Most players and parents think playing on an AAU/travel team is the only thing necessary to get a college basketball scholarship. That is so far from the truth. It just does not work that way.
As of today, if you’re not receiving any mail or phone calls from college coaches, its kind of unrealistic to think you are going to play college basketball. I’m just being honest.
Now, let me clarify some things. Only juniors and seniors can get phone calls from D1 college coaches. According to the NCAA’s College Bound Student Athlete Guide, you can start receiving some kind of mailings from a D1 coach, whether it’s a camp brochure, prospect questionnaire, NCAA materials, or non-athletic recruiting publications as a sophomore. The point I’m trying to make — If coaches aren’t showing any interest in you (by reaching out to you), you are a long way from playing college basketball.
Now that your summer season is over, it’s a great time to set a foundation for the upcoming school year. There are some things that must be done on the athletic side and the often forgotten academic side. Are you willing to put in the work to reach your dream of playing basketball on the college level? If so, let’s get started.
Evaluate Your Academic Record
Academics play a big part in determining what college you attend, whether you continue your career in basketball beyond high school or not. If you have an extremely low GPA, junior college is your beginning option. If you have an extremely high GPA, your options are limitless. If you are disciplined enough to take care of business in the classroom, you can fall in the middle to high GPA range.
When you know what is necessary to be academically eligible to play college basketball, it becomes easier to know what you need to do in the classroom. Use the NCAA Eligibility Center Quick Reference Guide to give you a snapshot of the NCAA Division I and II Initial-Eligibility Requirements. The guide will help you see where you stand on being academically eligible. If you have any questions, take the guide to your guidance counselor for assistance.
Register for the ACT/SAT Test
So many players wait til their senior year to take the ACT/SAT test and it puts them at a disadvantage. If you have never taken the test before, you don’t know what to expect and you go into the test with anxiety. And what if you make a low score during your senior year? Now, there is extra pressure to bring the score up. Don’t put yourself in that situation.
You can take the test as many times as you like. The earlier you take the test — I’m talking 8th and 9th grade — the earlier you know what to expect and the sooner you have to make adjustments. Like getting a tutor or signing up for ACT/SAT workshops. The Princeton Review even offers FREE Practice Tests in the community. Get ACT/SAT tests dates.
Evaluate Your Summer Basketball Performance
Contact your AAU/travel team coach and ask for an evaluation of your season performance/skill level, your statistics and any video available. This information will give you an idea on whether you are a college level player. Honestly, every player that makes an AAU/travel team is not a college level player. Ask your coach if you are.
The first two tasks are great to perform whether you have a desire to play college basketball or not. The last task will help you transition to Part II of this post.