Q: What does it mean to be a priority recruit?
Coaches are recruiting players at a variety of levels—within databases at schools—players are normally given a grade or level of recruitment which determines what type and how much mail they receive, which event invites they receive and personal details that coaches have picked up from conversations about likes, dislikes, family situations, selection factors, academic majors and more.
Coaches break down the depth chart by position, and the coaching staff determines how many scholarships for that class they’ll use at each position.
From there, each position coach and head coach go through the recruits and start separating them. Some go into the “Offered” group, others go into a “Possible Offer” category… “Keep an Eye On,” “Get More Info,” “Already Committed to Other School,” or “Not Good Enough Right Now.”
Q: What should I be doing as an 8th grader to get ready for high school?
As a middle school student, it’s never too early to set yourself up with great habits. If you learn to do things the right way early, it can only help set you up for success. At this point, it’s best to focus on building those great habits versus trying to make a name for yourself on the recruiting blogs!
First and foremost, grades. Your four high school years are taken into consideration when coaches are deciding to offer scholarships – not just your junior and senior year grades. You have four years of credit requirements to fulfill, and grade point average requirements and SAT/ACT test scores to achieve. You can’t squeeze four years of work into 1-2 years. It’s a great habit to set study hours each day, time you can use to catch up on reading or upcoming projects, do reading and study for tests. If you set aside consistent time each day to focus on academics, you’ll be ready for the increased workload of high school.
Don’t just meet the minimum requirements, go beyond them, in EVERYTHING that you do! Don’t just try to squeeze by, work to be the leader in the class. Some of you will need to put extra effort into your academics, the earlier you work to build these habits – the better!
Athletically, don’t overdo it. Don’t burn yourself out, you have plenty of time. You don’t want the love for the game to fizzle by the time you’re a sophomore. If you feel you’re a fit for a certain position, learn the basics of the position and focus on those fundamentals – footwork, hand drills, speed, coordination, strength. Watch your favorite pros—the best ones are usually masters of the fundamentals. What are the pros really great at? Can you mirror them? Can you build those specific skills and become great at the fundamentals?
While you still have time, it’s also a great to develop healthy eating habits. Even if you need to gain weight, do it in a healthy way and avoid the fast food. Learn to eat balanced meals and snacks, avoid junk food and drink plenty of water.
Q: How do I go about contacting college coaches?
In order for coaches to recruit you, you need to “get seen”—so there won’t be too much to talk about until coaches have a chance to evaluate your skills.
Yes, you may get through to speak with college coaches or meet them in person, but they may be being polite (and non-committal) in terms of recruiting you until they can see you perform, compete, evaluate your skills, compare your measureables with other prospects, get a feel for your grades and get a feel for your intangibles.
Your first conversations can be short and to the point. Start with:
“Hi coach, my name is [NAME] from [HIGH SCHOOL] in [CITY, STATE] and..
– I’m sending you a link to my film, can you take a look at it and tell me what you think?” or
– I sent my DVD last week, has it arrived and would you have a few minutes to take a look at it?” or
– I will be at camp on Saturday, I’m interested in playing for your team, can you take a few minutes to evaluate my play to see if I’d be a player you’d be interested in recruiting?”
Q: What does it mean when a coach invites you to an elite camp?
Many major universities host smaller, more competitive camps that they like to emphasize to the players who they are evaluating or currently recruiting compared to the larger, more mass camps they host. They are usually reasonably priced and are only a few hours long. It’s a chance to get a look at more serious, potential recruits in one setting – and let them compete against each other, position-by-position, to see who rises up in person. It also give coaches a chance to see your real physical measurements in person, scouting services or coaches may stretch the truth on paper.
Due to NCAA rules, camps must be “open to any and all entrants, limited only by number, age, grade level and or gender,” so any player who would like to attend (within these limitations) may do so, unless the camp is at maximum capacity.
Even if you haven’t been personally invited by the coaches like some of the other players, you are able to attend and can still get your foot in the door with the coaches. A few players get recognized and begin to get recruited this way, so don’t worry if you weren’t invited or recruited to come like some of the other players. Call each program that you are interested in and ask them if they plan on hosting a Senior Camp, Elite Camp or Competitive Camp for recruits.
Of course coaches are focusing on potential scholarship offers, watching and working with the athletes they already know about and have been recruiting… but this can be your chance to step up and get noticed, even if you weren’t specifically invited.
5 Quick Tips to Help You Land a Scholarship
By Alan Stein
In my 10 years as a basketball strength coach I have been fortunate enough to have worked with hundreds of high school players who have gone on to play college basketball. These players have gone to schools ranging from Division III to major Division I. It is important to understand that only a very small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of kids who play high school basketball are fortunate enough to play in college, and an even smaller percentage play on scholarship. The competition is fierce!
If you are 7-foot, a scholarship will probably find you. If you play for a nationally renowned high school or AAU program, a scholarship will probably find you. But what if you don’t? What if you are one of the millions of kids across the world of average size, decent skill level, and a ton of heart? Do you have a chance? YES.
Here are five tips on how you can improve your chances of attaining a basketball scholarship:
Be an outstanding student. Being a great student expands the ranges of schools you can attend and shows a coach you are committed to excellence and are organized and disciplined enough to handle college academics and playing ball. Unless you are a bona fide All-American, coaches are tired of taking “risks” on kids who are poor students. This is the first question every coach asks.
Be a great teammate. Every coach I have ever talked too looks to recruit players that are coachable and who get along with their teammates. No one wants a jerk. Be the teammate everyone loves to play with because you are unselfish, are committed to team goals, and raise the level of those around you. Don’t take for granted how important enthusiasm is. Being a great teammate can raise your stock tremendously! I have seen players lose a coach’s interest because of bad body language or acting like a jerk when they don’t agree with a foul call or when they come out of the game. Before college coaches ask me to evaluate a player’s athletic ability, they always ask, “Is he a good guy?” “Do you like working with him?”
If you can’t, don’t. Stick to what you do best and play to your strengths. Stop doing what you think coaches want to see. If you aren’t a great 3-point shooter, STOP SHOOTING 3’s! Coaches want players who know, understand, and accept their role. Nothing can lose a scholarship faster than trying to show off for a coach during a practice or a game. All you are doing is exposing your weaknesses!
Do the little things. Contrary to what most high school players think, it is NOT all about scoring. To play college basketball, you need to do the little things that make a big difference like: have good footwork, know how to set screens, box out, share the ball, communicate, play solid defense, dive for loose balls, work hard, and be a leader on and off the court. These things alone will separate you from 95 percent of the players who are your size and skill level. The little things can earn you a big scholarship!
Maximize your ability. You can’t control your height, and certainly some folks are born “more athletic” than others. But you can make sure you are as strong as you can be and in as good of basketball shape as is humanly possible. You should be on a year-round strength and conditioning program and work on your ball handling and shooting daily. College players do this stuff year round. Do you?
*Bonus info: Create and show Game Film
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