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What You Need to Know About Playing College Basketball

Playing College Basketball

The difference between high school and college basketball can be quite a shock for some players. This change can sometimes affect a player well into their freshmen year and beyond. It has also led to players transferring schools or dropping down to a lower division. So what can you do as a player to make sure that you are prepared to play college basketball level?

The answer to that question comes in two parts. First, you must identify the differences between high school and college basketball, and then you must prepare yourself to adapt to those changes.

This basketball article aims to give you 8 of the biggest differences that you must be ready for as you progress into playing college basketball. This will hopefully help to set you up to have a successful college basketball playing career.



Offensive Spacing in College Basketball

For most players, the half-court offensive spacing is the biggest on-court adjustment that will occur when playing college basketball. There is no longer the space to take 5 or 6 dribbles before trying to score on your man. College team defenses are all about being in the gap, help, and rotating on penetration. So if you try to isolate every time you catch the ball, you will be forced into a bad shot because the defense is set and ready for you. There will be end of clock situations where you may need to make an isolation move, but all of your time in the gym should not be spent working just on these types of moves.

This means that you need to find other ways to score in the half-court and adjust to the help defense. So instead of trying to attack one on one, attack off a quick reversal, moving without the ball, catch and shoot, etc. You need to be able to adjust your game to get quality shots within the offense. Here are a few scoring opportunities that are going to be available in a college basketball game (broken down by position).



  • Shooting or attacking off of a quick reversal
  • Hard cuts (must read the defense)
  • Using ball screens and off-ball screens
  • Sprinting the floor in transition


Post Players

  • Hard duck ins for deep post catches
  • Setting great screens and then opening up to the ball
  • Rotating for a dump-off pass on guard penetration
  • Offensive rebounds



Accounting for the Help Defense in College Basketball

College coaches pride themselves in having a great team defense that can be in the gap or in the help, and most college teams are pretty good at this. That means that as a player, you need to account for that help defense, guards especially. As a point guard or a wing player, when you get past your defender in the half-court, you are most likely going to have another defender stepping up to help, and in most cases, it is going to be a 6’11 shot blocker or a player that seems to always be in the right place to take a charge.

So when you get past your primary defender, you need to know what you will do with the ball. Your two main options are going to be pass to an open teammate or look to finish yourself. You must be able to do both so that the defense cannot force you into one option. i.e., If you always kick out to a teammate, the defense will not help off, or if you only look to finish on the drive, the defense will collapse and make you take a bad shot.

On the finish, you want to be able to shoot the highest percentage shot, so that most likely doesn’t mean driving right into the shot blocker’s body to finish. This is where a great floater and runner come into play. These two finishes allow you to get past the first level of defense (your defender) and then get a quality finish before reaching the second level of defense (the shot blocker/player taking a charge). Whatever move you decide to use, make sure that you stay under control, and recognize that there is almost always a help defender that you must account for.



Finding your Role

The majority of the players on a college basketball team were the best player on their high school or prep team. That means that every player is coming in and trying to establish their role on the team. Even more, you are most likely going to be one of a few freshmen joining a team of upper class men that already have established roles on the team. So how do you earn and establish the role that you want on the team?

Every player’s role will be different, but coming into college, you have a big impact on the type of role you want with your team. If you want to increase your value as a basketball player, you must be willing to put in the work and be willing to step up every day at practice, workouts, etc. With 14 other players competing for minutes and shots, you will have to earn your role on the team.

Another big key to finding or establishing your role is what you do outside of team practice times. The NCAA regulates how much time your coaches are allowed to have with you on the court during the season and off-season (2 hours per week on the court during the offseason, and 20 hours per week during the playing season). That means that you need to be committed to putting in work and continuing to get better on your own time if you really want to excel and have a bigger role with your team.



College Basketball Time Commitment

One of the hardest things for players to get used to in college is the time commitment that comes with it. You are a student-athlete, which means that there is more than just basketball you are responsible for. When you add up these other responsibilities; going to class, practice, weights, individual skill development, study hall, and 3 meals a day, you aren’t left with much free time. You must recognize this and learn to manage your time well. Don’t allow one of these areas to suffer by not budgeting enough time for it; you must find a way to balance all of them.



