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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recruiting

Basketball recruiting is a weird thing. There is no science to it. Some abilities transfer from high school to the college level. Some abilities do not. Everyone is quick at the college level. All the players can jump. All the players are strong. Most of the players at the college know the game very well. They don't go for fakes easily. For most players the transition from high school to college is a hard one.

First thing most college coaches look at when recruiting a player is height. It doesn't matter the position. Coaches cannot teach height and it is something that is hard to overcome in a lot of situations on the basketball court. That is not to say if you are short than you can't make it at the higher levels. There are players in the NBA under 6 feet even if they are listed at a taller height. Height can be a very overrated thing if players do not have skills to go with their height. Lots of college coaches write off players because of their height and they end up haunting them by going to a rival school and dominating.

Quickness is usually the next thing. Lateral quickness is a key to perimeter defense. To be able to defend at the collegiate level players need to be very quick laterally. Teams will have a scouting report to attack a slow player off the dribble and they will do it all game. That can put others in jeopardy of picking up fouls while trying to help the slower player out. Slower players can make up for their lack of quickness by anticipating very well...being one step ahead of the action.

Next is shooting/skill set. If a player can flat out shoot the basketball then coaches will notice. Then it will come down to if the coach thinks the player will be able to get shots off in a short window to get it off. Slow releases do not work in college and that goes for any level of college. People underestimate the speed of the game at Division II and NAIA. Basketball is not a game built for slow people. The less athletic you are the more skilled you need to be. It's a simple rule.

Recruiting is a strange game. After the top 20-30 players in America for any class...the next 200-300 are very similar to each other in potential and skill level. College fans get wrapped up in so and so as the 5th best recruiting class coming in next year...they are going to be great. Well most of the time that doesn't work. Work ethic separates a lot of people after they get in school. Some are happy to be at that level. Some would rather party and hang out with girls. Some are focused and want to better themselves and want to excel. Do you know what player will lose focus after they arrive on campus? Usually not, that's why it is so tough to recruit well.

I'll write about recruiting more in the future.