Recruiting Tips: Know Your Level

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Illinois

Posted On: 10/9/18 12:00 PM

In this series “Recruiting Tips” we will dive into a different issue in each story that deals with recruiting and can help guide the prospect through the world of recruiting.  Today we look at knowing what level prospect you are.  Many times the perception the prospect has and reality are two very different things.

One thing very apparent to me in covering recruiting over the years is every prospect playing on the circuit thinks they are a division one prospect.  In reality most of them aren’t.  There is nothing wrong with that being your dream, but as your career moves into your junior and senior years you need to be realistic.

I watch players play and after the game talk to them about what schools they are interested in.  Many times I watch a prospect going into his senior year and think he would be a nice D3 or NAIA prospect in the right system.  The player will go on to tell me he is only considering D1 programs.  Tape don’t lie!  That is a scouting term used for saying you are what you are.  So many prospects feel embarrassed to reveal they are being recruited by smaller college programs.  They blow them off because they think they are better than that.  Many times teammates or friends are being recruited by bigger schools and they think because they are on the same team they should be too.  Doesn’t work that way!  You are judged on your abilities and college coaches/scouts project a level you would be best at.  It doesn’t matter what the kid on your team next to you does.

Only 3.4% of high school basketball players play at ANY college level.  That’s not just D1 that is D1, D2, D3, NAIA, and junior college.  There are way more small college programs than D1’s.  Playing college basketball is something that very few players get to do.  Do not look down on schools just because you don’t see them on national television every night!  Those schools are showing interest in you because they believe you can help their program.  In return they are giving you scholarship money to go to school and giving you an opportunity to be successful.  In many cases those “small” schools beat those programs you are dying to play for.

Another aspect to look at is wanting to play at the level you are best suited for.  That doesn’t always mean the highest scholarship you have in terms of basketball “status.”  Year after year I see a kid commit to a program over other schools he would have played more and been able to be a bigger part of the team.  The reason is they want to play at the highest level even if in their heart they know they aren’t that good.  It is a status thing to them and the people around them.  After a year at that school they realize they aren’t up to par and end up on the 800+ player transfer list.  Get it right from the beginning!

Players, coaches, and advisors need to be more realistic about what level their student athlete is and help put them in the best position to succeed.  Both on and off the court.