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"This Isn't Baby-sitting"
Johnette Howard
November 06, 1995
No, what the mysterious Lou d'Almeida does in his quest to be the king of amateur basketball is a lot more controversial than that
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November 06, 1995

"this Isn't Baby-sitting"

No, what the mysterious Lou d'Almeida does in his quest to be the king of amateur basketball is a lot more controversial than that

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Worse, there is no serious movement for change. Not in the NCAA. Not in the National Federation of State High School Associations. And not in the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Some state high school associations, including New York's public schools, have passed rules allowing high school coaches to work with summer teams. But the sad truth is that there is no single malignancy that, if cut out, would cure the summer scene.

"The only way to stop it is to shut it down—make the summer dead," says Gibbons.

"The whole summer issue needs to be addressed," says Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins.

Left alone, summer basketball will only get worse. There are more touring teams all the time. Good people are leaving the scene, fed up with what it takes to compete. But that only creates more room for the power brokers who are bankrolling kids, and the flesh peddlers who are getting paid to deliver players to colleges or agents.

With such unscrupulous characters having knowledge of deals that can cost a college player his eligibility, it does not require a great leap to imagine a recurrence of the college point-shaving scandals of the 1950s. "It definitely could happen," says Vaccaro, whose brother, Jimmy, runs the sports book at the Mirage in Vegas. "When you are obligated to somebody and they call the markers in, you better be prepared to do one of two things: You better be prepared to do what they ask. Or run."

As long as everyone keeps running away from the summer tour's problems and the Faustian pacts being forged there, little is likely to improve. Those "vampires" Gibbons mentioned no longer bother waiting for the cover of night. They're out there sucking blood from the streets in the naked light of day.

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