Pooley’s Picks: College Basketball Recruiting Process

Pooley’s Picks

College Basketball Recruiting Process

Qualifications:  The college basketball recruiting process is a tough thing to navigate.  There are plenty of traps along the way and most people feel at least a little overwhelmed by the process.  However, one of the reasons parents and players struggle in the recruiting process is because they make mistakes.  These mistakes are common and if it is your first time through the process, frankly easy to make.  This edition of Pooley’s Picks we’ll dive into the ten most common mistakes in the college basketball recruiting process.

Picks are in no particular order. Please enjoy the sixth installment of Pooley’s Picks.

Weak Academics: Too often players think that recruiting is all about basketball.  Not knowing the academic requirements of schools you want to go to costs many student athletes.  On top of this, having weak junior or senior years after a strong start leaves many good students on the wrong end of Ivy/Patriot recruiting.  See, the Ivy and Patriot leagues recruit based on a players Academic Index, with each school having slightly different requirements.  The Academic Index factors your GPA and your SAT or ACT scores together to give you a score out of 240.  The calculations are a little complicated, but basically what you need to know is the better you do on both your grades and the test, the easier it is to recruit you.  Therefore, its probable that some high academic kids will actually be taken over players they are less talented than in order to allow those schools to meet requirements.  Other schools like Stanford, Northwester, Vanderbilt in Division 1 also have higher academic standards than just being a qualifier.  Finally, most D3 schools operate completely within the confines of their schools admissions process.  If you aren’t a good enough student to get it, it doesn’t matter what you play like.  Even the top D3’s who can assist student athletes in admissions, don’t have free-reign and may only be able to take one player a year that doesn’t live up to standards.

Short and Sweet: Do well in school so you don’t limit your choices.

We’re Just Working on His Game: There is nothing more important than getting better.  However, in order to get recruited at the right level it isn’t all about instruction and development.  Players have to go to the right events and be exposed to the right people to be accurately recruited.  Too often I’ve heard people say “we aren’t doing {insert event} because Johnny needs to work on his game.”  This is not the way to get to the right college.  The more a player can be seen (in the right light) by different colleges, the more likely he is to go to the appropriate level.

 Short and Sweet: Get to the right events often, the more visibility the better.

Pitt Jam Fest One of many AAU Tournaments to aid the college recruiting process

He HAS to Play for ‘XYZ’ AAU Team:  Wrong! There is never just one answer or one group of answers on the AAU circuit.  I would argue it is extremely important for everyone to play with an AAU team.  However, just because one team wins more games or goes to a certain group of tournaments does not make it the right fit for everyone.  My rule of thumb, if you aren’t a top seven player on your team, you’re not on the right team.  Players going to a tournament with 100 coaches and playing five minutes isn’t as good as going to an event with 25 coaches and playing twenty minutes.

Short and Sweet: Play with a team that lets you shine but goes to the right tournaments.

 

Image result for hoop group elite summer camp

Elite Camps can be a great supplement to summer exposure

He Doesn’t Need Camps or Clinics: Never get caught up in the thought that AAU and High School basketball are enough.  Many players will be recruited from their High School teams.  Many more will be recruited from their AAU teams.  Some players will find the college basketball recruiting strongest at camps or clinics.  Each player is different and college coaches like to see kids on multiple platforms.

 Short and Sweet: Camps and Clinics are an important supplement to high school and AAU.

 

This Event Doesn’t Have Anyone Watching My Kid:  With the amount of games and events that kids attend today, you’re bound to attend one or two without a multitude of college coaches.  Don’t let who it APPEARS is watching you to effect how you play.  College coaching is a network and often a coach at one division will communicate with coaches in other divisions if they see a kid they like.  Second, and perhaps more important, scouting services are all over.  Many scouts will look like an average fan or parent, but often attend events to find players people don’t know about, or re-evaluate guys they have seen before.  Don’t get caught playing lazy or with an attitude by one of these gentlemen see that it can hurt you.

