If you are looking for a book that sheds superior insight into the dark side of grassroots youth basketball, Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine by George Dohrmann is a must-read title.
The book follows an ambitious AAU basketball coach, Joe Keller, and his star player Demetrius Walker, over an eight year period as their Southern California AAU team gains prominence and notoriety for both their incredible success and spectacular failures. The book starts with Walker, at one point rated the best 5th grade player in the country, and Keller on a quest to lead their Inland Empire Stars program to a national championship and continues through the teams' players high school careers with many surprising twists and turns.
Because of the exclusive access Dohrmann was provided to the team, he is able to reveal the grimy side of AAU basketball that allows ruthless adults to use and exploit talented young players for their own selfish means. Even more heartbreaking is the disintegration of the relationship between Keller and Walker as one's star rises and the other one's falls. Dohrmann is able to effectively highlight the potential for abusive power in a system where everyone seems to be out for themselves. If you want a sober and honest look inside the workings of AAU basketball at the highest levels, this is the book for you.
A very highly-recommended title for any AAU players, coaches, or parents.