the book. I think the book relates to this class because it focuses on more of the darker side of sports and gaming that you don't always see.
      I could discuss this book all day. Every event in the book makes me want to go tell someone how much you hate the people in it. If anyone has any questions about the book leave a comment following this post and I will answer it as soon as I can.


  1. That's a really interesting story. How did the author figure out that Keller took Demetrius under his wing only because of his athletic ability? I'm only wondering because there are other cases, such as in "The Blind Side", where Michael Oher was taken in by a family, but more out of love than anything else. Just wondering if Keller told others that he was trying to exploit Demetrius or if the writer found out in some other way.

    I think that one of the things that's wrong in athletics right now is how young athletes are being recruited. There are top national rankings for middle schoolers that haven't even hit their growth spurts yet. How can these kids be accurately ranked, and in some cases, even offered college athletic scholarships at such a young age? For every LeBron James or Tiger Woods, there are 100 times as many players that couldn't make it to the professional level despite being such a highly touted recruit.

    What happened to Demetrius Walker?

    1. The author followed the Coach from the time he formed the team until the kids graduated high school. Now Walker plays for New Mexico

  2. I think is not only indicative of young people in athletics but young people in general nowadays. I'm sure we can all relate to how our parent's childhood was dramatically different that what ours has shaped up to be. Even moving forward, its seems kids are being forced at a younger and younger age to "reach" their potential. ACT/SAT classes in elementary school?!, parents forcing them to join every single extra-curricular possible, and trying in any way to pad that resume for college and eventually a successful career. It's one thing to give children the tools and guidance to be who they want to be and channel that ambition, but its quite another to have them grow up at such a soon age. They need to have a childhood, to play, and to enjoy life before being thrust into the pressures of adulthood and "real life."