I believe this is actually done alot of places... Florida springs to mind, because last year I watched many AAU teams play up here in Ohio during the season. I asked about it and the person I asked said it was becoming the norm in Florida. Junior highs are becoming feeders to AAU which in turn feed colleges. High school is where you play if you "can't" play.
Why would a College Coach prefer a kid not to play High School Basketball? AAU is only permitted during the spring and summer, what would a kid do in the winter to help themselves other than play HS ball? I watch a lot of recruiting for both boys and girls and I can't think of one kid that has gotten recruited by only playing summer. Think about it from the boys' side. Austin Rivers led his HS team to a Florida State Championship and went to Duke. LeBron James won 2 OHSAA and went to 3 champoionships. I think its obsurd to ask a kid not to play BB during the winter with their HS team. They only get these 4 years once in their life. Stupid post in my opinion! VALERSPIENCE, why don't you take a chance and keep your child from playing high school ball and see how it pans out, then you can give your opinion.
If kids are choosing not to play for those reasons, I'd question their fit/ability to do well in a college program other than MAYBE case D and that doesn't happen often.

I know this DOES happen but I don't think it's as common as made out to be above. In times my teams have played teams from out of state in exposure events, it's pretty rare to hear of kids skipping hs ball.
Where are the AAU teams that play or practice during the high school season? The local newspapers follow the high school teams throughout their seasons and the state finals are now on statewide TV. All-state players and teams are published and known state wide. High school ball still has an upper hand in these areas although I admit the college coaches in the know will follow the AAU play of the girls especially with our best teams against top teams from other states. If a girl skipped playing high school she would miss out on the competition and the nearly daily practice from November to March which would not make much sense to any coach.
I do know that some athletes are getting scholarships without playing high school. I personally know one myself. I don't think it's common, but it does happen. I do know college coaches that question why they do not play and if it's a "I don't like the coach or this program stinks" it raises concern towards the athlete.

There is nothing like playing for your school, wearing the colors, and playing in front of your friends and families. Going in everyday with your team and building those friendships. Seeing your name highlighted in the paper or in the box score. Competeting on a friday night where the whole community has come out to support. Man it gives me goosebumps thinking about it! Those are things that I still remember from my playing days. That's what it's all about anyways right?
Ego of coaches is not just found with high school coaches it also exists with all coaches including AAU coaches. You will find negative and positive coaches at all levels in public schools, AAU, traveling teams, and colleges. I agree, kids get scholarships without playing AAU. If you are good there is a lot of pressure to play year round. Most top playings really love the game and want to play beyond the HS season and they and their parents told of increased scholarship chances. I know many traveling team coaches who attend middle school games looking to meet talented players and their parents. One other point not mentioned is the money costs to join the traveling teams and play in tournaments.
Runningoutoftime, one very odd case does not make it a common/regularly occurring thing however. There are exceptions to all 'rules', but college coaches would GENERALLY prefer these kids play HS and AAU and will question if a kid doesn't play one or the other.