 Short and Sweet: You don’t ever really know who is watching, always play like the college of your dreams is there.

 

He is underrated:  Every player in the county, except for the kid ranked #1 in his class is “underrated.”  Every kid that isn’t getting recruited to Duke and Kentucky is “under the radar.”  The truth is, most kids are getting recruited to the right level.  If your son has a lot of D3 interest and no D2 or D1 interest, it is likely that is where his skill set is the best fit.  As long as you are attending the right events and getting in front of coaches and scouts, the chances are the recruitment is accurate.  Are there exceptions? Absolutely.  Don’t let any one person tell you that your son isn’t good enough, but PLEASE be as objective as possible.  There’s an old adage that states: A player’s coach thinks he’s one level higher than he is, a player’s parents and the player thinks he’s two levels higher than he is.  Just about every person involved in college basketball recruiting does it as a full-time job.  Listen to as many people in this space (coaches, scouts, event operators) as you can, and don’t fixate on the one piece of information you like to hear.  Aggregate all the info you get and remember, you may know your kid better than everyone else, but the experts know everyone else better than you do.

 Short and Sweet: Get as many opinions as you can, and do your best to be objective.

 

My Kid is better than THAT level:  A variation of the mistake above, too many people get caught up in classifying their kid as ‘better’ than a school or group of schools.  Before you say this ask yourself: “Have I seen enough basketball at this level to be accurate?”  Maybe the answer is no, then go watch a game.  If you think your kid is too good to play in the Patriot League, go watch a top level Patriot team play a game.  If you think your son is too good to play in the NE-10, go watch a playoff game in that league.  Most of the time you’ll be surprised just how good the basketball is.  Be careful when putting down leagues too, it is possible your son ends up at that level or similar, which is an accomplishment not a failure.  College basketball is an incredibly hard sport to get recruited in, with just about every high school in the country offering it and only 12 spots on most college rosters.  Any recruitment is a blessing and an accomplishment, never take it for granted.

 Short and Sweet: Know what each level really looks like, before passing judgement on recruiting.

 

My son stopped this player and he is ranked here:  No one cares.  Trust me on this one.  The player on player comparison in one game, is a very bad litmus test for how good your son is.  Most scouting services and college coaches completely dismiss this.  Your son (and the other player) will not be judged on just one performance, especially with so many other factors determining how players play in a game.  Playing against good competition day-in and day-out is what you should be focusing on.  The college recruiting process should never come down to one match up and if there are schools that buy into that, they aren’t the schools you want your son to go to.  What if as a senior he’s scoring 15 points a game and gets out played during the practice before the championship game by a freshman?

 Short and Sweet: The college recruiting process is about being consistent and making lasting impressions, not one time

 

We’re not entertaining interest from those schools:  If you know about a school and don’t have any interest tell the coach.  Sometimes the best thing to hear as a recruiter is no.  However, if you don’t know anything about the school, try to learn more.  Even if you think your son is better than that level, you should always have a plan if his recruiting doesn’t go the way you expect.  If you think your son is a D1 player, but doesn’t have the interest yet, pick a few D2/3 schools and find a couple fits.  The Division 1 schools may come around.  If not, he’ll have a place to go to school where he can play, get an education, and enjoy college.

 Short and Sweet: Give yourself options in the college recruiting process, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

 

Not being Proactive: Too many parents and players are passive about the thing that is most important to them: their college basketball recruiting process.  Be your own advocate.  Clean-up your social media, change your voicemail to be professional, get game tape, and send colleges your schedule.  Find schools you like and help them recruit you.  Schools aren’t going to offer you a scholarship on the spot, but certainly will take notice and evaluate you if you make it easy for them.  Plan out a spring and summer schedule with good events and play on a good AAU team, get a game tape and highlight video (game tapes are still the most important).  This will give you the best shot.  Don’t ever get “under recruited” because you didn’t do your job.

 Short and Sweet: Be aggressive and take control of your recruitment.

 

 

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