The recruiting period is right around the corner and we all know that means stress for everyone on the AAU circuit. Players have been preparing for next week since the end of their high school season. No question that in some cases there is a lot at stake during this mini recruiting period and the one thing no player needs right now is a RED FLAG.

There’s something College coaches figured out long ago and that is that you can tell a lot about an athlete by the way they act and behave both on and off the court. A good friend of mine and former D1 coach Bob Baroni once told me “If the kid picks the right school and the right level, they will in most cases, do exactly what they did in high school in COLLEGE”. Now if you can’t follow that, let me explain. That means if a kid got better every year in high school, that’s what they will do in college. If a kid was un-coachable in high school, that’s what they will be in college, or if a kid was a drama queen in high school and constantly having teammate issues, they are going to have those same issues in college. If a player struggled in the classroom, that’s exactly what they will do in college. That was the best advice anyone ever gave me in recruiting, because I found out Coach Baroni was 100% correct. THE RED FLAGS ARE THERE and College coaches more than ever are paying attention to them.

When athletes are on social media saying mean things and BULLYING, that is a serious Red Flag, and guess what. Coaches are paying more attention to what athletes are posting on Facebook and Twitter now more than ever. But an even bigger Red Flag that has come to my attention is that college coaches are also paying attention to what parents are writing and doing on social media. It is clear that coaches are now forming opinions about players and their parents by what they see and read on social media. I have no bigger example than a recruit recently putting up her middle finger in a picture on Facebook…funny, maybe…but a big mistake, because it showed a lack of judgment and in this case it became a real RED FLAG.
College coaches are paying close attention to social media

Attitude and facial expressions are always a RED FLAG; this is one of the most misunderstood RED FLAGS. Many times a player does not even realize they are making faces or their body language is sending a bad message to coaches. Coaches have been known to eavesdrop on a kid’s conversation at AAU events when a kid or parent doesn’t even realize it. My all-time favorite was when I asked a coach about their interest in a certain player and that coach responded “Have you ever seen that kid at a game? She is always on the phone “MACKING” somebody.” Funny? Sometimes, but also a serious RED FLAG. When a player talks back to a coach, is disrespectful to officials or their parents in public, I say buyer beware because this is as about as big a RED FLAG, as you will see out there. I have never seen a kid who is disrespectful to THEIR parents and yet respectful to teammates and coaches…NEVER.

The out of shape and overweight player is a walking RED FLAG. This RED FLAG says more about a player than most others. It says a player is not in the gym and more importantly not active on a daily bias, now there are some exceptions(injuries, health issues…etc.) but in most cases college coaches either don’t care or feel the need to dig far enough down to find out why these players are overweight or out of shape. This RED FLAG has a lack of work ethic and commitment written all over it.

Changing AAU teams or High School teams is becoming more and more of a RED FLAG. The grass is greener attitude has long been part of the AAU culture. But when a player plays for 5/6 AAU teams over their AAU career, something is clearly wrong. This folks is something every coach who does their homework, should be concerned with because DRAMA usually follows these players, they tend to NEVER be happy, in many cases SELFISH and clearly not LOYAL to teammates coaches or other parents. I like to call these kids, program killers, because there is no doubt in my mind they are always looking for something bigger and better and think mostly of themselves. My advice to parents is to do your homework before joining an AAU program. Now more than ever the changing of AAU teams year after year is a big RED FLAG and in most cases not necessary if you do your homework from the start.

The parent factor is the biggest RED FLAG known to mankind. When a parent is in the stands yelling and screaming nothing is a bigger turn off to a college coach. By the way here is a little advice for college coaches…Those same parents screaming, yelling and coaching from the stands; will be the same parents yelling and screaming at YOUR games one day. These parents always have a higher opinion of their child’s abilities than your child’s. These parents have no problem being critical of other people’s kids publicly, these parents feel anytime you say something positive about another kid, somehow is a slap in the face to their child…oh yeah… These parents will certainly bring unwanted negative attention to your program and get you fired… This RED FLAG is one that has long hurt kids during the recruiting process.
The out of control parent is a “BIG RED FLAG”

Poor grades are the saddest RED FLAG of all because on some level this can be controlled if the player is made to understand at an early age that the grades must come first. Nothing scares a coach off more than an athlete who underachieves in the classroom. With more and more coaches’ salaries being attached to student’s athlete’s academic progress, coaches are taking less and less risk. When players lie and round up grades and SAT scores, college coaches are turned off and more importantly lose trust. What most kids don’t understand is that sometimes there is no coming back from this RED FLAG…

With all the pressure put on kids by the shirking recruiting days, the recruiting process has become more difficult each year. The process is hard enough for all involved without throwing those big ol’ RED FLAGS up…

Next week we start our Spring Training… I urge all kids to be smart and train like there is no tomorrow. To those who are getting ready to join a high school team in June, these programs are right on the money. To those players who are looking to get ready for the summer recruiting period, this is the perfect combination to go along with your AAU practices… Be wise and understand competitive drills are always the best way for a kid to development.



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[…] What is interesting is that increasingly there are more and more stories about outstanding high school players that don’t make the leap to college because they don’t have any understanding of being part of a team and working towards winning rather than scenarios that best display their skills. ( labels these traits as ‘Red Flags’ to college recruiters.) […]