Quick Guide to Earning a College Basketball Scholarship
Written By: Lamar Hull
Earning a basketball scholarship from a top university is always a difficult task, but it is one that can be accomplished with the right combination of talent, hard work, dedication, determination and intelligence. Without the talent and affection for basketball, it is impossible for a player to reach the level required to obtain a college basketball scholarship. Most division one, two or three schools have excellent basketball teams, where they look to recruit the best players to improve their team and basketball program.
The first step towards getting a basketball scholarship is to improve your game. Even if you have been playing basketball all your life, there are bound to be aspects to your game that could use a bit of work. Speak to your coaches and get their advice on how to go about improving. You might have to put in extra hours at the gym, or engage in some one-on-one sessions with coaches/teammates. This extra effort is often the difference between good players and potentially great ones.
Do not underestimate the importance of coaches in your progression as a basketball player. Too many young kids think that they know what it takes to be the best, which leads to them ignoring their coach’s advice. Do not make that mistake. If your coach notices something in your game that needs improvement, take their advice immediately. It is often easier for an observer to assess your game, instead of you finding out your weaknesses. As a youngster, I was one of those kids who thought they knew it all and I found out the hard way. My peers helped boost my ego. I thought I could shoot, but really couldn’t shoot under extreme amounts of pressure. My high school coach was telling me about this weakness for months and I just wouldn’t listen. I thought if I concentrated harder that I would overcome this challenge. That was part of the issue. You have to be coachable so college coaches can depend on you to help their team.
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Players who earn a basketball scholarship also do it with good grades. If you are good enough to earn a college basketball scholarship into a Division 1 school, you might be able to get away with grades that are not top of the class, but you still have to have pretty decent grades, so there is less stress when taking the SAT or ACT. However, division two and division three schools rarely recruit solely based on athletics. You will only get a basketball scholarship from a Division 2 or Division 3 school if your grades match up to the required standard.
When you have become a high school star on the varsity basketball team, it is time to begin thinking about which colleges you could apply to. Speak to your coaches and ask them if they have any contacts among college scouts. Chances are that your coach will be able to arrange a scout visit, where they will assess your game and tell you if they have any interest in bringing you to their school. You can also do what I did and write some of the schools of your choice. Write specifically to the head and top assistant coach in the men’s basketball department expressing your interest in their basketball program. You should provide why you are interested and why you will be a good asset to their team and program. Provide a highlight tape as well. I’m creating an ebook in the next few weeks that will discuss how to become a better basketball player. Do not worry it is a beginner’s guide. It will also discuss several ways to be recruited by colleges and universities. It will also provide example letter templates when writing college coaches for recruiting purposes.
It is also important to shine on your high school team so that you get wider recognition. Shining on your team does not mean playing in a selfish manner. Players who dominate on the court in a team setting are the ones that colleges want to pick up. If you are hogging the ball and taking too many shots in order to beef up your stats, college scouts will notice. My best suggestion that I can give you from my college experience is that coaches are looking for hustle players; the ones that dive on the floor for every loose ball, play crazy defense and play as a team player. Besides all of the scoring, highlights, and etc., these few usually unrecognized stats will make you more marketable to basketball coaches.
Another avenue to success is getting acceptance to a prestigious basketball camp. Camps such as the Five Star Basketball Camp, National Basketball Academy, and Elite Hoops Basketball Camp are potential sites to consider. By attending these camps you will get a chance to play with some of the best young players in the country. Not only will you improve your game, but you will be able to show college scouts that you can play with some of the very best. Playing AAU and YBOA will also help. Read here about the advantages and disadvantages of playing AAU or YBOA basketball. More and more college scouts are attending AAU and YBOA games. They could be watching another player and see you!
Finally, it is important to ensure that you have a solid support system behind you. Having your parents, or other family members, supporting you on and off the court is vital in your bid to getting a basketball scholarship. There are also college basketball recruiting services that can help you get noticed by college scouts.