Every year, thousands of high school, junior college and prep school basketball players compete to earn the relatively few college basketball scholarships awarded in Division I and II. You might be the top player at your school, but the competition is stiff. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, nearly 550,000 boys played high school basketball during the 2010-2011 season, 150,000 of whom were seniors. There are approximately 5,000 NCAA freshman roster positions available in a given year. Do the math. Only 3.33 percent of high school basketball players will earn one of those coveted spots.
Even if you’re the best player on your high school team, the odds are against your getting a chance to play in college. Here are some tips to help you gain an edge in landing a college basketball scholarship.
Play AAU basketball. College coaches simply cannot visit all the high schools in America. AAU allows them to see hundreds of players over a weekend, all in one place.
Grades matter. College coaches want athletes with good grades. They bring up the team GPA and boost graduation rates. Recruits must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The center evaluates your coursework, grades, test scores and amateur status and determines whether you are eligible to play at the college level.
Be self-motivated. Does your mom have to ask you, “Are you going to work out today?” Coaches notice players who have that inner drive and don’t need to be pushed at every turn. Instead of having your parents do all your thinking, start doing it yourself. Plan your own realistic workout schedule and stick to it. Get yourself registered for NCAA eligibility—don’t wait for someone to do it for you.
Be a good teammate. Coaches look for athletes who play well with others. You can be a standout player but still lose out if you’re self-centered and disrespectful of others on the court. On the other hand, if you’re a nice guy, you might have an edge over someone who plays a little better but acts like a jerk.