Your skills steered you to premier AAU tournaments in the first place, but it won’t matter if you can’t separate yourself from the pack.
Here’s the point: If you’re attending AAU events, coaches already know you’ve got game. What they’re looking for is the well-rounded athlete who will fit best into their respective programs. With all eyes on you, this is your ultimate chance to give yourself that dimension of being a high character guy with quality skills.
“It’s very important for these young men to understand that coaches are always watching, even when you’re sitting on the bench,” says Sidney Lowe, North Carolina State’s head basketball coach.
Do you present yourself as a stand-up, character guy when you’re sitting on the bench? Are you cheering on teammates? Are you really into the game? If not, your stock will be on the down, according to Lowe. “Things like that will turn a coach off, if you see a guy who’s not into the ballgame or not respecting the game.”
Showing respect for your coach and teammates is important. “If you win the game or lose the game, you’ve got to be in it together. You want to see how guys handle tough situations,” Lowe says.
Don’t get it twisted: Being a character guy doesn’t necessarily mean you have to soften your game up.
“I like hungry guys, guys with chips on their shoulders and guys with something to prove,” says University of Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl. “At the same time, I want guys that play with emotion and play with passion.”
While some guys can make a pull-up jumper or floater look easy, other guys may be taking it easy at these events. Being a player who hustles non-stop is another opportunity to step up and make a lasting impression on the coaches and observers in attendance.
“There’s always a place on some team for a player who works hard,” Lowe says. “If you’re the guy who works harder than anyone else, you’re going to find yourself a position.”
Says Pearl: “Take what you’re good at and become great at it. Give yourself a dimension.”
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