The Distractions in College Basketball

The higher the level you play at in college, the more this becomes a concern. Too many college basketball players allow what really matters to suffer and fall apart because they allow too many distractions into their life. Whether it is friends, parties, video games, etc., you need to manage the distractions. There are always going to be people who want your time, and there is nothing wrong with taking a break and having free time, but don’t allow these things to negatively affect you on the court or in the classroom.

“Is what I’m doing or about to do, getting me closer to my [true] objective?“ – Robert Townsend



The Grind of College

The day in and day out grind of college basketball, school, and everything else that comes with it can sometimes be a lot, especially for freshmen. It is important, though, that you are ready for this and prepared to battle through it when it hits. There may come a time during the season when you feel mentally drained and fatigued; it happens to many players (even non-freshmen).

You must be first able to continue to fight through it, and then secondly, recharge yourself. Do what you need to do to get back mentally and physically to play your best. A big part of this is what you do off the court in taking care of your body. Spend the needed time stretching, getting preventive treatment, ice baths, foam rolling, etc. You must be willing to invest in yourself and take care of your body for the season’s long grind.



Next Man Up Mindset

One of the great things about college basketball is the length of the season and the fact that no role is permanent. During the season, you may not be playing very much or have the role on your team that you want, but that doesn’t mean you should pack it in and wait until next season. In fact, it means the exact opposite. You need to work on your game and stay ready for when your chance comes. I can’t tell you how many players I have seen that were barely playing at the beginning of the season and then played a huge role on the team by the end of the year. So always be ready to go if your chance comes.

“I don’t complain about playing time. My job is to play so well the coach can’t sit me.” – Shane Battier



Understanding the Process

As a freshman, you are most likely going to have certain areas of your game that need development, and that takes time. Some of these deficiencies may even keep you from playing or having the role that you want with your team. It is important, though, that you understand the process and stay committed to getting better and developing. Not every college basketball player comes in as freshmen and has an immediate impact on their team’s success. Whether you do or don’t, though, you must understand that it is a process to get to where you want to be as a player.



Four Things I Wish I Knew About College Basketball Before I Started


Four Things I Wish I Knew About College Basketball Before I Started

Derek Brown contributed to this portion of the article. 


Every young basketball player dreams of playing college basketball on the big stage, competing for or against the schools they grew up watching. We idolize these college athletes and watch their games almost as intently as we watch the pros.

Fortunately, I reached the Division One level and competed against some of the top schools and many NBA players. College was by far the best time of my life, and I had some amazing experiences, but there are a few things I wish I would have known before getting there.


College Basketball Recruiting

I can remember the excitement I first had when college coaches were sending me letters every day. It progressed into handwritten notes, phone calls, attending games, house visits, and then official visits. The whole process is amazing for a young athlete, and it is the first time you start to see your hard work pay off truly.

The side of the business most don’t realize is that recruiting is sales. Coaches are selling you on their school with every piece of ammunition they possibly have. If that means showing you the best part of campus, only revealing the best statistics, or going so far as to promise you playing time. It’s all one long sell.

This leads to players committing to schools without the right knowledge ahead of time and transferring soon after. A recent study stated that 40% of players who attend a college out of high school end up transferring by the end of their sophomore year.

Athletes get swept off their feet because they are often not told the facts about the school and/or they don’t ask the right questions before committing. Some questions might be:

  • What is the four-year plan while I am here?

  • What has the transfer rate been while this coaching staff was present?

  • How many players in my position are you looking to bring in this year and next?

  • What kind of offensive and defense will you be running?

Don’t be afraid to dive into their program because, trust me, they have read every stat, talked to many people, and compared you to a ton of athletes before showing interest. It is a business deal at the end of the day; make sure you want them just as much as they want you before signing.



Competition in College

When you think of basketball competition at the college level, you automatically assume the opposing teams. Yes, everyone can shoot, pass, dribble and dunk or else they wouldn’t be there. Athletes fail to realize how stiff the competition is going to be, even on their own team.

Think about it; if you are the best player in your school, district, and region, your competition so far hasn’t been very stiff. Now you’re going to compete against players every single day who have the same accolades as you and just as good for their area of the country. Any given day, a teammate can get the best of you, so you have to be ready to go full tilt day in and day out.

Many players are never heard from again at the college level because they could not find a way to get quality minutes for their own team. The success you had in high school does not mean a thing when you step on the court against your teammates in practice.

