The Mid Ohio Pumas are a non-profit organization that was started nine years ago as a mix of 2nd and 3rd graders from Hilliard, OH, who had never played basketball before and are now in the 11th and 12th grade. That 2020 team has since integrated with other young men across Central Ohio, and has now won over 60 championships and over 500 wins in 8 years while competing at the highest level of AAU. That group finished 2017 ranked #1 in the state of Ohio for the 7th consecutive year and 3rd Nationally by Indi Hoops in 2016 and 24th Nationally by Prep Hoops in 2017.
Our program has accumulated more than 170 championships overall. This year we will have 50 teams covering the great state of Ohio!
With over 30 current or former College, High School and Middle School coaches leading teams in the program, we can confidently say that no other AAU program in the State has this type of leadership guiding their young men.
We are also proud to have a working relationship with Denison University Head Coach Chris Sullivan and former Capital University player Tyrel Jackson as our official Puma Trainers.
You can read more below about how our program is structured.
President Mid Ohio Pumas
Oct 2020: We are excited to announce our program is now representing Ohio as an adidas Gold Gauntlet Circuit team. We will be hosting tryouts for the top high school players in Ohio and surrounding states soon.
We will also continue to offer regional and local level club teams for players in grades 4-12. Our program structure is being updated to reflect these new program developments.
Have an Open Mind to a Better Way
Create the Unexpected Experience
Always be Teaching
Build Life Long Friendships
You will notice that none of them resemble Winning, Toughness, Grind etc. Those type of values should be expected and they have a home with your school sports, where practices and time spent as a player is more invested. Our program knows our role.
If we as coaches, along with the parents ,are executing with an open mind to do things better and create a unexpected experience for our kids, players, opponents, refs, etc, while in moments of success and in moments of adversity. Then in these teaching moments we will have the unique opportunity to influence lives and create bonds among each player, coach and family that will last a lifetime beyond the game of basketball.
Our opportunity is to prepare them for MS, HS, possibly college and life after sports . To many AAU programs try to mimic being a different version of school entities, or feel they are more important to a players success then their school. In essence our program should be a supporting subset of the athletic platforms that matter-- school sports. AAU travel basketball as a MID OHIO PUMA is about developing and preparing for school ball, not trumping those school experiences.
Our program consists of 3 divisions and a developmental league:
- Adidas Team Division
- Select Team Division
- Club Team Division
- Spring Developmental League
Adidas Team Division
Starting in 9th grade (15u) each grade will have a Gold Adidas Team and a Silver Adidas team.
- Rosters for these teams are built to compete in the top tourneys in the Midwest and the Nation.
Select Team Division
Starting in 7th grade, each grade will consist of anywhere from 2-4 Select teams.
- Select teams are built to compete in regional tournaments in states contiguous to Ohio
Club Team Division
We have anywhere from 4-6 club teams per grade level.
- Our club teams usually compete in 4-5 local tournaments and 1-2 out of state tournaments per year.
The skill level of our club teams varies from competitive to developmental.
Pumas Spring Development League
The goal of this league is development. Our spring development league lasts for 8 weeks. Players will come in once a week for 90 minutes, where they will do skill work with our MId Ohio Pumas trainers for 45 minutes and scrimmage for the other 45 minutes. Members also get 2 skill workouts with our select and club teams.
Team and Player Placements
Tryouts: A simple 2-step Process
Grades 4, 5 and 6.
Step #1: Come to tryouts.
Step #2: Within 2 weeks after tryouts kids will receive 1 of 2 invitations.
- Invitation to be on a team. (Deposit due to hold spot)
- Invitation to our spring development league.
Grades 7 and up.
Step #1: Come to tryouts.
Step #2: Within 2 weeks after tryouts kids will receive 1 of 3 invitations.
- Invitation to be on a select team. (Deposit due to hold spot)
- Invitation to be on a club team. (Deposit due to hold spot)
- Invitation to our spring development league.
Tryout Timeline & Format
Our tryout process begins in the fall prior to the spring AAU season. We typically have multiple tryout sessions across each grade level. Top level players can reach out to us via our contact page to inquire about openings.
We will spend some time getting to know the players through brief warm-up drills. We will then move right to open play 1 on 1, 3 on 3 and 4 on 4.
Time Commitment Expected
We will practice at least once per week starting in mid-late February through mid May depending on the age group. HS teams will practice in July as well.
We will host a skill training night for the entire program once per week during the spring season at a location TBA.
Spring Tournament Schedules
We shut almost every team down by June 1st. The HS teams will play 1-3 tourneys in July. a top 8th grade team may play a tourney in July.
We play in six tourneys for 4-6th and six/seven tourneys in MS and HS depending on the tourneys chosen, as certain tourneys cost twice as much as others. The schedule is budget driven.
We do not really travel any further than the contiguous states of KY, IN, MI, PA. Top teams may see Chicago, Nashville or Atlanta. Some parents may agree to take a team to one of these locations as a semi vacation/tourney weekend. We recommend a schedule to a specific coach but he has the final approval.
Expect this for 4-6th:
March: 2 tourneys (Buckeye Prep, New Albany, Dublin or FT Wayne, IN)
April: 2 tourneys we don’t play on Easter.
May: 2 tourneys
Expect this for MS:
March: 1-2 tourney (Buckeye Prep, New Albany, Dublin or FT Wayne, IN)
April: 3 tourneys we don’t play on Easter. (Local, Cincy, IN, KY)
May: 2 tourneys TBD
June: Maybe 1
Expect this for HS:
March: 0 tourneys
April: 3 tourneys we don’t play on Easter. (Indianapolis or Pittsburgh)
May: 1 tourney (May 5th FT Wayne)
July: 2-3 tourneys (Louisville, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis)
We don’t play a lot in May for HS due to proms, graduations, and there just aren’t a lot of tourneys where college coaches attend. We use this month for them lifting, training, college visits, ACT/SAT
We want the coaches determining the best way to do that. We offer great instruction in practice and in our skill sessions, and that where your son is getting better. In tourney situations all players will play, not all players will play equally.
Coach Selection Process
We have a range of coaches- from college, high school, and middle school coaches to fathers who have a passion for the sport and are very good with the development of young men. A great coach is not determined by his ability to draw up the X and O’s. It is his ability to teach the game in a way that his players respond and get better.
You can become a better player losing every game, just as much as winning every game! Our coaches sign a letter of accountability we will share with you. This outlines our expectations.
Stay in the know for tryout and training opportunities.