who we are

Welcome to the Pistons Academy of Youth Basketball.  Founded in 2012, the Pistons Academy is designed to deliver the most organized and fun-filled basketball programs in the state.  Our staff of experienced and passionate coaches are dedicated to the development of every player in our system.  Last year, 7500 young basketball players participated in our programs.  From the Kindergarten stars of tomorrow to the Pistons Elite AAU players of today, kids can have a basketball home for years to come!  For more information on the Pistons Academy, please contact any of the coaches below!  Thanks and we hope to see you on the court real soon!


geo refGeo Thomas
Director of Fan Development – Detroit Pistons
Office: 248-371-2048
E-Mail: gthomas@palacenet.com

Geo Thomas leads the Pistons Academy team and has been directing youth basketball programs since 1987.  His career path started at Central Michigan University where he was an instructor at their basketball and football camps. Since his graduation from CMU, Geo has been a youth instructor for The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit (1991-95), the Athletic Director at Franklin Athletic Club (1995-02) and was President and CEO of AlphaWolf Basketball (2002-12).  Since joining the Pistons in 2012, Geo has developed an experienced staff of coaches who love teaching the game of basketball.  In addition to being a certified basketball referee, he has coached in over 1500 high school, AAU and rec league games.   


Aaron SmithAaron Smith
Pistons Academy Program Manager – Detroit Pistons
Office: 248-377-0134
E-Mail: asmith@palacenet.com

“Coach” Aaron Smith is an 18 year veteran with the Detroit Pistons Organization.  A graduate of the University of Michigan, he is currently the manager of Pistons Academy programming which includes directing the Pistons Academy’s summer basketball camps.  Aaron also travels the state of Michigan as a youth motivational speaker for the Detroit Pistons school assembly program.  His positive message and personal story have positively impacted thousands of young athletes.  In addition, Aaron has over 15 years of high school basketball coaching experience and is currently the varsity boys coach at Royal Oak High School.   


Photo by: Brian SevaldDan Thomas:
Assistant Program Manager- Detroit Pistons
Office: 248-377-8305
E-Mail: dthomas@palacenet.com

“Coach” Dan Thomas has been with the Pistons for six years.  In that time he has worked with Pistons Entertainment, clinic instructor and camp director.  He currently oversees all basketball operations at the Franklin Athletic Club.  As a former Academic All-American basketball player at Rochester College, Dan brings the same passion he had as a player to his coaching duties with Royal Oak High School and Pistons Elite AAU.  Dan is also a highly regarded basketball instructor and gives private lessons for players 12 and up.



Development program for grades K-1
Skill Level:  Beginner to intermediate
More information:  248-377-8653

The Future Pistons Clinics are designed to introduce basic basketball concepts to the younger player.  This program will focus not only on skill development but other areas which young players must learn.  Topics covered are sportsmanship, being a good teammate, healthy living practices and basic rule comprehension.  At this level, all players will receive a season ending award with the intent of developing a love for the game of basketball.


West maple Kids - CopyPISTONS ROOKIES
Development program for grades 2-4
Skill Level:  Beginner to intermediate
More information: 248-377-0134

 The Pistons Power Clinics are the next step in the Pistons Academy development process.  Power Clinics are offered either as a 1-day event or a six week session. Instructors will tailor the clinic based on the needs of the participants.  Drills become more dynamic and coaches encourage hard work, effort and enthusiasm.  Players will take rules quizzes so they can begin to understand the rules which govern the game.  Power players will receive a skills evaluation card at the end of the clinic which will outline their strengths and give tips for areas they need to work on.  Although this is a skill development program, instructors will always bring an element of fun.


Competitive and Recreational Leagues for grades 2-9
Skill Level:  Some prior basketball experience is reccomended
Locations:  Birmingham, Brighton and Southfield
More information: 248-371-2048

 The Pistons Academy offers competitive and instructional leagues for boys and girls in grades 2-9.  Players register as individuals and are evaluated before the season at our Jr. NBA Skills Combine.  Players are then drafted onto teams and play a 7-week regular season.  All teams make playoffs and final four teams in each division receive season-ending awards.  Coaches are qualified volunteers and Pistons Academy staff.  We also offer partner leagues in Rochester and Dearborn.


Competitive and Instructional Leagues for girls in grades 4-8
Skill Level:  All skill levels welcome
Locations:  Birmingham and Brighton
More information: 248-371-2048

 The Lady Pistons League offers two amazing development programs.  “Friday Night Lights” is a Friday instructional league for girls in grades 4-6.  Players register as individuals and are placed on teams.  Girls spend the first three weeks learning skills, strategy and the rules of the game.  Games are played next five weeks concluding with playoffs and championships.  The Lady Pistons Leagues are for girls in grades 6-8 who are looking to learn and refine their game skills in a competitive environment.  Players register as individuals and are placed onto teams via a draft.  Games are played Fridays and Saturdays.


Skill Level:  Advanced skills required
Teams:  Vary year to year based on qualified coaches.  Currently Grades 5-11
Locations:  Most practices in Southfield or Rochester areas
More information: 248-371-2048

Pistons Elite Travel Basketball is designed for highly skilled players who want to compete with and against the best players in the state and Midwest. Teams are formed through a tryout basis and players pay a team fee that is established by the coach. Players will practice 1-3 times per week and travel to local tournaments. Qualifying teams may participate in National events in Indiana or Illinois. Uniforms are provided in the team fee and are returned at the end of the season.  Primary seasons are January-March and May-July.


Eligibility:  7th, 8th or 9th grades
Objective:  Train young athletes in coaching, officiating and various sports administration duties
More information: 248-371-2048

Information coming soon.