Basketball Players: How to Cope With Recruiting Adversity

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Well, it's that time of year again. Everyone has a favorite basketball team, is a sudden expert in bracketology and knows the formula to get their players to the Final Four. Let's face it—we all want our guys to be the last team standing during the playing of the late Luther Vandross's ever-popular "One Shining Moment!" However, there is another huge aspect of March Madness often overlooked by many teens and their families, one that affects the recruiting process tremendously.

During the last few weeks of any sports season and throughout season-ending tournaments, the recruiting world gets turned upside down. Over the past week, if you search "NCAA Employment Opportunities," the number of openings has increased exponentially in college basketball. This is the season when coaches resign, get fired or seek new opportunities. And their decisions cause a major ripple effect in the game of recruiting.

Perhaps a top school didn't think you were the right fit for them. Now, as the season comes to an end, the head coach leaves and his/her staff follows. The next coach who comes in may run a system you're better suited for, or maybe they see a different role for you, one the former coach overlooked. What does that mean? Simply stated, it's time to dust off that athletic resume, throw away hard feelings and once again put the school in the mix. Remember, it wasn't the school that rejected you, it was a particular coaching staff.

On the flip side, maybe you clicked with a coach and fell head over heels for a particular university. You totally see yourself succeeding both athletically and academically at this school. But, out of the blue, the coach resigns. Suddenly you are no longer on that school's radar, because the new coach is going in a different direction. You are left with empty promises and a feeling of helplessness. This is a disappointing time, but you must be aware of this possible scenario, because it plays out each year for many athletes during the recruiting process.

Nevertheless, if that coach left and landed at a parallel program, he or she might start recruiting you for the new school. Coaches and assistants (who are usually the ones in charge of recruiting) often take their recruiting lists with them when they change jobs. If the coach moves on to a bigger program, you may no longer be the type of player he/she needs, and suddenly you are back to square one.

As a college planning and placement company, we pay close attention to employment changes, because many coaches want to put their own mark on a program when they first come in. This helps us gain some inside information as to which schools may be more open to new players. Promoting our student-athletes to these coaches has been advantageous for several of our students over the years. Second, when a coach leaves a program, it is not out of the ordinary for the incoming freshmen to rescind their verbal agreements. There is no penalty for these high school seniors to sit out a year, so they often follow the coach to the new college or university. This leaves programs scrambling for players at year's end. Seniors who have not yet signed and have come to terms with not playing college ball often find themselves back in the recruiting game at this point.

So, while everyone has their eyes glued to the television set for hours on end this March, help yourself by taking some time to check out the NCAA Employment Opportunities. Doing so may allow you to one day have your very own "One Shining Moment!"


THR College Planning is one of the nation's premier recruiting and placement programs. THR specializes in leveraging financial opportunities in the educational market. Academic development, financial aid assistance and athletic placement are keys to a successful THR plan. On average, THR has facilitated awards of $92,000 in scholarship money over four years. For further information, send an email to or call 1-855-847-4723 (THR GRAD).

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Topics: COACH