Basketball Recruiting: What College Coaches Value in the Pre-Season

If you want to get recruited and play basketball in college, understand the monthly priorities of college coaches.

The basketball recruiting calendar has a unique progression throughout the year. If you want to get recruited and play in college, it's important to understand the monthly priorities of college coaches as they prepare and develop their current teams while building their future programs through proactive recruiting efforts.

Early fall is a major transition time for college basketball coaches. The beginning of the new school year, means that teams' existing players are returning to campus for the fall semester. Incoming freshmen recruits usually have strong familiarity with campus life, since most players were required to attend summer school in July.

With everyone back on campus, college coaches initially spend a considerable amount of time on the academic requirements for their existing players. This includes making sure each player's schedule is correct (no practice time conflicts), that a system is in place to monitor class attendance, that academic resources are identified for player tutoring and that mandatory study hall sessions are up and running. The NCAA has established stringent guidelines for maintaining academic standards, and failure to meet them can result in a school losing its eligibility to play in the post-season.

RELATED: Basketball Recruiting: The Skills and Stats That Matter Most to College Coaches

From a basketball perspective, coaching staffs in early fall are primarily focusing their efforts on implementing pre-season strength and conditioning programs as well as conducting individual and team workouts. NCAA D-I and D-II colleges allow their coaches to spend up to eight hours per week with their basketball players. Six of those hours must be devoted to strength and conditioning; the remaining two can be used for either practices or workouts. At Division III, no organized workouts are allowed until Oct. 15. During this period, players have access to "open gyms" scheduled by their team captains. Division III college coaches cannot conduct any organized workouts with their teams and players during the month of September.

Fall is an extremely important time from a basketball recruiting perspective as well. Each NCAA level has its own distinct recruiting rhythm, with major emphasis for all schools on securing commitments for their upcoming recruiting class.

Division I

At Division I, coaches spend the summer months watching 5 to 10 players for each of their open recruiting positions. They may have extended some scholarship offers at each position during the early summer months. However, in August, coaching staffs re-prioritize their lists to determine the top players they saw during the July live period. These players will most likely be offered scholarships. Weekends in the fall are when coaches bring these recruits on campus for their official visits, hoping to receive verbal commitments. During the week, college coaches actively visit high schools and watch players work out in open gym settings. Often coaches need to further evaluate a player or see a player who has gotten on their radar but whom they've not watched play in person. Sometimes they just want to monitor and show their face to recruits to whom they've already offered scholarships. The goal is to get recruits to commit early, so they sign during the November signing period. Division I coaches have already compiled initial "watch lists" for next season and even the season after that. Their high school visits give coaches opportunities to evaluate their identified underclassman prospects as well.

RELATED: Class of 2015 Basketball Players: 3 Recruiting Actions to Take This Fall

Division II

Division II has a similar recruiting focus. However, D-II college coaches want to recruit lower level D-I prospects. They usually offer their class of prospects in the spring or early summer. Heavy emphasis is on getting these highly coveted recruits on campus. Because of their desire to "recruit up," coaches at this level tend to hold onto scholarships longer and see which D-I-caliber players fall through the cracks during the early signing period. This, coupled with the ability for existing D-I players to transfer to D-II schools without sitting out a year, results in the majority of D-II programs signing the majority of their recruiting classes in the spring.

Division III

Division III coaching staffs can reach out to a pool of as many as 300 kids in the class of 2015, whom they saw during the summer. D-III schools are looking to recruit scholarship-level players despite the fact that NCAA guidelines don't allow them to offer athletic scholarships. For many programs, the draw to their schools is their excellent academic reputations. Due to the academic prowess of D-III schools, the NCAA does not impose academic eligibility standards for incoming student-athletes, but rather allows each college to make its own decisions pertaining to admission and athletic participation. At the D-III level, a coaching staff bases its basketball recruiting decisions on far more than basketball ability. Coaches have to find prospects who fit both academically and financially. Their primary recruiting method is to hold prospect camps at their schools during the fall. With their top prospects, coaches discuss the various ways (Early Decision/Early Action) they can apply to their schools and how they can reach the highest probability to be admitted and receive financial aid. Recruiting for players in the classes of 2016 and 2017 is limited.

What You Need to Do

College coaches at all levels expect recruitable student-athletes to be improving their games and making progress in the classroom during the early part of the school year. Players need to be ready when college opportunities present themselves.

If you are a class of 2015 prospect and you are not being recruited, it's not too late. Basketball recruiting is an ongoing process, and no matter your class or year, the first thing you must identify, as a player, is the level you can play in college. College coaches can look at your last 12 months of accomplishments and tell you your playing level immediately.

Check out the video above to hear about John Wall's college recruiting process, and click on the link below to get rated by Ex-NCAA Division I college coaches—and get your recruiting process started. BeTheBeast Recruiting

Read more basketball recruiting advice.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | SCHOLARSHIPS | BASKETBALL RECRUITING