Another aspect athletes forget is the next recruiting class coming behind them. In college, nothing is guaranteed past one year. Your scholarship is only guaranteed for a year, and if you earn a spot for the season, that too can be taken the following year.  Your job is to develop your basketball skills each year and become better than the previous season.

Each year brings a new batch of recruits looking to take your spot playing college basketball and every other veteran on the team. Be ready to show your skills at the highest level every day and every year before ever stepping in front of an opponent.


Time Management as a Student-Athlete

Probably the biggest key to success in playing college basketball is utilizing your time management correctly. Normal students are told, “you have school, sleep, and a social life. You can only pick two.” In true college student fashion, they try to incorporate all three to sacrifice sleep at some point or another.

On the other hand, athletes have weights, class, practice, study hall, homework, social life, eating correctly, traveling, film, and sleep. Not to mention games and all of the preparation that goes into that as well. A typical day may look something like this:

  • 5 am – Wake Up
  • 5:30 am – 6:45 am- Weights
  • 7 am- Breakfast
  • 7:30 am- 9 am- Nap
  • 9:15 am- 12 pm – Class
  • 12:15 pm – Lunch
  • 1 pm – 4 pm – Practice
  • 5pm – 6:15pm – Class
  • 7 pm – 9 pm – Study Hall
  • 9:30 pm – Dinner

That does not include extra practice on your game, an increase in classwork during midterms and finals week, or your beloved social life. If you want to be successful in college, you must use your time management wisely to enhance your performance on and off the court.

To stay on the right track, make sure you are in constant communication with your coaches, professors, and advisors. Their jobs are to help you, use them as much as possible, and watch the workload get a bit easier with every semester that goes by.



Your College Basketball Coach

Your Boss, Mentor, Trainer, Guardian, Leader, Head Coach.

Something to understand about a Head Coaching position is the amount of work they had to go through to get that job. Many coaches were assistants for 10+ years traveling all over the country, working for many different programs just to slowly rise in the rankings in hopes they will get the chance to run a college basketball program one day. It is not easy to become the Head Coach of a college team, and the salary these men and women receive reflects that.

With that being said, players must understand these coaches have not only been doing this job for a very long time, but they have also paid many dues to run the program under their carefully honed leadership. To think you will step on campus and make the program your own is a long shot. The game is much more structured in college than you ever could imagine, and the demand to do what the head coach wants is far greater than it is in high school.

To become the player you want to be, you must first become the player the coach wanted you to be.

During the recruiting process, they will lay out a vision for how they say your skillset fitting in their system. From the very first day in practice, do whatever it takes to become that player. Be a coachable basketball player.  The better you get at your role, the more freedom you will receive to branch outside of that.

I have seen lockdown defenders become 3-point specialist just by doing their job and being prepared for another opportunity when it presented itself. It is quite simple; the more time you can buy yourself on the floor, the more opportunity you will have to show off your skills.

At the end of the day, your head coach makes all of the decisions. It would be in your best interest to make sure you both are on the same page when it comes to his expectations and that you follow those guidelines every chance you get.


Closing Thoughts

Playing college basketball is amazing. There is no better feeling than stepping on the court with thousands of raging students yelling your name as you play the game you love and then having them recognizing you in class the next day.

The bond you make with teammates throughout the years will last a lifetime, and the memories you make together will never be forgotten. It will be the best time of your life, but first, you must take the necessary steps to ensure you get the most out of every single moment to optimize your experience playing college basketball.




Sustaining Reality as Applied to Basketball


Sustaining Reality as Applied to Basketball

Norman De Silva contributed to this portion of the article. 


Sustaining Reality as Applied to Basketball

Delusional Players and Coaches: How to Deal with Them and Avoid Becoming One Yourself

The biggest challenge in basketball coaching today is, undoubtedly, the player who doesn’t know what he is. Conversely and less frequent, is one of many challenges for players today – the coach who does not know what he is. It is one of the most difficult tasks to ask of anyone: honestly evaluate yourself concerning reality – complete understanding of what you’re currently capable of and what you’re capable of in the future.

Although it is human nature to have supreme faith in oneself, this alone can make or break a player and a coach if not in touch with reality. Opposite of human nature is the doctrine of self-depreciation and training yourself to think you are less capable and inferior in the name of humility.

