DO IT YOURSELF GUIDE TO COLLEGE ATHLETICS RECRUITING

You are entering an extremely exciting time of life as you finish high school and look forward to college. Also, having the possibility of playing college sports is a rare privilege. College sports are a competitive business. Everybody wants to win, and many people depend on it for their career. There is a limited number of scholarships, and the coach needs to be wise about how he invests them. He is looking for athletes who will take his program to the next level! As a result, coaches take recruiting very seriously. To earn a scholarship you need to be serious too! Take the initiative, get educated, be prepared, use every resource available to you. There are hundreds of student/athletes just like you who are pursuing one of those precious scholarships. You need to separate yourself from the pack through your character, academics (grades and test scores), athletic ability/performance, and presentation. Being mindful of all of that, here is a guide to how to put yourself in the best position possible; to maximize your God-given potential! The following outlines the Recruiting Process from the Student/Athlete's perspective:

1. EARN GOOD GRADES AND TEST SCORES. It's not a myth. The first questions recruiters ask are "What is his/her GPA, what classes does he/she take, and what are his test scores (SAT or ACT, possibly SAT II)."Check web-sites and College Directories for requirements per school. For NCAA Division I and II the NCAA Clearinghouse determines four college athletic academic eligibility. It is best to register with the Clearinghouse by the end of your Junior year. Get a form from your Counselor. NAIA schools individually determine your athletic academic eligibility using their national guidelines.

2. PLAY AND EXCEL AT HIGH SCHOOL AND CLUB BASKETBALL. The college coaches will do a majority of their scouting at summer camps, showcases and high school and club tournaments (especially in July) where they can see numerous players play in one location, at one time. They usually use the Camp and Club season to do initial evaluations, and then use the high school season to do some final evaluation and tracking. But be sure to enjoy your high school experience, and sell-out for the schools' team! Some student/athletes over-emphasize the recruiting process and end up under-achieving because of the excessive pressure they put on themselves to impress recruiters, an over-emphasis upon statistics, or saving themselves for college. Work hard, hustle, and play your game to help your team! Be coachable! The second question recruiters usually ask is, "is he/she coachable?" The first  place recruiters will go for more information on you is to your high school and club coaches.  Recruiters are looking for leaders/impact players. Be a leader and positive influence on your team!

3. DISPLAY A GOOD ATTITUDE. When coaches go to game, they don't only watch you to see if you make any great plays. They also watch to see how you interact with your coach, teammates, opponents, and the officials. Always hustle on and off the court, and NEVER display any negative emotion. Even when you are on the bench, a coach may be watching. Sit by the coach and pay  attention, cheer for your teammates, and hustle to the table to check back in, and then communicate  with  the player coming off the floor. Always remember that someone may be watching and evaluating you.

4. BRAINSTORM a list of colleges you are interested in that offer the degree that you might like to work towards. Meet with your Counselor and Coach to discuss your academic and athletic potential. Try to trim your list to 4-6 colleges by the  start of your senior year. Make a list of schools on three levels:
1)  Ideal colleges
2) Realistic colleges
3) Back-up colleges
Get educated on the variety of levels of college athletics. Colleges determine which level they are going to compete at, not by their size or enrollment but by how much they are going to financially invest into athletics. Be careful to choose the best level for your needs, abilities, and desires. Strive for your goals, but be realistic. Here's a brief, generalized description of the various levels:
NCAA Division 1: Offer the most scholarships, all full.
NCAA Division II: Offer 50-67% of the scholarships Dl offers per sport.
NCAA Division III: NO athletic scholarships. Will help with grants and financial aid based on need and achievement.
NAIA: Offer full and partial scholarships, and will help with grants and financial aid.
Level of competition ranges between NCAA D II and D III.
All levels have walk-ons on their roster = non-scholarship players who earn a spot on the team (either pre-arranged or earned at try-outs), pay their own expenses, but is treated as a regular player in every other way. Also, most programs will have a Red-Shirt program. This means the athlete practices with the team, but doesn't participate in any games. After the year the athlete will still have four years of Athletic Eligibility remaining.

