How to become a College Basketball Prospect
1. What is your Why?
The journey to become a college basketball prospect begins as early as elementary school and requires your full devotion. It’s important that you are clear about why you want to play college basketball. This goal needs to be yours; don’t do this because others have dreams of you being a college basketball player. Being tall or athletic doesn’t mean that you will become a college basketball player. You need to put in the work, and you don’t get better playing NBA2K. The skills in the video game don’t impact your physical ability to play basketball.
2. Discussion with your Parents / Guardian and Coach
Once you decide that you are committed to becoming a college basketball player you need to make sure your parents or guardian understand what you want to accomplish and how they can help you accomplish your goal. Becoming a college basketball prospect is going to require the support of your parents or guardian, and they need to understand and accept their role. It’s also important that you discuss your goals and aspirations with your basketball coach. You should ask them if they are willing to help you and explain how you feel they can support you. Not every coach has the experience to guide you through this process. Ask your coach how they’ve helped players through the process in the past. You should ask your coach if they have credentials like: USA Basketball Gold Certification, NCAA Coaching certification and if they are members of Coach Organizations. Coaches who continue to invest in themselves by attending coaching clinics and networking are more serious about their coaching craft. When you receive advice really take the time to review the resume, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. If you work with someone that over promises and under delivers, your dream can be shattered before you even start.
3. Discuss your academic profile with your school counselor
This is the most important aspect of becoming a college basketball prospect. You need to be able to demonstrate the ability to maintain a solid academic profile. This includes: solid SAT, ACT and GPA scores. You need to strive to have a solid academic profile from the beginning of your freshman year in high school. You should use middle school to develop good study habits. Having a strong academic focus allows college coaches to consider you more easily because they know they don’t have to worry about you being able to make grades in college. Not only that, the higher your academic scores are, the higher the likelihood is that the school/coach may be able to help you with financial aid.
4. Create a list of schools
There are a lot of players that want to play for the blue bloods like: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA, but you want to make sure that you are clear about where your skill set is and what is realistic for your basketball recruitment. You need to determine what are the right schools that you should target, not only for basketball, but more importantly from an academic standpoint. It’s important that you pick a school that is going to give you the best opportunity to be successful after college. Important tip: Don’t chase the perfect offer! Give the most consideration to the college or university that shows the most interest in you, because they’re going to be willing to invest in your success.
5. Register with the NCAA and NAIA clearinghouse
Registering with the NCAA and NAIA clearing houses is a very important step, because if your profile is cleared through these organizations, it gives coaches the ability to recruit you more easily. They’ll know your academic profile is strong, and there will not be any issues with your academic profile being approved by their institution for admission.
6. Create a calendar with timelines and goals
Organization is incredibly important to this process. You need to be very clear about what the important timelines are: school applications, financial aid, and other basketball related items. You should know season start and end dates, when you can play AAU or a summer league (and when you can’t!), and when you can schedule private workouts with other coaches so your eligibility in high school isn’t jeopardized.
7. Evaluate Steps 1 - 6 regularly
It’s important that you are constantly evaluating steps one through six to make sure that you’re keeping the lines of communication open with your parents/guardian, coach, and school guidance counselor. You need to make sure that you understand the overall benchmarks and milestones. Any missed steps could be catastrophic and severely derail your plans.
8. Web Resources
There are many online resources that you can use to help you develop as a player and get your name out to coaches. You should take advantage of websites like USA Basketball or usab.com/youth for skills development content. Other websites such as Recruitthebronx.com or thecollegebasketballprocess.com are great places where you can set up a profile for free that includes your contact information, game film, and other important facts about yourself, and where you can also get information about camps and showcases.
9. Find a program the right program
Find an AAU basketball program that is not only going to provide you the ability to play, but will also provide unfiltered feedback and the opportunity for intensive workouts. Stay away from programs that are just looking to get wins during the AAU season or programs that only play zone defense because that will not help you improve. If a basketball program is constantly pressing and playing zone defense to win a game, it doesn’t challenge you to learn how to stop someone on the defensive end. Development over Winning!
10. Third-party evaluations and Communication
Make sure you are getting reliable third-party evaluations from organizations like The Hoop Group or NERR. There are many other organizations that can provide you feedback through their showcases, but make sure that you conduct research of those organizations. It’s up to you to be informed. When you attend high level tournaments, the tournaments typically have staff that will select all tournament teams and will author write ups about the best performers. Stay away from showcases and organizations that will try to control the communication between you and coaches that are trying to recruit you. In the ideal scenario you will be connected with the coach that is interested, and you and your family will be allowed to manage the communication.
11. Meet timelines and organization
Following timelines and meeting deadlines is very important in this process, just as in life, so be sure to create a calendar that clearly outlines important dates that you need to adhere to. Once you miss a deadline people will not allow you to circumvent the process. Once you’ve missed a deadline you could have cost yourself an opportunity. You need to remember there are thousands of players like you who are looking for the same opportunities. Don’t let disorganization and poor planning get in the way of achieving your goals.
12. Work on your game
The most important question in this whole process is, can you play? You have to be able to play, but even if you are not the most athletic, tallest or strongest, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a college basketball player. There are a couple thousand programs that field basketball teams every year. There is a place to play if you plan and put in the work. Find ways to differentiate yourself from other players. Focus on the little things like: passing, cutting, rebounding, defending, communication, and being a good teammate. College coaches know what skill sets they need for their programs. The little things matter! Details matter!
13. Evaluate and recalibrate your plans regularly
We need to reiterate this because it’s very important that you are constantly evaluating and recalibrating your plans. You need to constantly examine if you are doing all of the necessary things to put yourself in the best possible position to become a college basketball prospect. Don’t lie to yourself, and don’t let others lie to you. If you are not working out or are not putting in the necessary work, then you are just wasting your time. Putting in the work consists of practicing, working out, achieving solid academic performance, being a good person and sometimes even giving up some of your social life. You need to decide as early as possible what’s important to you. College coaches need and want players that are low maintenance. They also don’t want players that are going to have a negative impact on their culture.
14. Use social media wisely
Effective use of social media can help you get your name out there and connect with colleges and universities. Make sure to use social media as a source for information, and don’t put things out there that will reflect negatively on you. Refrain from cursing and using negative language when discussing topics. You should use resources like youtube, twitter, and instagram to share game film and potentially communicate with schools. If you decide to create a highlight film or mixtape choose your music wisely. Just because a song has a catchy hook doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to include in your game film and highlights. You need to present yourself professionally and responsible. Think of this as you would a big job interview. You’re going to ask a college or university to invest anywhere from $80,000 to $180,000 in a scholarship.
15. Don’t follow the crowd
I’m sure you’re familiar with the term a follower. Well don’t be a follower! This is incredibly important when it comes to your basketball career. You shouldn’t make decisions based on what your friends are doing because every person and every circumstance is different. You should make sure you create your plan and you follow it based on your needs. If the plans fails you’ll only have yourself to blame as opposed to making your decisions based on what your friends think you should do. Try to not take advice from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Instead, seek out mentors who have walked this path or guided others successfully on their journey. This is a necessary skill that will carry you through life!
This document is meant to be a simple guide to help you become a college basketball prospect. This document does not guarantee that you will become a college basketball prospect or player, but it provides simple things you should consider if becoming a college basketball player is your goal.