Coach John Lucas is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities for basketball training and development on every level in the world with top college and NBA players flocking to Houston to train in the offseason. A former All-American at Maryland, Lucas played in the NBA for 14 years before serving as head coach for the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Currently, Coach Lucas is the Director of Player Development with the Houston Rockets. Now Lucas kicks off his blog with USA Today High School Sports.
There are a number of reasons to reclassify, and there are also a number of reasons NOT to reclassify.
Both of my kids were small and undersized; they happened to get their mother’s height.
My oldest son, John, was ranked around 272 when he came out.
He became Player of the Year in his conference and played nine years in the NBA. My youngest son, Jai, also undersized, became a McDonald’s All-American, went to Florida and Texas, and is now coaching at the University of Texas.
Both played at a high level; and as a coach, I was always encouraged to reclassify them, for them to get bigger. It sounds like a great idea to play with a younger group of kids and be able to identify with them. But guess what? That’s short-term game.
However, today, in the NBA, they’re choosing younger players, over older, to see if they can develop. If you reclassify on the front end, you may win in high school, but lose when you try to go pro.
Youth, as well as athleticism, is always what we look at first.
Let’s say you reclassify, and you finish school at 23 or 24 to enter the draft, but there’s an 18 or 19-year-old with your same skillset. As a general manager, I’m going to take the 19-year-old over the 24-year-old because there’s more longevity with him. What appeared to be a payoff on the front end, now cost on the back end.
Another reason not to reclassify: With my boys, neither of them grew any bigger. Had they reclassified, they would still have to work against the same pitfall. Also, by reclassifying, one may get bigger and thus, stronger than the kids played against; however, it doesn’t necessarily mean one is better.
When I evaluate young kids today, a 19-year-old playing with the 16 year olds doesn’t impress. On the other hand, a 16-year-old playing with the 17 year olds? That’s impressive!
Reality says, the 19-year-old is already about maxed out, while the 16-year-old having the same ability, also younger, has time on his side.
So, my biggest thing for players to know is that God reclassifies you.
You can’t fool Mother Nature, and you can’t defend God’s work. Factors like size and physical capabilities only come from God. If you’re reclassifying because of grades, I get that.
But if you’re reclassifying because of sports, it’s a losing proposition.
Don’t forget to follow Coach John Lucas on Twitter: @JLEnterprises