This form of thinking can prohibit the fulfillment of a player or coach’s true potential.  A player or coach’s maximum level of success depends on his ability to recognize what they can and cannot do and subsequently maintaining that exact efficiency level as best possible (until your ability improves or declines, at which point you must again reevaluate and readjust your role and output).

Pushing for more will certainly start to have an inverse effect on your long term success in the same way that asking less of yourself will.  Sometimes “less is more” and “more is less.” It is also crucial to always keep in mind the difference between short term and long term success because they are often very different.


Best Interest of the Team

No matter how good a basketball player you think you may be, no player has ever won a game by himself (in 0.001% of NBA games has a single-player outscored an entire team opponent; not to mention defending 5 players by yourself). By saying this, I am not trying to devalue the individual and propose that the individual must always sacrifice himself for the team’s greater good.

A team is simply that; a collective group of individuals. Without the value of a single player, the value of the whole ceases to exist. The best interest of the player and the best interest of the team are always compatible. The best interest of the team does, at times, call for certain individuals to do “more” than others due to their capability. It also calls for other individuals to do “less” than their teammates in certain areas.



A Basketball Players Role

That being said, the definition of more or less is always relative. The need for more production from a player might mean shooting a lower percentage. The need for play-making might mean accepting more turnovers. Less playing time might mean a greater leadership role in the locker room or proving your ability to accept a role, thus increasing your market value.

The problem arises when all individuals think that their best interest lies in the same (short-term) formula of high statistics, leadership, playing time, etc.  The challenge is to look at your long term success and weigh your best interest in honest terms. Are you more valuable as a starter on a terrible team or a role player off the bench on a great team? What avenue will allow you to extend your career, increase your value, and win championships?



Your Work Speaks for You

All great basketball players have a chip on their shoulder and have a sense of confidence that can be difficult to deal with, but it is also true that if, in fact, they are great players, they have earned that right. Coaches will say that you have to treat each player equally. I would wholeheartedly disagree. If I provide X amount of value to the team, I should not be subjected to an arbitrary Y value of work.

If you have a 5th-grade math student who can easily do 9th-grade work, do you subject him to 5th-grade exercises? If your top salesman out-sells your lowest salesman 10 to 1, do you give your top salesman the same training as your lowest? No. Each player is different with different needs and personalities.

Each basketball player also earns and demands different levels of respect based on history. If a player works hard to build his reputation, don’t punish him for it by treating him the same as someone who has a track record of the opposite. Reward players for their history of hard work or value. Hold accountable those who have a poor history.  And be skeptical of those who have no history with you at all. Never predetermine what someone is or isn’t but also never forget a player’s reputation with you.

In business, companies have reputations the same way players do. It is efficient that way. If I want a safe car, I am buying a Volvo. If I want to do an important deal, I’m not doing it with Enron. You don’t treat each company equally; you do the deal with a company you trust. When I see a player make a mistake, I don’t treat him the same as every other player. Has this player made this mistake repeatedly, or is it his first time?

Does he have the personality to handle a harsh punishment with a level head, or does he not? Is he so valuable to the team’s success that punishing him will hurt the team more than it helps in the long term? Is this player more valuable than the problems he presents? History is important.

Treat players according to the treatment they earn. Some will break, some will hold together. Some offer more immediate value, and some offer less. If I do my job every day and play 40 minutes a game, I should not be asked to run or lift the same amount the next day as a player who plays 5 minutes. Dictatorship is easy; Democracy is difficult.



Maximizing Roles

For a basketball team to maximize its productivity, players must know and accept their workload on that team concerning statistics, practice, leadership, off-court life, locker room life, etc.  Most talented players today overvalue their own importance. This most always leads to the demise of not only the team but the individual himself. By the same token, an effective role player cannot reach success without an honest evaluation of himself and his role that maximizes the team’s potential.

Delusional players will either disrupt team chemistry and hinder success, or they will have been let go from a successful team long before they reach success. Every player reading this just now said to themselves, ‘but I’m not delusional; therefore, this doesn’t apply to me.’ I challenge you to name one delusional player who openly admits he is delusional. It is challenging to question yourself honestly and come to an unbiased opinion.

The easiest thing in the world is to blame someone else; the hardest is to blame yourself – if you deserve it. Coaches are held to the same standard. For a team to be successful, the coach must evaluate his role honestly and accurately. The role of the coach changes with every team any time the pieces of that team change.