5. GO TO COLLEGE GAMES AND PRACTICES. Go and learn from the best. Become a student of the game. Don't compare yourself to high school players. A large percentage of them won't play college ball. See what level you have to take your game to. Watch the best players' work ethic and technique. Most college teams will allow you to attend their practices by appointment (ask your coach to call). Colleges will allow you to attend games for free, usually with a guest or two. Ask your coach to call to get you on the Guest List. Check out all levels .

6. SEND A PACKET Introduce yourself to the coaches at the schools on your list. Take the initiative. If you are interested in a school don't Wait for them to "discover" you. Contact them (or have your coach do so), and let them know you are sending information, then they are more likely to review it. Have several packets on hand and send them to whomever you contact , or they may request them. Packet should include a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, letters of recommendation, video, high school and club schedule, and roster.      
                 
  • Cover Letter
Business Format:   Letter Head .Concise
Single space - Double space between paragraphs
Font: 12 pt. Times New Roman or Courier or New Century Schoolbook .
Four brief paragraphs:
I. Thank the coach for his interest in you (or his time if you are initiating contact). Remember that you are hoping for a scholarship that is valuable to him. It is worth a lot of money, the success of his program, and possibly his job, and is dependent upon his wise investment of this limited resource (the scholarship, aid, or roster spot).
II. Tell the coach why you are interested in his college and athletic program. One thing that can set you apart from the crowd is your interest in his school, and your initiative.
III. Tell the coach how you would benefit his/her program. Remember that the coach is looking for the best student/athletes with the best character who will specifically fit into her program. Include relevant team and individual honors, awards, and statistics here.
IV. Thank the coach again for his time. Remember that an attitude of gratitude and some humility, "Please," and "Thank You" are attributes and terms which are rarely used these days.

  • Resume: Information can include as much of the following as you'd like
Personal Information-Name, Graduating Class, Date of Birth, Location of Birth, Address, Phone, Fax, Social Security Number, Name of Mother, Mother's Occupation, Mother's Work Phone Number, Name of Father, Father's Occupation, Father's Work Phone, Brothers & Sisters Names and Birthdates.  If anybody in your family has a history in sports as a player or coach, include the details. 
Academic Information-Current School, School Address, School Phone Number, Principal's Name, Guidance Counselor's Name, Coach's Name, Coach's Work Phone Number, Coach's Home Phone Number, List GPA, List PSAT, List SAT, List ACT, List Rank In Class, List Academic Interests, List Academic Awards and if applicable, List Any Previous Schools. 
Athletic Information-Position, Height Without Shoes, Fingertip Arm Span, Weight, Shoe Size, Annual Statistics (Win/Loss Record, 3FGM, 3FGA, FGM, FGA, FTM, FTA, AST, OREB, TREB, BS, STL, PTS, PPG.  Feature statistics Against Ranked Teams, Honors/Highlights

  • Video Outline:
This is a crucial part of the Recruiting process, especially for the lower division colleges who don't have the staff and budget to recruit like the Dl schools. Make sure the video is clear, doesn't have distracting audio (such as cameraman yelling at the referees, or making negative comments) , and the view includes all 10 players (not zoomed in on one player). As long as the following format is followed, the quality of the tape is not as crucial as some think. Obviously coaches need to be able to identify numbers on the tape, so dark and far away is not good. But an expensive, professional quality tape with special effects, music, and graphics is nice but certainly not necessary. The following is an outline for an ideal video. Only # 3 is mandatory.

I. Brief personal introduction: Dress casual/nice and introduce yourself on camera. State your name, position, school and coach, club team and coach, and any other  information you want, such as some pertinent academic and athletic statistics, what number you are and what the following games might be. Be out-going, well-spoken,  and friendly.

II. Individual highlights. Less than a minute at the beginning of the tape. Coaches do not want to see just highlights, but rather continuous action of you playing.

III. Game video. When sending a videotape to colleges you want to highlight your positive attributes.  Believe it or not , some coaches also view parts of a tape when you are not in the game to evaluate your "body language" on the bench in hopes that it can help them assess your attitude. Include at least three (3) or four (4) continuous halves. Pick your best halves that display a variety of things that you do (shooting, passing, defense, rebounding, etc) These should be your best performances with a good start. If you don't do much for the first eight minutes or so the coach is likely to stop watching. Remember, he has dozens of other tapes to watch.  Optional: Maybe finish with another thirty seconds of highlights containing a voice over regarding you collegiate goals.

