Student-athletes across the country dream of playing basketball in college. And most hope to be “discovered” by coaches. But the truth is that college coaches don’t have the time or budget to see every recruit compete in person. So, to successfully get on their radar, student-athletes need to put in the work—they need to build a list of realistic schools, create an NCSA Recruiting 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 at each position and understand the NCAA basketball recruiting rules so they can map out when coaches can contact them and establish relationships early on.
Plus, outside of athletics, there are several factors that go into selecting a college, such as academics, cost, school size and campus life. 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 journey.
The NCAA issues a recruiting calendar each academic year that regulates when—and how—coaches can talk to recruits. For example, NCAA Division 1 coaches can reach out on September 1 of junior year, while Division 2 coaches can contact athletes on June 15 after sophomore year. But, depending on the program, many coaches evaluate athletes and build their list of top prospects before this point. This section not only helps you understand the NCAA basketball recruiting calendar and rules, but it also details how coaches at different division levels approach it.
How good do you have to be to play college basketball? 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 at each level, the average height of players across the division levels and the steps student-athletes can take to get on a coach’s radar.
There are two different kinds of basketball scholarships: headcount scholarships and equivalency scholarships. NCAA Division 1 offers 15 headcount scholarships per team, which means coaches can award a maximum of 15 full-ride scholarships to exactly 15 recruits. In NCAA Division 2, NAIA and JUCO programs, college coaches offer equivalency scholarships. These coaches have a pool of athletic aid and can divide their scholarships across several athletes. Therefore, many 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 academic scholarships. It’s important for student-athletes to understand the financial aid opportunities at each division level.
The recruiting process takes work. Student-athletes need to do research, create a communication strategy and successfully market themselves to college coaches. They should create a highlight video, email and call coaches, compete at tournaments and camps and take unofficial visits. This section breaks down the different steps in the process, so families know what to tackle—and when.
Highlight videos are a must-have in the basketball recruiting process. College coaches rely on them to find interested student-athletes and build their list of potential prospects. Plus, they’re an effective tool for securing a second, more in-depth 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 out there, knowing which events will positively impact a student-athlete’s recruiting can be a difficult task. From college basketball camps to exposure camps to elite camps, we break down the different opportunities to help families pick the right one.
A student-athlete’s chance of success is often enhanced by having a strong support system along the way.
To find a robust support system, some families consider boarding schools like our partner IMG Academy, which has dedicated college placement advisors, experienced coaches, academic teachers, Athletic & Personal development trainers, mentors, counselors and other on-campus staff available to student-athletes to ensure they’re prepared and equipped for the next level. The experience at IMG mirrors that of a collegiate environment, so IMG student-athletes are already familiar with their schedule from the moment they step foot on a college campus.
Within IMG’s college-preparatory environment for 6-12th graders, as well as gap year student-athletes, athletes will:
In addition to leveraging NCSA’s resources, we’ve seen that supplementing your family’s recruiting efforts with IMG Academy’s proven boarding school experience can help student-athletes get recruited for collegiate basketball.
Most student-athletes are interested in NCAA Division 1 programs, but between the NCAA, NAIA and JUCO programs, almost 2,000 colleges offer women’s basketball. Families should consider a variety of factors outside of athletics when it comes to searching for colleges, including academics, campus life and college costs. This section breaks down every division so student-athletes can keep their options open.
This section breaks down every division so student-athletes can keep their options open.
NCSA can provide student-athletes with an in-depth recruiting education, while ESPN is a great way to stay informed about news and major events in the women’s basketball community. For women’s basketball recruiting rankings, student-athletes can check out NCSA 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.