Recruiting Series Part 1: Choosing a Travel Team
Posted On: 08/30/16 10:32 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 picking a grassroots team.
Selecting a grassroots or travel team during the spring and summer is one of the most crucial choices a prospect and their family can make when it comes to the success of their recruitment. There are many different factors to consider. Everyone wants to play on the “shoe company” teams. Those teams select the elite players in the state to play on circuits across the country against other Nike, Under Armour, or Adidas teams. Most of the time these are the top kids in a state and are consensus division one prospects. If you are one of the top players in your state most likely you are targeted by these teams. It is important however to understand what your role will be on that team. You might be the 30th best player in the state, but if there are 10 players on that team that are ranked ahead of you or in similar range you might not get the opportunity to play enough to showcase your skills. Grassroots ball is all about getting exposure. You can’t do that on the bench.
This is a great way for kids on the non-shoe affiliated teams to stand out. Just because you don’t play on one of those teams doesn’t mean you can’t be a coveted recruit at the college level. In fact in many instances it plays in your favor. Every year there are prospects that shine because of opportunity. They are put in a position where they are able to showcase what they do best and thrive in that setting. It is better to be on a team where you play than a team where you don’t. It’s that simple.
As stated earlier it is about being seen by college coaches and scouts especially the regional scouts in your area like our staff at PrepHoops. Scouts are the eyes and ears of college coaches when they are not out on the road. Three key things to remember. You want to play where college coaches of the level you are will be. You want to be on a team that caters to those type of players. If you are a division two prospect play on a team with mostly lower level D1, D2, and D3 players and compete in tournaments with teams of similar abilities. College coaches and scouts attending national shoe company events during the live period are only scouting prospects that are high-major, mid-major, and in some cases low-major division one recruits. This is great exposure if you are a player at one of those levels and on a team where you can shine!
The “live periods” are basically two events in the spring and three in the summer that D1 college coaches can be out to evaluate. Something many players and parents don’t realize is small college coaches are allowed to attend tournaments for the majority of the year including non-live period events. The overwhelming majority of players that will play at the college level will be suiting up for those coaches. You don’t need to travel to Las Vegas or out of the region to be seen by them. In fact they won’t be there. They will be in gyms in Milwaukee, Kansas City, St. Louis, Ft. Wayne, etc. They don’t have the budgets to travel around the country to see prospects like D1 schools. Cater to the level you realistically are. This will be the topic tackled in our next feature!
Lastly make sure the team you play for has a good reputation among scouts, college coaches, and isn’t just there to take your money. The number of grassroots teams in every state is probably about twice what it needs to be. Coaches and scouts know which teams have legit prospects to play college basketball at any level. If you are not realistically a college basketball prospect save the money spent for travel and other expenses from playing all summer.
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