A coach must never overvalue himself or undervalue himself. A team with 5 NBA All-Stars on it requires a coach to have a very different role than a coach with no NBA All-Stars. As a basketball coach, you may need to take a “lesser” role on a talented team than a non-talented team. Less or more is a matter of relativity. Less X’s and O’s might mean more management of players.

Less talent might mean more time doing basketball drills and focusing on player development. More size might mean a change in your basketball coaching philosophy. It is much more efficient and effective to change the decisions you make as a coach than to change the makeup of players who have been molded into what they are their entire life.

You can certainly change the make-up of a player in certain terms, but that is a long-term project best dealt with in the off-season or seasons. A coach who can adapt to his team’s needs is just as important as a player who can adapt to his team’s needs.



Definition of a Delusional Basketball Player

There is no exact definition. The only judge is reality. In a perfect world or a level playing field, this is easy to discern. A delusional basketball player believes they are worth X amount of points, assists, rebounds, etc. but consistently retains Y amount of the aforementioned statistics. This could mean one believes they are worth 8 rebounds per game, but they consistently only retain 5.

This could also mean that one believes they are worth 8 rebounds per game, but they consistently retain 12. In the first case, the player overvalues himself, and in the second case, the player undervalues himself. A delusional player is not always the “selfish” one who thinks they need more. It can often be one without the confidence or self-awareness needed to reach their full potential.

It is an important job of the coach to diagnose both types of players and properly handle both. Unfortunately, almost every situation is imperfect: no coach is perfect, no system is perfect, some teams have more talent than others, some teams play a more difficult schedule than others, there are injuries, some players are better suited to playing a certain style or pace, etc.

In the more realistic, non-level playing field, a delusional player is only delusional relative to the judge. If a coach, system, statistician, teammate, or media is biased, the “delusional” player must be investigated further and meticulously.

It must then be decided after weighing every outside force if the player is delusional. In many cases, the player is delusional about his self worth to the team and his needed value to achieve victory. In other cases, the coach or circumstances are false due to several reasons, which can only be discovered by himself or ultimately by management.



Managing Basketball Players

In reality, each basketball player is not a pawn in a chess game that has an exact value and knows his exact limitations. As a coach, it is our responsibility and job to use whatever means we see fit to ensure that players can see reality. Coaches may often refer blame to the individual or individuals on a team that does not understand or accept their role on the team, but unfortunately for him, that is indeed the coach’s job.

In a perfect universe, each player you have completely and honestly evaluates himself, his ability, and where he falls into place with the current team. Due to the human nature of desire and will to be great, this is never the case. Instead of blaming human nature, use it to your advantage.  It is always true that what is in the individual’s self-interest is always in the interest of the team.

Explain to players how playing a role on a winning basketball team is much more valuable to themselves than playing a slightly more prestigious role on an average team. What may seem like common knowledge to you may not be to the strong-minded player who only sees short term success as his avenue forward. It is only through assessing long-term effects and complete thinking that provides the ultimate path for true personal self-interest.

Playing mind games and manipulating players into thinking they have a value that they do not is only a short term fix that prolongs inevitable displeasure or becomes a ticking time bomb that will surely disrupt team chemistry. Instead of telling a player to accept a role for the “good of the team.” Be more direct and honest; tell him why it is, in fact, in his best interest. Great scorers and stars are easy to find in today’s game.

The most difficult player to find in today’s game is the player who accepts a role and wears it completely, knowing full well that it is in his best interest. Role players at the highest level are often more valuable to a team than the star. It seems foolish, but a role player who knows what he can and cannot do is the long sought after dream of coaches at the highest level.

“Good locker room guys,” “defensive specialists,” or “great practice players” are so valuable to teams that they often get overpaid in money and loyalty from the team to ensure they stay with that team. Instead of telling a player about the “good of the team” (an oft overused phrase), convince them honestly why accepting a role is in their true best interest.

This is incredibly difficult to do, but if you succeed, that player is a long-term asset that will help you win much more than a quietly disgruntled player and a future problem waiting to happen. Players all have egos. They are human. But their egos will either make them great or destroy them. That is unless they can harness it with the help of a leader.



Increasing a Basketball Players Value

Some sub-standard players have a chip on their shoulders and a sense of confidence that they have not earned, and it becomes a hindrance.  Your success as a basketball coach depends on your ability to show this player their true value to the team, as difficult as it may be for the player to accept. Sure it’s easier to tell them it is situational and will get better, but are you really addressing the issue?

