Posted on January 13, 2014
I was sitting in my American History class my sophomore year in high school. I remember it like it was yesterday. My basketball coach walked into class and handed a piece of mail to the teacher. She walked over to me and with a big smile and handed me a large envelope with the words University of California at Berkeley on it.
It was one of the best feelings I had ever had up to that point in my life. It was incredible. I got many letters, phone calls and visits over the next few years before I finally decided where to attend college.
That period of time is something that I will never forget and wish for everyone interested in improving themselves enough to play at any collegiate level. I've included in this article some things that helped me and things that I have really picked up on since then - some basketball recruiting tips.
#1) Play in games where coaches will see you
I can tell you that today just playing in your local high school may not be enough. AAU tournaments are everywhere and all summer long. You have to put yourself out there. Talk with your coaches about it. Do research online and find out how you can get involved. I always looked at my practicing as a bit of a job. I knew that if I practiced enough I would get good enough to get my education paid for. That's pretty special when you think about it and if you want it bad enough you'll do the research.
#2) Play with good competition
I had the pleasure of playing with and against some very highly recruited players. In an AAU tournament a few years back I played against a kid named Jason Kidd. Maybe you've heard of him. But that day I saw every coach I ever knew in the bleachers watching. That was special. Since you're probably thinking it I will admit that he stole the ball from me the first two times I had it for dunks. He is simply an amazing player. You just can't be afraid to put yourself out there.
#3) Practice game situations at game speeds
If you think sitting on your butt playing Madden or NBA live is making you a better player you are wrong. Get out and play so that when the time comes you are ready to show what you can do. My senior year of high school I remember practicing one day while Roy Williams watched us. I practiced very hard at basketball, but that day I wish and knew that I could've done more.
#4) No Victim
One thing that drives me crazy is when I ask people if they played high school sports and they blame it on something else. "Coach hated my family". "I had the wrong last name." "I could've played but I decided to focus on track." Whatever the line is I have heard it over and over again. Don't be a victim. The best players play. Don't give the coach second thoughts. If you're prepared you'll play, that's the bottom line.
#5) Sell yourself
I had someone make a highlight reel of myself to send to coaches. Now it can be done easily and digitally. I was doing VHS garbage and that was no fun at all. With what is available now don't be afraid to sell yourself. These coaches want to see these tapes. They want to find a kid that nobody has seen before. Many times coaches will send those to other coaches or to junior colleges to have a player be seen. Sell yourself.
#6) Do your research
Many websites promote players. Find them and don't be afraid to promote yourself. I have a feeling your parents will support you because they want you to get a scholarship as opposed to you paying for school. When I was playing we didn't have the Internet so I'm not up to date on the websites, but I follow college recruiting today and I can see a kid's highlight tape on youtube if I wanted to. Don't be afraid to do the same.
I would hope that everyone who reads this realizes that not only are there division I schools, but all sorts of colleges and universities that give basketball scholarships. A good education goes a long way and it is a great goal to get that paid for.