Wednesday’s kickoff to early-signing period came and went for most senior basketball players like any other day. But if you’re part of the majority who won’t sign on the dotted line, fear not – there’s still plenty of time to get noticed and earn your spot on a college team. Here’s how:
10. Take the initiative
Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice puts it best: “If you aren’t being recruited at a high level, you have to be aggressive.” That’s not an invitation to start banging on the doors of college coaches. It’s a reminder that if you aren’t receiving anything in the mail, it’s up to you to attract attention. College coaches aren’t going to come looking for you. You have to go to them.
9. Get your name out there
That doesn’t mean blowing up Twitter and Facebook with how great you think you are. It means emailing college coaches and explaining why you’re interested in playing for their teams. You won’t get an immediate response from most coaches – especially top D-I programs – but if you keep emailing different coaches, you’ll increase your odds of getting a look.
8. Send out emails the right way
Every email to a college coach should be a personal message to them, not generic copy that you send to every coach. College coaches scan emails for a few seconds before making their verdict. If it’s sloppy or looks like a copy-paste job, coaches will delete it. But if it’s clean, personalized, concise and contains all the information they’re looking for – academic profile, athletic profile, highlight tape – they’ll read on.
7. Make a high-quality highlight video
Most college coaches get more than 100 highlight tapes per day, so you want yours to stand out. Put athletic, eye-popping highlights at the beginning of your video and follow with game tape. Make sure both the video and your opponent are high quality – coaches only want to see you play against the best, and they’re not going to watch grainy film. Another tip is to put the video on YouTube and send a link. College coaches prefer video links to DVD’s.
6. Show you’re a team player
Basketball is the ultimate team game, and college coaches are always looking for team-first players. Players who work hard on both sides of the ball never take plays off and are always involved in the success of their teams. It also helps when you can show your versatility because coaches can see you evolve into multiple positions in college.
5. Get your coaches involved
College coaches won’t turn their back on a personal email from you, but they’ll pay more attention if they hear from your high school or AAU coach. “It’s always impressive when a high school or AAU coach contacts us,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. College coaches trust other coaches to give their honest opinion. So make sure you have a good relationship with your coach and ask for their help in the process.
4. Look for realistic options
Many high school athletes think playing college sports is Division I or bust. In reality, more kids will play for D-II and D-III schools than D-I. Denver University’s Bill Tierney may be a Hall of Fame lacrosse coach, but his words ring true in basketball as well: “If you’re getting interest from a lot of D-III schools and you’re writing a lot of D-I schools but not hearing back, you’re a D-III player,” he said. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But you need to be honest with yourself.
3. Don’t be afraid of junior colleges
Junior colleges get a bad rap for some reason, but there’s nothing wrong with playing at a JUCO. In fact, that could be the right move. You can get exposure, get your grades up and earn credits that can transfer to a four-year school. Many JUCO players are there for a year, then sign to a bigger program.
2. Just win, baby
Winning attracts attention – it’s as simple as that. Or as Scott Davenport, head coach of 2011 Division II men’s basketball champion Bellarmine, said, “When you win, opportunity will chase you down.” That’s because the farther you go in tournaments and the better the competition gets, the more college coaches will be watching. Plus, college coaches like winners.
1. Be persistent
It may seem like getting recruited is a futile process when your emails don’t get returned, your highlight videos don’t get watched and your coaches don’t hear anything. But keeping up your efforts and remaining persistent and positive are traits college coaches like. Your ability to display those might help get you noticed.