Pick-up basketball is a great place for players to build their game by playing against other players, maybe that are bigger or better, and testing their skills in an open environment. Other lessons are learned like getting along with others, conflict resolution, and the will to do your best - because if you don't your team steps oiff and ..."who's got next?"
Teach young playters Skills not Systems. They need to learn how to play & make play-not just run plays. Do this in practice thru dynamic games and competitions, rather than static drills, to allow them to discover their abilities. Keep this level fun so they continue to come back and equate basketball with a great time!
High School basketball is still educational based athletics. Even though it looks like pro sports it has a different mission. Coaches need to continue to strive to win, but understand the greater goal is to teach players some life-long lessons they can use long after the ball stops bouncing.
Basketball can provide an avenue for social mobility and open doors to colleges players may not have thought of, gain admission to schools they may not have gotten into, get financial assistance to attend those schools, and connect them with others who can help them after graduation. Players should begin to prepare for this early and make sure their academics are in order.
NBA D-League, the PBDL, and the new ABA are all leagues where players can continue to compete and some can develop to the extent they get looks from higher professional leagues.
By the time you see players at this level they've put in 1000s of hours into their game. The time to start is NOW!