I saw a discussion on facebook a few days ago posed by NYC’s Terrell “Crashdummy” Kelly about street agents. He asked “Who is better, street agents or coaches when it comes to a youngster’s basketball future? Sonny Vacarro – the father of Big Time AAU basketball – started out as a street agent, and an article by ESPN’s John Pessa talk’s bout his rise and discusses the accusation of him ruining basketball through the summer league culture that he established in the United States.
Brooklyn’s Rodney Parker was known around the city as a “street agent” up until his death in 2007 and helped Smush Parker rise from the playground to the NBA. Many accused him of paying amateur athletes and being the contact person for other activities that could ruin an athlete’s eligibility. In 1977, Rodney’s name came up when the NCAA banned UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian from coaching for recruiting violations, but the ban was overturned in court.
Nonetheless. I find the question fascinating, and as I’ve watched the street agent game in NYC change the game (25 years of viewing), the biggest problem that has entered the game is the “off the court” game that many of these agents quietly promote, and now in 2010, the off the court activities are ingrained in the streetball mentality, and have hurt player performance in the city.
What do you think? Are street agents better at promoting basketball activity than high school or AAU/Community-based programs?