The recruiting process can seem confusing. That is because IT IS confusing. Sorting through the rules and recruiting myths while trying to find the recruiting realities is often time consuming and frustrating. Players and families often end up going down the wrong recruiting paths, leading to more frustration and wasted energy.
But hopefully this article will clear some of that up.
For years, Idaho Select’s head coach, Clint Hordemann, has been presenting his Recruiting 101 session at camps and showcases around the Northwest. It is based on nearly 14 years of learning the recruiting game while helping hundreds of kids get on college rosters, including players that come from small towns with little natural basketball exposure.
One of the things that he addresses are the recruiting myths that exist about the college basketball recruiting process. While debunking the myths, he talks about the recruiting realities that most players will need to address if they want to be successful. Below are a few of the recruiting myths and their corresponding recruiting realities.
Recruiting myths vs. recruiting realities
Recruiting myth: if you are good enough college coaches will find you.
Recruiting reality: there are millions of players around the world that want to play college basketball. In order to get a legitimate look from scouts and college coaches being proactive is a must. Unless you are a mid to high major prospect, you have to take advantage of every opportunity available. Do not wait for them to come to you. You need to go to them.
Travel teams are one of the best ways to get in front of a lot of college coaches at once. Or if you know what school you are interested in, see if they host an elite camp that you can attend. The key is making sure you are playing in the right tournaments and going to the right camps to get in front of the right coaches.
Recruiting myth: traveling across the country to AAU tournaments is a great way to increase your recruiting.
Recruiting reality: players should play in quality regional tournaments in front of coaches that are recruiting regionally. Other than mid to high major D1 colleges, coaches are going to put their efforts into recruiting a regional player, as opposed to one that lives across the country due to budget and time constraints. If a player desires to play for a specific school outside of their region they should go to the college’s elite camp or regional showcase to get their name out to that region. If a player has a specific non-regional school that they want to play for or if players are simply looking for a unique experience then making a journey can be worth it. But it likely will not help in recruiting.
Recruiting myth: travel and AAU basketball is the only important thing that a college coach will use to evaluate you.
Recruiting reality: playing on the right AAU or travel team is a big deal and can really help your recruitment. However, it is only one component of the recruiting process. College coaches want winners. If they have interest in you, they want to know you helped your high school team win. They will want to call your coach and find out what kind of teammate you are. And the high school environment can provide more than AAU ball. Similar to college, players will perform in front of their student body, the opposing team’s student body, the media and more. That is an element that cannot be replicated in AAU.
Recruiting myth: specializing in basketball is important so that I can maximize my development and be ready for the next level.
Recruiting reality: while specializing can help, it certainly doesn’t guarantee anything. If you want to play additional sports and can still work on your basketball skills, this can be an advantage. College coaches like to know that their recruits can handle multiple situations and compete in different roles, something that playing more than basketball can show them.
Recruiting myth: the people around you know better than anyone what level you can play at.
Recruiting reality: family, friends and coaches have no scholarships to offer. It does not matter how much you are told that you are at a certain level. Until colleges actually offer you a scholarship you will not really know. This can be frustrating for some players that feel like they are at a certain level but are not being recruited there. Their best bet is to continue to work hard and improve and make the best of their situation.
Recruiting myth: college coaches are only concerned with what happens on the court.
Recruiting reality: obviously you have to be a great player for a coach to be interested. But before they ever offer up a roster spot they have to know about a player’s character and academics. They will likely call your coaches, opposing coaches, teachers, counselors and other members of your community to be sure you are a good investment.
Recruiting myth: it doesn’t matter what AAU or travel team you play on because they will all get a chance to play in front of college coaches.
Recruiting reality: the truth is that players need to find the right fit for them. A few things to keep in mind:
- College coaches DO care about teams with good reputations. So do the tournament directors. Tournament directors are going to put the best teams in the most visible gyms and college coaches are going to spend the majority of their time in gyms where they can see the most players at their level.
- It is important that players play on a team where they can play the position they will be recruited at. If a guard is expected to play center every game, chances are they will not be able to help their own recruiting.
- The way your gear looks does not matter when it comes to recruiting. College coaches do not care what brand your jerseys, shorts or shoes are. They care whether you can play. Brands are fun, but they do not help your recruiting.
- The tournaments you go to matter. Consider where the tournaments are hosted relative to the colleges you are interested in attending. Consider what time of year the tournaments are held as some schools are limited to when they can travel, may have practices, etc.
Recruiting myth: as long as I can hit the minimum academic standards to get in to college, I will be fine.
Recruiting reality: academics are a huge part of where a player ends up finding a place to play. Every college in the country offers academic scholarships. And since that is a big part of where basketball rosters are funded (every division except NCAA Division I schools can split up their athletic scholarships) academics are going to be a factor in a coach deciding whether they can get you scholarship money. Do not take any chances. Make sure your grades and test scores are as high as they can possibly be.
Recruiting myth: signing up with a recruiting service will start the recruiting process.
Recruiting reality: there is a difference between a recruiting service and a scouting service. A recruiting service will promote you based on your ability to PAY, a scouting service will promote you based on your ability to PLAY. If you pay a recruiting service, they will email your information out to every college coach in the country regardless of whether you are talented enough to play for those schools or not. In parallel to that, the coaches that receive these emails know that you paid for that service so they do not give it any credibility and probably delete the email. A scouting service is paid to go out and find talent and report on it, regardless of whether or not you paid for the service. Because the scout is a filter, colleges know that what is being written is valid and will more likely read the reports or articles about players.
Getting more information
The recruiting process is tough but by understanding the realities of the process, you will have much more success. You will be more confident in your actions and know that you are maximizing your efforts.
For more completely free information on recruiting including what colleges are looking for, how the recruiting process works and the types and amount of scholarships are available, visit the EDUCATION section on Transition Hoops Report by clicking here.