A great coach can show the player what they are and show them how to increase their value as a player by playing their role successfully on a winning team. The examples are endless of players who played successful supporting roles on championship teams that went on to earn career salaries the next year or in the immediately following years.

I have never heard of a “best-supporting actor” Oscar award being turned down because they didn’t get the lead role in their picture. Many people say the coach’s job is to keep everybody happy. If I feel I should be scoring 15pts a game and am only scoring 5, am I truly happy?

Can you convince me that 5 points a game is, in fact, better for me than scoring 15 points a game at the relative expense of the rest of the team? Is my value maximized at 5 points? Can you show this player that the cost of him scoring 15 points per game will detract from the overall effectiveness of the whole team? Is keeping him happy a short term mask that he puts on until the false sense of value rears its ugly head angrily or subtly affect the team but cannot be seen until it is too late?

Basketball players can swallow pride for a while, knowing what the right thing to say is, but if they don’t truly believe that their role is best for them personally, it will sooner or later disrupt the team every time. Sometimes, if a player cannot honestly come to terms with himself and his role on that particular team, the only option is to dispose of him.



Self Evaluation

On the other hand, is the disgruntled player. This is where the job of the honestly self-evaluated coach comes into play. No coach has ever scored a point (with the exception of the long-extinct player-coach). No matter how smart or effective you think you may be as a basketball coach, you have never won a game alone. You need players to win. It may sound simple but never forget it.

Coaches may be incredibly effective, but if you aren’t, are you doing too much? The ultimate job as a coach is putting his players in the best positions to make plays. Players make plays. As a coach, are you trying to make plays yourself? Did you decide to stop reading this because the possibility looms that you may have to be honest with yourself if you read on? Think about your disgruntled player or players.

Is this player an overconfident hindrance, or is he as valuable as he believes, but you cannot see it? Every once in a while, rid yourself of all your previous notions of a player’s value and start over as if you’ve never seen him before in your life. Never forget your history with the player, but sometimes reevaluate your history and try looking at it in a view you haven’t thought of before.

Is it something the coach is doing within his system and philosophy that is somehow holding back the disgruntled player? Coaches today, without a doubt ere on their own side because it is easy. What isn’t easy is to be completely honest with yourself and fairly re-evaluate each player’s ability and value on your team. Surely coaches are more often right than wrong in these situations, but are you?

The possibility of being wrong always looms, no matter what job or industry you work in. Can you be completely honest with yourself, free of bias, in complete cooperation with reality? It is the most difficult thing for a player, and certainly the most difficult thing for a coach to achieve; complete honesty with yourself in every single situation. You might say this is obvious and that every coach wants to be honest with himself because he is trying to win.

This is true. But just wanting to be something doesn’t make you so. Just as every team wants to win, but not every team does. Take this as a reminder to reevaluate yourself in this area. Take a hard look at what you do and the way you think. It is of utmost importance. It is your job.



Talking to Your Basketball Coach

To the basketball player who feels his coach is delusional (this applies to just about every player), my advice for you isn’t as easy, seeing that the coach always reserves the power to “be right.” Be honest with your coach. Have a relationship. Let your thoughts be known. It doesn’t help to internalize things because they will never be resolved. Coaches give their thoughts and opinions out every day, every practice, every game.

As a player, your thoughts aren’t afforded the same platform as the coaches. To be heard or to make a change actually happen, you need to be proactive. Sit down with your coach every few weeks. The only way to make progress is through open conversation and debate.

Don’t take things personally. He may think you are right, but you will never find out if you don’t communicate. Embrace conflict. Some of the best and most effective player/coach relationships are the ones where they have heated and intense debate. Sometimes they have a love/hate relationship and frustrate each other often.

The difference is that they can get through the disagreements because they are honest with themselves, and they understand that they are both after the same goal. Conflict, if approached correctly, will always court an eventual better understanding and ultimately make productive progress.



Sustaining Reality as Applied to Basketball Conclusion

Unfortunately for the basketball player, it only requires one dishonest coach to sink a qualified team. On the flip side, a basketball coach can work past one dishonest player to achieve success. Remind yourself every day that, as a coach, you alone could very well be single-handedly responsible for your team’s failure.

Most importantly for players and coaches both: Know that you indeed are immediately responsible for your team’s successes and failures but keep in mind that you are only a singular part of those.