7. SCOUTING SERVICES are an option and some can be useful. Services may cost upwards of $1000 and some can be thousands of dollars. You can choose to use a scouting service, or bypass the service by tracking down all the contact information and trying to contact colleges on your own with the help of your parents, coaches, and counselors.

8. KEEP AN UPDATED LIST OF HONORS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Have an updated resume available and update it regularly. This includes academic, athletic, civic, team, extracurricular honors, awards, and activities.

9. CREATE YOUR OWN WEB PAGE. Many internet providers, blogs, and email services will allow you to set up a small web page. These can normally be completed in under thirty minutes by someone with little, or no, computer saavy . Use this to set up an online resume` and promote yourself to several colleges. Provide an information center for them to check on your progress. Include contact information, height, weight, statistics, GPA, SAT, schedule, photos, etc.  This is a good place to post or link some video, referring to the guidelines above. You can include a  link to the page in emails to colleges or print the page for a ready-made resume. View a sample page here.

10. APPLY TO THE COLLEGE Once you have the college choices narrowed to a reasonable number, many of them will want you to apply for admission. Make sure to meet these deadlines (many of which are in Jan/Feb of your senior year-some even earlier). You may qualify you for application fee waivers at several colleges. You must apply for a fee waiver through your school counselor. Many schools also will waive the application fee if you use that schools online application service. This step is crucial otherwise you may cut your options significantly.

11. APPLY FOR THE FAFSA. Applications will be available in your school counseling office in December. This single application determines your eligibility for government grants (In California they are the CAL GRANT & PELL GRANT) and loans. The CAL GRANT A award provides over $12,100 to UC's, $5,400 to CSU's, and upwards of $9,000 at independent colleges. The Pell ranges up to $5,635. You may also qualify for FSEOG grants, Work-Study, subsidized and non-subsidized student loans. The first day you can submit the FAFSA is January 2. Deadline is March 1.(dollar figures are approximate)

12. YOU KNOW YOU ARE A SERIOUS RECRUIT When the college coach offers you a visit you are a serious recruit. Coaches begin the recruiting process by sending out tons of letters. Most colleges will begin the recruiting process by sending you a questionnaire. Don't throw it away. You never know how the recruiting process is going to end and that school that you have never heard of may end up being the best situation for you. Each coach  on the staff then may make phone calls to dozens of players Until then, the coach is constantly checking what recruits are interested. When they narrow their list down to their top prospects they  start offering "Official Recruiting Visits." In NCAA Divisions I and II these are limited, so the  coaches only use them on their top recruits and they cannot offer those until your junior year and only after they have one or more of your qualifying test scores (PSAT, SAT, etc).  An NCAA Division I and II Official Visit includes paid for transportation and expenses while visiting. NAIA and NCAA Division III schools usually do not pay for transportation, but pay for expenses during the visit. The NCAA only allows recruits to take a maximum of five Division I and II "Official Visits." NAIA and Division III don't limit the number of official visits. A recruit can make an unlimited number of "Unofficial Visits." This is defined as the recruit paying for all of his own expenses. Make an appointment with the coach before you visit. The college is under some restrictions on how often they can call you, but you can all them anytime.

QUESTIONS TO ASK
CHOOSING A COLLEGE
CAMPUS VISITATION REMINDERS
COLLEGE BASKETBALL PROGRAM ASSESSMENT SCORE-SHEET
HELPFUL LINKS
CAMPUS VISITATION REMINDERS

The moment of truth has finally come.  No matter if you receive financial support or you are paying your own way, what you see is what you get.  Remember to:

__Talk to as many people as possible, including the ENTIRE team and coaching staff, along with other students,      faculty, campus employees, etc.
__Insist on having somebody on the academic side detail in writing a curriculum that will satisfy your degree preference
__Schedule an interview with the admissions office to determine how you compare to other students
__Learn about the college environment
__Determine the placement record for students in your field
__Attend a class
__Check out all facilities (residence halls, dining facilities, training facilities, arena, etc.)
__Ask about the financial aid opportunities
__Obtain a school calendar and fee schedule
__Take a campus tour
__Identify career planning services for undergrads
__Visit the library
__Investigate transportation options
__Find out what students do outside class time
__Become aware of student activities
__Inquire about campus life, dating & social activities




