Basketball Recruiting: It's Never Too Late

High school hoopsters: it's not too late to be recruited, but you must be realistic, have a plan and be proactive in your approach.

Although it would be nice to have already signed that letter of intent or have already applied Early Decision to the school of your choice, a large number of 2015 basketball players have not. Basketball recruiting does not always go the way we expect or the way we would like it to go. The most common question this time of year, "Is it too late to be recruited?" The answer is "no, not even close." You still have plenty of time to be recruited, but understanding the process is important.

The thing that has really thrown off the perception of basketball recruiting is social media. All kinds of athletes and media sources are tweeting about "offers" for players who are sophomores and juniors. You read about every verbal commitment and every player who has signed for a scholarship.

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Although it may seem like an overwhelming number of players are getting this type of attention, in reality we are talking about a very small and elite coterie of players. The top 200 players in each class get to go through a smooth recruiting process, which starts and usually finishes early. Meanwhile, the majority of high school basketball players experience a bumpier recruiting path. If approximately 3 percent of 150,000 high school seniors go on to play college basketball, that means that about 4,500 kids end up being recruited at some level. Only about 200 of them get the easy path.

Since we have already passed the November early signing period for scholarship level schools, and most of these programs are in the midst of  their collegiate seasons, things are basically on hold until April 15, 2015. That's the next time that a high school student-athlete can sign a letter of intent. This means that all of the scholarship level programs have four months to reevaluate the players to whom they have already made offers and to see if there is any new talent out there they would be interested in recruiting.

At the NCAA Division III level, a similar deadline has passed for most schools: the Early Decision period, which is usually between Nov. 15 and Dec. 1. The way that D-III schools lock up their recruits early is by asking them to apply Early Decision, essentially giving them a quicker admission decision and financial aid award package. But these recruits must sign binding agreements to attend that school next year. Once the Early Decision period is over, most student-athletes who apply Regular Decision must wait until April to learn their admission status. This puts D-III schools in the same boat as D-I and D-II schools, with four more months to consider their recruits and evaluate talent.

It's Not Too Late

What does this all mean? It is definitely not too late to be recruited. Potential recruits must understand that they can still "play their way" into an opportunity. Taking a proactive approach becomes very important at this point in the year.

Every game during the season has serious significance. From a statistical perspective, you need to be able to catch the eye of college coaches with your numbers—not just how many points you score, but how you contribute to your team's success. Second, create a highlight tape and send full game films to college coaches. Film is necessary in your proactive approach.

Basketball recruiting is more intricate than most people think. Once you get your information out to your desired schools, the process basically falls into four parts. First, if a coach takes the time to look at your highlight video and likes it, he or she will ask to see a full game. Second, if the coach watches film of a full game and still likes what he or she sees, then most likely an assistant coach will come to watch you play in person. Third, if the assistant coach likes what he or she sees, then most likely the head coach will come back to see you play live. Finally, if the head coach likes what he or she sees, usually you will get some type of offer.

If you are not currently being recruited, this four-part process is where you should focus your energy. This means every game has to be your best performance, and there are no more nights off. It also means you need to have a specific and targeted approach to the schools you are reaching out to. Sit down with your coach, parents and guidance counselor to find schools that fit your specific academic and athletic profile. It is never too late to be recruited, but you must be realistic, have a plan and be proactive in your approach. Find out more about how to be proactive with your recruiting. Click Here

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