Many student-athletes dream of playing college basketball and may already even have a few colleges in mind. But families are often unsure of how to get recruited by college coaches. To be successful, student-athletes need to research their best college fit and actively market themselves to coaches by creating an online profile and highlight video that showcases their athletic ability and leadership qualities. This section will answer the most common questions families have on how to get recruited for college basketball.
Successful basketball recruits are proactive. They build a list of schools they can realistically get admitted to, create an NCSA Recruiting Profile and highlight film, contact college coaches and compete in front of coaches at tournaments and camps. From a coach’s perspective, here’s a quick overview of how they find student-athletes:
Recruiting isn’t a linear, clear-cut process. You could be nearing the end of your recruiting journey with one coach while simultaneously just beginning it with another. But knowing what steps you can take to create a communication strategy and market yourself will help you secure a scholarship offer.
Here is a general guideline student-athletes can follow to ensure their recruiting is on track.
College coaches consider few factors when determining an athlete’s ability:
Of course, what coaches look for in a recruit also depends on their program’s specific needs. The best way to determine that is to establish a relationship with the coach and speak to them directly. Another quick way is to visit the team’s website and analyze their roster.
There are 412,407 high school women’s basketball players. Of that number, 17,089—or 4%—go on to compete in the NCAA and less than 1% move on to the NAIA. When you break it down even further, 1.2% compete in NCAA Division 1 where there are 346 teams; 1.2% compete at the NCAA Division 2 level, which has 311 programs, and 1.6% compete at NCAA Division 3 with 442 teams. There are 291 JUCO programs rostering 4,910 basketball players.
AAU, which stands for the Amateur Athletic Union, can be a valuable tool in gaining exposure to college coaches. It provides a platform for recruits to compete against top tier athletes in tournaments across the country. For NCAA Division 1 prospects specifically, AAU has become somewhat of a standard for getting noticed by college coaches. AAU shouldn’t be viewed as a requirement to obtain a college basketball scholarship outside of NCAA Division 1. Several prospects have skipped the AUU circuit and moved on to successful college and professional careers.
AAU is a youth sports organization that stands for the Amateur Athletic Union. Athletes form independent teams, which are assigned based on geography, and compete in AAU tournaments. To find out which district you belong to and which team is best for you, visit the AAU website.
Many athletes value AAU as it provides an opportunity to compete against top-level talent that you typically wouldn’t find playing locally. There are various levels of competition within AAU, and as players develop and get better, they’ll switch to a more competitive team. As a result, many AAU tournaments, especially NCAA-certified tournaments, often attract scouts, giving athletes a chance to play in front of college coaches. However, participating in these events can be costly. The AAU membership fee is $14 per year, but families can end up paying $400 to $4,000 dollars per year depending on how many tournaments they attend. Many programs, however, offer financial assistance to help lower the high price tag associated with AAU.
To get a membership or start a club, you can visit AAU’s website.
Yes, typically college basketball players competed in a high school basketball program. But more importantly, recruits who are successful in their recruiting journey are proactive. They research schools and build a realistic list of colleges they want to attend. Then, they create an NCSA Recruiting Profile and highlight video and send it to coaches in an introductory email where they explain their personal interest in the program. They also actively call coaches to get on their radar and continuously follow up with them as they have updates in their recruiting, such as new test scores. Finally, they compete in tournaments and events where coaches are attending and partake in unofficial and official visits to help them narrow down their list of potential colleges.
While physical characteristics, like height, matter to college coaches, they aren’t the only consideration. The average height of women’s college basketball players changes slightly from division to division.
Keep in mind that this should be used as a helpful guideline and not something set in stone. Players who don’t fall within these ranges are recruited every year by college coaches. The best way to understand a coach’s recruiting needs is to establish a relationship with them early on and analyze their current team roster.
Basketball camps are a perfect opportunity for athletes to develop their skills and play in front of college coaches. Here are the different types of camps:
Keep in mind that most coaches attend events with a list of players they want to see. If you want to get recruited at a camp or showcase, you need to reach out to college coaches ahead of time. Email your NCSA Recruiting Profile, including your highlight video, and follow up with a phone call.
Creating a basketball highlight video is the best way to get on a coach’s radar and earn a second in-person evaluation. Follow these straightforward tips to put together a video that truly stands out:
The very first step in the recruiting journey is often the most overlooked: research. Here are the most important factors to keep in mind as families search for colleges:
As families start to find programs they’re interested in, we recommend sorting them into three categories: target schools, dream schools and safety schools. Most of the schools on a student-athlete’s list should fall into the target category.
Once a recruit has done the research and built a realistic target list of colleges, they’re ready to contact coaches. Here are the steps to take when contacting basketball coaches:
High school and club coaches are there to support student-athletes along their recruiting journey. Here’s how:
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.