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How to Make a Basketball Highlight Video for Men’s Basketball

In a perfect world, basketball coaches would be able to evaluate all their top recruits in person. But unfortunately, they just don’t have the time or budget to see every prospect this way. Cue: basketball highlight videos. A well-crafted highlight video can put a recruit on a coach’s radar and secure them a second in-person evaluation. Follow these guidelines to create a video that stands out.

The importance of a college basketball recruiting video

Here’s the hard hitting truth—most coaches don’t simply “discover” recruits. They don’t have the budget or time to see every prospect play in-person. And with high school and college basketball games being more staggered throughout the week compared to other sports, traveling is nearly impossible when coaches are in season. That’s why highlight videos have become essential in the basketball recruiting process. In a matter of minutes, they can garner coach interest and help student-athletes get an in-depth, second evaluation. Think of it as the first step toward getting on a coach’s radar and securing an opportunity to be evaluated in person later. 

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College basketball recruiting video tips

For some student-athletes, a basketball highlight video might be the reason they secure an in-person evaluation. Creating a highlight film is not as complicated as it sounds. Follow these straight-forward tips to create a video that truly stands out:

  1. Before you set out to film, ask your high school coach if they have footage already available. Online video services for high school coaches, like Hudl, are popular resources. 
  2. Choose games against your best competition, such as varsity level, high-level AAU games or any nationwide tournaments. College coaches want to see how you stack up against top talent. Typically clips from two or three games is enough, but you can use more if needed.
  3. Focus the camera from mid-court while making sure the student-athlete is easily recognizable. The camera view shouldn’t be obstructed by the crowd, other players on the court or people walking by.
  4. Use a tripod to avoid a shaky camera.
  5. Don’t zoom in and out.
  6. Make sure the person filming the match isn’t cheering. If there is excessive and distracting background noise, mute the video completely. Don’t add music to the video either.
  7. Put a title card at the front of your basketball highlight video that includes your name and graduation year, such as “John Doe Basketball Recruiting Video Class of 2021.”
  8. Stack your best clips first. Typically, you’ll start your video by highlighting your shooting ability.
  9. Focus on your three or four strongest strengths and organize your clips to highlight them. For example, if you’re an excellent three-point shooter, showcasing six straight threes is much more effective than one three-pointer, a pass, then a free throw, and then maybe another three, etc. 
  10. Cap your video at 20 to 30 clips and keep it under four minutes.
  11. Send college coaches your highlight video, as well as one unedited full game video. If they’re interested in a recruit after watching their highlight film, they will want to evaluate the full game next. 

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What do college coaches look for in a basketball highlight video?

A well-edited highlight video gives student-athletes a chance to show college coaches their strongest skills, athleticism, versatility and basketball IQ—all in just a few minutes. Coaches look for recruits who have the right technique and can execute on the fundamentals. They want to see footage against high-level competition where the recruit was truly tested—think varsity high school games, national tournaments, showcases and elite camps. If the highlight video does its job and captures the coach’s attention, then the coach will also want to evaluate performance from an unedited full game, which provides further insight into the recruit’s basketball IQ and game awareness. That’s why we always recommend sending a brief and impactful highlight film, as well as one full game.

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What are some good basketball highlight video songs?

Music can set an energetic tone, but it shouldn’t take away from an athlete’s performance. For that reason, we typically don’t recommend including music in a basketball highlight video. And to be honest, coaches don’t care too much about the frills; they just want to evaluate the recruit. In fact, if there’s excessive background noise, like yelling, it’s best to mute the sound completely.

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How long should a basketball highlight video be?

Student-athletes need to quickly capture a coach’s attention—with an emphasis on quickly. Basketball highlight videos should be under four minutes with 20-30 great plays that demonstrate the athlete’s strongest skills. In addition to a brief highlight film, student-athletes should separately provide full game film. If the coach is interested after watching the highlight reel, they’ll want to evaluate the recruit in one unedited game. 

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Center highlight video

College coaches want to evaluate the strongest parts of a center’s game. They look for technique and the ability to overpower players. Height and wingspan are key physical tools that will stand out, as well.

  • Shooting ability (range) and ability to finish around the rim
  • Ability to score against traditional post defense
  • Rebounding
  • Shot blocking and defensive ability to disrupt flow and passes (even when not blocking shots)
  • Successfully guard multiple positions
  • Quickness and footwork
  • Properly executed pick and roll plays and defensive stops
  • Game awareness—ability to process in game time and make the right decisions

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Point guard highlight video

Scoring and shooting ability is the most important aspect for perimeter players. Point guards who can take control, possess leadership skills and have a take-charge attitude will stand out.