Best College Basketball Recruiting Sites



There are a lot of high school basketball players out there that are good players and want to play in college at some level. With so many players out there competing for a limited amount of scholarships, it can get very competitive, and sometimes there are good players that get overlooked. This is where college basketball recruiting websites come into play. They take a basketball players information and profile, and then help them get connected with the different college basketball coaches and schools.

This is not a guarantee that the player will end up with a scholarship, but if a player is able to find a quality basketball recruiting service it can drastically improve their chances of getting seen by the different college coaches. However, with so many different recruiting services out there it is hard to determine which are the quality ones, and which are the ones that are just trying to take your money. That is why I have decided to put a list together of some of the best college basketball recruiting websites out there.

As with any product there is going to be some satisfied users, and some that aren’t as happy. So my goal is not to tell you which service is best for you, but to provide you with as many details about the product as I can, and then you can make your decision. This will hopefully help save you some time and headaches. Also, there may be some really good quality recruiting services that I have missed, so feel free to comment below with any recommendations that you may have, and I will check them out and potentially add them to the list.


List of the Best College Basketball Recruiting Sites





Playced sells itself on being different than other recruiting websites because it puts the player in touch with the coach rather than having a recruiter reach out to to different programs. Having the player reach out allows the player to connect with the coach better than a go between.

Also, Playced offers a Scholarship Matching Engine, Personal Assistance from a Recruiting Expert, College Search and 5-Star Match Rating System, College Tracker, Recruiting Resume, and Live Customer Service. They claim that 86% of the athletes that they match with a college program are recruited by that school.

If you are looking to take an active role in your recruiting process, may be the right option for you.


As one of the largest recruiting services on this list, beRecruited has over 450,000 basketball players in their network. Along with players, they have 28,000 high schools, and 10,000 high school coaches. With over 8 million registered athlete searches in their database, it also shows that college coaches are viewing players profiles as well.

With a team of developers as well, you can pretty much guarantee that beRecruited will stay towards the top of the list when it comes to new features and tools for online recruiting.

Being one of the largest recruiting services there is, may be just the right choice for you.





NCSA Sports

NCSA takes a three prong approach to it’s recruiting service model; People, Relationships, and Technology. These are the three areas that they focus on when it comes to finding the right school for an athlete.

When it comes to people, they have scouts that have decades of experience and understand the recruiting process inside and out. These scouts will be able to provide all of the info that you need. Relationships is the coaches that trust NCSA and their recruiting services. On average, every 10 minutes a college coach will log on and checkout the database of players.

Technology will allow you to build a custom profile with all of your; stats, highlights, etc. Also, with qualified members you will be able to match with best-fit opportunities as well.

With over 83,000 student athletes committing to play in college since 2000, may be the right choice for you.





Hoop Recruiter

Where a lot of the websites on this list are multi-sport recruiting services, Hoop Recruiter focuses solely on basketball. Along with being solely focused on basketball, Hoop Recruiter sells themselves on being created by college coaches and former players who have been a part of the recruiting process.

They want to find a program that is not only a good fit for the player athletically, but also academically and socially as well. Having a recruiting service also focus on finding a school that fits these other two areas can add a lot of value to the players college experience in the long term.

With over 10 years of experience and focused solely on the sport of basketball, could be the route that you want to go when it comes to choosing a recruiting service.





Athletic Quest

Athletic Quest is a multi-sport recruiting service that was created by current and former college coaches. Every member of their staff has coached college sports at some level, and they have coaches that have coached at every level of competition (NCAA Division 1, 2, 3 and NAIA to Junior College).

Having college coaches that have connections with other college coaches can be a really big benefit when it comes to getting in front of the right coaches. The power of Athletic Quest comes from this ability of having college coaches that know other college coaches.

If you want to deal directly with college coaches that have been where you are trying to get yourself to, is a great option as a recruiting service.





MVP Sports Recruiting

MVP Sports Recruiting has a five step plan that they use to help players get in front of coaches and ultimately to get a scholarship. Step one is creating a free online profile that lists everything about the player. Step two involves an evaluation of the player and suggestions from coaches and trainers on what the player should be working on.

Step three involves finding the target schools that they player should be looking to contact. Four is going to be the promotion of the player to these different coaches and schools, and step five is getting the scholarship.

