There are more than 2,000 colleges, from NCAA Division 1 to NAIA, that offer high school basketball players an opportunity to compete at the next level. So, where do we begin?
Families often find that what they put into the recruiting process is what they’ll get out. College coaches simply don’t have the time or budget to see their top prospects compete in person. So, to successfully get on a coach’s radar, it takes some work on the student-athlete’s part. Recruits need to build a list of realistic schools, create an online profile and highlight video, contact college coaches, and compete in the right camps and tournaments.
Furthermore, families need to know the criteria that coaches look for in each position and understand the NCAA basketball recruiting rules so they can map out when coaches can contact them and establish relationships from the get-go.
Plus, outside of athletics, there are several factors that go into making the college decision, such as academics, cost, school size, campus life, etc. That’s why it’s so important for families to be thorough when searching for the right fit. This college basketball recruiting guide is designed to help student-athletes at every step of their recruiting journey.
One of the most challenging parts of the recruiting process for families is truly understanding when college coaches are actively recruiting student-athletes. The NCAA issues a recruiting calendar each academic year that regulates when—and how—coaches can talk to recruits. For men’s basketball, contact officially starts June 15 after sophomore year. However, it isn’t that cut and dry. Depending on the program, many coaches evaluate athletes and build their list of top prospects before this point, while others continue to reach out well into senior year. This section not only helps you understand the recruiting rules and calendar but also details how coaches at different division levels approach it.
Ever wondered how tall the average NCAA Division 1 player is? Or what skills are needed at each position? Every coach has a specific set of criteria they look for when recruiting student-athletes. Athleticism, technique, versatility and basketball IQ are some of the most important factors they consider. This section provides an in-depth look at the qualifications needed, the average height of players and the steps student-athletes can take to get on a coach’s radar across the division levels.
There are two different kinds of basketball scholarships: headcount scholarships and equivalency scholarships. NCAA Division 1 offers 13 headcount scholarships per team. In other words, college coaches can award a maximum of 13 full-ride scholarships to exactly 13 recruits. In NCAA Division 2, NAIA and JUCO programs, college coaches can offer equivalency scholarships. They have a pool of athletic aid and can divide these scholarships across several athletes. Therefore, some recruits will receive partial scholarships. Even though NCAA Division 3 programs can’t offer athletic scholarships, college coaches can work with the admissions department to create appealing financial aid packages made up of merit-based scholarships, need-based aid, grants and athletic scholarships. It’s important for student-athletes to understand the financial aid opportunities at each division level and be proactive in their recruiting so they can get evaluated early on.
When student-athletes first start their recruiting process, they often wonder when college coaches will contact them. But they quickly learn that recruits who successfully earn a roster spot do a lot of work to get there, including researching colleges, creating a highlight video, emailing and calling coaches, playing at tournaments and camps and taking unofficial visits. This section breaks down the different steps in the process, so families know what to tackle—and when.
There’s no doubt about it—highlight videos are a “must have” in the basketball recruiting process. In many cases, it’s the first way college coaches evaluate recruits, so student-athletes want to leave a memorable impression. Plus, it’s an effective tool to secure a second, more in-depth and in-person evaluation. This section explains how to make a highlight video and provides position-specific advice on what coaches want to see.
After a highlight video, the best way to get evaluated by college coaches is to attend basketball camps and tournaments. However, with all the different options, picking events that will positively impact a student-athlete’s recruiting the most can become a difficult task. From college basketball camps to exposure camps to elite camps, we break down the different types and explain who they best serve so families can pick the right one.
Having a strong support system can directly impact a student-athlete’s chance of success in high school, college, and beyond.
Boarding schools are one of the top ways that families locate a strong support system for their child. Our partner, IMG Academy offers a support system through the following facets of their program:
IMG’s schedule mirrors a collegiate environment, so student-athletes will be prepared and equipped for their next steps.
Within IMG’s college-preparatory environment for 6-12th graders, as well as gap year student-athletes, athletes will:
Not only can NCSA prepare student-athletes for their next steps as a collegiate basketball player, but we’ve also seen direct impacts from enrolling in boarding schools like IMG Academy.
Most student-athletes have their eye on NCAA Division 1 programs, but between the NCAA, NAIA and JUCO programs, more than 2,000 colleges offer men’s basketball. There are several competitive opportunities across the country where student-athletes can find their best match. And when it comes to searching for colleges, families need to consider several factors outside of athletics, including academics, campus life and college costs. To build your list of prospective schools, visit the NCSA Power Rankings.
This section breaks down every division so student-athletes can keep their options open.
While NCSA provides student-athletes with an in-depth recruiting education, there are several basketball recruiting and ranking websites that families can turn to when looking for advice. Websites like Scout, ESPN, and Rivals can keep you informed about news and major events in the men’s basketball community. For men’s basketball recruiting rankings, student-athletes can visit NCSA’s Power Rankings, or the NCAA website.
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.