Academics Athletic Recruiting Basketball Sport Specific

Why Did Three Four-Star Recruits Choose to Commit to a School Like Harvard?

coach talks about game plan with basketball recruits

The Harvard men’s basketball program continues to grow in size and talent, as it saw the commitment of its third four-star recruit in Bryce Aiken.

Harvard isn’t a school we would traditionally look to as an American basketball powerhouse. An academic powerhouse? Most definitely. But that’s kind of why the acquisition of these big basketball names is so cool. These athletes are really looking at all the opportunities a school has to offer – opportunities on and off the court.

So what can we learn from these Harvard recruits? They’re at the top of their game and being recruited with gusto. However, they’re going for a school like Harvard, with a reputation of academic rigor as intense – if not more intense – than the pressure on the court.

It’s important to look outside the “box” when you choose to commit to a school

Given its prestige and tradition of excellence – not to mention its beautiful campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts – Harvard is a dream school for young people across the world.

However, as a four-star recruit with top basketball schools pulling you every direction, it’s interesting that Harvard tops the list for not one, but three such student-athletes.

Thinking “outside of the box” is something we stress everyday here at NCSA. If you’re getting looks or calls from a school you’ve never considered, or maybe never even heard of, do not take the program for granted or discount them right away. It could end up being the perfect fit for you and become a life-changing opportunity.

As four-star recruit and Harvard commit Bryce Aiken recently told NJ.com: “I just wanted to be different from the rest of the typical basketball players. I felt like this is the best situation for me.”

Having good grades in high school opens up your options when you choose to commit to a school.

Of course, admission to Harvard requires some tremendous academic discipline as a high school student-athlete and preparedness for coursework once on campus.

And while high school grades and transcripts are going to be key in every recruiting process and college search, a transcript with strong academic results and dynamic involvement and achievement is going to open up many, many doors when it comes to playing options at the collegiate level.

As good as Aiken and his fellow four-star recruits may be, a school like Harvard would not even be on the table if they weren’t able to qualify from an academic standpoint.

As you’re working toward your athletic goals, make sure academic success remains important for you. Working hard for good grades won’t just prepare you for coursework in college; good grades will open doors to so many more programs and opportunities then poor or mediocre report cards.

Student-athletes are considering life after their sport more than ever before.

Very, very few student-athletes will go pro in their sport. While this doesn’t sound like a new revelation by any means, the fact still stands.

The good news is more and more student-athletes and their families are not only accepting this fact, but embracing it through the way they are narrowing down colleges and making selections on where to commit.

As a collegiate student-athlete, there will be countless meaningful memories, special moments, and life lessons learned. It’s important to find your best academic, athletic and social fit to set you up for success after college. Even if you haven’t heard of a school until you started your recruiting journey, it’s worth it to investigate further and see if it might be the best school for you.

Make sure you look at each factor when it comes to your college decision.


We can help you match with a school that will fit you academically, athletically and socially. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.