D1 Delusion


Posted On: 01/13/18 12:00 PM

It is that time of year.  High school seasons are over half way done.  Seniors are in the process of playing their last handful of games.  Yet some of them (and the people around them) are completely oblivious to the fact that the D1 offer they think is coming is not.  You are in January of your senior season!  Colleges have had four years of high school and three summers of grassroots ball to evaluate you.  Where exactly do you think this offer is going to come from?

I deal with it on a daily basis.  Interview a prospect that would be a really good D3/NAIA player.  They tell me they are getting recruited by D1 programs (when there is literally no way) or they say I am hearing from some small schools, but I am waiting for my D1 offer.  It is very likely not going to happen.  There are no D1 colleges attending their games.  How are they going to find you?  Talking to other writers in the PrepHoops Network this happens across the nation.  A lot of times it comes from one of these two cases.

The player runs with a high profile high school or travel team.  Throughout their high school career they are playing with prospects that are getting D1 scholarships.  Big time tournaments year round.  Treated like rock stars in their cities.  The player and their parents think that guarantees them a D1 ride.  It doesn’t.  Those other legit D1 players on their team have absolutely no influence on the individual evaluation.  If the player has been on one of these teams it means he absolutely doesn’t lack exposure. If colleges want him they would have offered a scholarship by now.

The second factor is “he is supposed to be good.”  This comes in a variety of ways.  Sometimes it is middle school hype.  A kid comes into high school as the next big thing, but doesn’t get better or physically develop.  Nobody in his inner circle is going to tell him that.  When you see players that you “were supposed to be better than” lining up offers and committing with D1 schools it can be difficult.  Another is when a player completely looks the part, but does nothing on the floor.  You know the long and athletic freak who is on the all airport team, but consistently gets nothing done on the floor.  If you can’t do it in high school as a senior how exactly is it going to happen in college?  Also having a big social media presence on twitter or instagram means literally nothing to college coaches.

An underrated aspect of this whole scenario is statistics.  Just because a player averages 20 points in high school doesn’t make him a high level college prospect.  That is one of many factors that go into the evaluation.  Coaches care more about what the player will be in three or four years than the fact he was the leading scorer in his high school conference.  How projectable is he toward the next level size, strength, and athletically are much more important.  Sometimes stats are just not transferrable to the next level.

Your grades in the classroom aren’t going to magically change during the second semester of your senior season.  I constantly talk with prospects that I know have to go to a junior college and they know they have to go to a junior college, but when asked what JUCO’s they are talking to they pretend they are going to qualify.  There is a reason D1 schools aren’t blowing up your line.

Often times during games or later on in the written scouting reports I will put my opinion of what level a prospect is.  This is to help connect prospects with colleges and for colleges to know what level the player is I am talking about.  If I say he is a D3/NAIA player that is still really good.  Your son is projected to play college basketball.  That puts him in the top 5% of players nationally.  Don’t get offended by it!  If he doesn’t have any D1/D2 offers at this point it likely isn’t going to happen.  Same thing with JUCO prospects.  We know tons of junior college coaches and want to help them find the best players that can help their program and in two years hopefully those players will be D1 prospects.

Players, parents, coaches, advisors…..A D1 Scholarship is Earned over a period of time and Not a Right because of outside factors!  Right now in Illinois I have graded out 29 players as D1 prospects in the 2018 class.  There are currently 23 prospects committed to D1 programs.  Do the math!  Be open to D2, D3, NAIA, and JUCO options because that is where most prospects are headed.