  • Shooting ability (range) and scoring
  • Ability to penetrate and finish at the rim
  • Ball handing and passing (making the right pass, knowing when to pass—and when not to)
  • Court vision and controlling pace of the game
  • Good decisions in transition
  • Quickness
  • Defense rotations and ability to guard bigger players and multiple positions
  • Game awareness—ability to process in game time and make the right decisions

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Power forward highlight video

Power forwards need to have a dynamic skill set and be able to demonstrate their ability to shoot, especially at mid-range.

  • Shooting ability (range) and ability to finish around the rim
  • Rebounding
  • Shot blocking and defensive ability to disrupt flow of the game (even when not blocking shots)
  • Successfully guard multiple positions
  • Quickness and footwork
  • Game awareness—ability to process in game time and make the right decisions

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Shooting guard highlight video

Coaches obviously want to evaluate a shooting guard’s ability to score, and they’re also looking at their technique and whether they can execute the fundamentals.

  • Shooting ability and range 
  • Ability to make shots when moving off the dribble (catch and shoot movement)
  • Defensive ability to stop penetration
  • Active hands and touches on the ball
  • Ball handing—this is a must for shooting guards
  • Court vision
  • Quickness
  • Defense rotations and ability to guard bigger players and multiple positions, as well as help defense when opponent is driving by
  • Game awareness—ability to process in game time and make the right decisions

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Small forward highlight video

Versatility is important among small forwards. Similar to shooting guards, small forwards need to be exceptional shooters, especially at the short-to mid-range scoring area.  

  • Shooting ability and range
  • Ability to make shots when moving off the dribble (catch and shoot movement)
  • Defensive ability to stop penetration
  • Active hands and touches on the ball
  • Ball handing
  • Court vision
  • Quickness
  • Defense rotations and ability to guard bigger players and multiple positions, as well as help defense when opponent is driving by
  • Game awareness—ability to process in game time and make the right decisions

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How to make a basketball highlight video on hudl

Online video services for high school coaches, like Hudl, are becoming more popular in basketball. Student-athletes should follow the standard guidelines when creating a highlight video using Hudl:

  1. Choose games against your best competition, such as varsity level, high-level AAU games or any nationwide tournaments. College coaches want to see how you stack up against top talent. Typically clips from two or three games is enough, but you can use more if needed.
  2. Make sure the student-athlete is easily recognizable and the camera view isn’t obstructed by the crowd, other players on the court or people walking by.
  3. Don’t zoom in and out.
  4. Make sure the person filming the match isn’t cheering. If there is excessive and distracting background noise, mute the video completely. Don’t add music to the video either.
  5. Put a title card at the front of your basketball highlight video that includes your name and graduation year, such as “John Doe Basketball Recruiting Video Class of 2021.”
  6. Stack your best clips first. Typically you’ll start your video by highlighting your shooting ability. Post players should include: shooting ability, ability to finish around the rim, rebounding, shot blocking, footwork, and defensive abilities (guarding multiple positions). Perimeter players should include: scoring ability, ability to penetrate and finish at the rim, ball handling, court vision, and defensive abilities (guard bigger players and multiple positions).
  7. Focus on your three or four strongest strengths and organize your clips to highlight them. For example, if you’re an excellent three-point shooter, showcasing six straight threes is much more effective than one three-pointer, a pass, then a free throw, and then maybe another three, etc. 
  8. Cap your video at 20 to 30 clips and keep it under four minutes.
  9. Send college coaches your highlight video, as well as one unedited full game video. If they’re interested in a recruit after watching their highlight film, they will want to evaluate the full game next.  

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Basketball recruiting video services

While coaches generally prefer simple, no-frills editing, a professional videographer can quickly turn disorganized raw footage into a cohesive sequence of highlights. Plus, they know exactly which plays to showcase first. That’s why many families choose to call in help when creating their highlight video. 

As part of NCSA’s recruiting service for student-athletes, our full-service video editing team offers professionally edited video. In fact, they edit more than 40,000 highlight videos each year. And, depending on the membership level, they’ll produce multiple highlight videos for the athlete and help them identify the best schools to send it to. If you’re interested in learning more about NCSA’s video offerings, call our Video Team at 866-495-5172. 

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