With step by step instructions and coaches to help you along the way, may be the route you want to take when it comes to finding your scholarship.




Go Big Recruiting

One of the biggest features that is different about Go Big Recruiting is the ability to pay by school. They allow you to submit video, and the charge a $4.99 fee for every school that you submit viewership-enabled video to. This may be a better pricing option for you if you only have a set number of schools that you would like to pursue.

Along with the ability to target individual schools at a set price, they also sell themselves on college coaches having the ability to run advanced searches on athletic and academic history, see transcripts, highlight films, and full games. All this info is stored on the site and is a one stop shop for college coaches.

If some of these key features interest you, may be the right fit for you.






Custom College Recruiting

Custom College Recruiting or CCR has a unique process in which they gather a players information just as if they were a college coach recruiting you themselves. After that, with the help of their in house former professional and college coaches they compile a detailed and trusted scouting report that they are then able to pass on to the college coaches in the CCR system.

With CCR athletes having received over $45,000,000 in potential scholarship and aid towards obtaining a college education, CCR has a record of coming through for the athletes and families that are a part of their program.

Checkout and see if they are the service that best fits your needs.






National Scouting Report

National Scouting Report has been around since 1980 and it has been helping pair student athletes with college programs ever since. NSR is not open enrollment like some of the other services on this list. That means that college scouts that work for NSR are first going to evaluate every player before potentially approving them to become a member.

Once the player is approved, NSR will begin to promote the player to college coaches all around the country through different channels, including the NSR’s Evolution System. Lastly, the goal is to educate the player and family. NSR will help you keep up with all of the different NCAA and NAIA recruiting rules, regulations, and qualification process.

If you are looking for a recruiting service that is a little bit more exclusive, National Scouting Report could fit right in for what you are looking for.





Star Athletes Online

Star Athletes Online is not your typical recruiting service, and in fact they clearly mark that SAO is NOT a recruiting service on their website. What they do offer though is the chance to create a live website in their system featuring the player.

Once the website is set up with all of the players info, highlights, game film, etc. they provide a database of college coaches that allows the player, parents, and high school coaches to reach out to different coaches and programs that they player would like to contact.

The goal of Star Athletes Online is to take the pressure out of figuring out the ever changing recruiting process, and give all the tools that the player needs to launch their own recruiting campaign. If this sounds like the strategy that you would want to take, maybe is the right choice for you.




Best College Basketball Recruiting Sites Conclusion

Less than one percent of high school college athletes will go on to play a college sport. With there being such a large volume of high school players to search through for college coaches, there is the possibility and even probability that players good enough to play at the college level will go unrecognized.

We created this list to simply help you better find great recruiting services, and we do not directly benefit from any of these services financially. It is simply our goal to help you have a better chance to get recognized and play in college.





9 Responses

  1. Outstanding article! Young players need more perspective and insight like this to equip them for next level success. We strive in Shine Basketball to teach these same fundamentals. iAthlete Promotions ( does a great job of partnering with student athletes to transition to college play. Keep up the great work! See you on the court!

  2. as a first year college assistant coach at a smaller college.everything in this article was exactly right on the money$

  3. An outstanding article. As a former Division 1 basketball player, I agree with and stand by this article 100%. I wish there were articles like this when I was coming out for me to read and digest because this would have helped with the learning curve that comes with the transition from high school basketball to Division 1 college basketball. Even I myself, transferred to Div 2 for a year because the transition was just entirely too much for me at one point. I would recommend every player serious about at the next level, read this article and others and really count the cost because it takes a lot, both or and off the court, to be a successful college basketball player, regardless the level.

  4. Good ways for me to be a better and much smarter point guard on the court

  5. Great article! I’d dare say this is applicable for players entering any new elite team. Most will be the “best” from where they’ve come. And, the same time management issues exist — even at the middle school age for elite ballers of that level. If ballers start young — with the knowledge presented in this article — there will not be such a culture shock for them when they enter college, but rather, business as usual.

  6. Great article!!! Something definitely to share. This article should be in every college or high school coach’s folder. An article to share with your players before the season start. Will put it in my folder.

  7. What happens when a new coach comes in with his own agenda and doesn’t give the remaining players a chance

  8. Quick comment on a previous comment. Anyone with a great work ethic, great attitude and team first mind set will always have an opportunity with any coach/team.
    Great article.

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