CHOOSING A COLLEGE

Your Senior Year should be the best year of your life.  It should not be dominated by basketball recruitment, but rather maintaining a balance that will allow you to participate in all school and extracurricular activities of your choice while laying the groundwork for attending college in the fall .  By September of your senior year, you should be able to determine if it appears you will receive a scholarship in November, if you will keep your options open for scholarship opportunities offered during the post-season signing period, or if you will need to participate in the traditional college application process. Remember the following:

Know yourself
__Recognize your strengths and weaknesses
__Consider ALL colleges of interest
__Look at your future with enthusiasm
Consider your reasons for attending college:
__Personal Goals
__Career Preparation
__Learning Opportunities
__Life Values
__Influence of family and friends
Identify college characteristics important to YOU!
__Majors and educational programs
__Type of school
__Location and size
__College affiliation and accreditation
__Academic reputation
Investigate and compare colleges:
__Prepare a college comparison checklist
__Weigh advantages and disadvantages
__Contact the admissions office
__Plan your campus visits
Checklist for a campus visit:
__Take a campus tour
__Talk with students and faculty
__Investigate your academic program
__Meet with a admissions counselor
__Verify admissions requirements
__Discuss your chances for success
Make some decisions:
__Confer with your parents & counselor
__Evaluate your options at each college
__Keep rethinking your goals and plans
__Show initiative and be assertive
__Select school that "fits you" best




QUESTIONS TO ASK

Academic Concerns:
__What's the academic reputation like?
__Do they have your course of study?
__Who teaches (professors or aides)?
__What is the student/teacher ratio?
__What is the team graduation rate?
__Is there a team academic advisor?
__Is there a study hall?
__Is tutorial assistance provided?
__What is the progress report/grade policy?
__What is the travel resulting in missed class policy?
__What is the fifth year to finish degree policy?
__What is the summer school policy?

Basketball Concerns:
__What positions are you being recruited for?
__What other players are they recruiting?
__Recruitment of other players at your position?
__Will you be able to play, considering returnees?
__What is their style of play?
__What is the Head Coaches philosophy?
__What are the team policies?
__How does the team get along?
__What is the level of competition?
__Does the conference earn an NCAA bid?
__What media coverage does the program get?
__What kind of facilities are available to the team?
__What is the practice schedule?
__Do you player doubleheaders with the men?
__Is there any competition with the mens' program?
__Are there summer/pre/post season workouts?
__Can you play another sport?
__Can you participate in intramural activities?
__Does the program have a shoe/apparel package?

Parent Concerns:
__Health care of athletes?
__Scholarship injury policy?
__Meal plan (training table)?
__Is food kept for late practices?
__Athletic dormitories or student housing?
__Policy concerning off-campus housing?
__Distance from home?
__Will games be scheduled closer to home?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL PROGRAM ASSESSMENT
SCORE-SHEET

__________________________________________
Name of School

(Rate each category on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being “best”)

SCHOOL:
Desired Degree Program  
Strength of Desired Degree Program
Campus
Community
Housing
Social Scene
Proximity to Home
TOTAL __________________

BASKETBALL PROGRAM:
Winning Tradition
Facilities
Fellow Recruits
Compatibility w/Returning Players
Playing Time
Conference Affiliation
Schedule
Mode of Travel
Media Exposure
TOTAL __________________

HEAD COACH:
Relationship with Coach 
Relationship with Past Players
Past Record of Success
Teaching Ability (“make me a better player”) 
Fairness & Honesty
Stability at School (“will he be there my entire career?”)
TOTAL __________________

ASSISTANTS/SUPPORT STAFF:
Relationship with Staff
Experience
Ability to Teach
Ability to Recruit
Strength/Fitness Program
Academic Support Program
TOTAL __________________


OVERALL SCORE FOR THIS SCHOOL & PROGRAM:__________________





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