With college basketball recruiting and with all the new media outlets, basketball camps, and aau events, basketball recruiting is a little bit different now than it was 10 years ago. At the same time, many things are the same and will remain the same until the end of time. In this interview with basketball coach Erika Lambert, we get the inside scoop on how to present yourself to a coaching staff of a school you are interested in playing for. Explanations for the processes and what to do coupled with what not to do will also be broken down. See the interview below and share with us in the comments box your recruiting experiences and advice!
Basketball Video Transcription: If you’re a high school athlete and you hoping playing college, you really should find a mentor. Find someone who knows about the process because it's kind of complicated, there's a lot of rules involved, and you really need someone to guide you to that process because you're the athlete that’s trying to get it done on the court, you need someone to help you with all the technical stuff and the actual recruiting process itself.
I played AAU when I was in high school; you pretty much have to play AAU to get recruited. Coaches are looking for AAU teams more than they are for high school teams, that's just the nature of the game at this point time. And I played a couple summers with an AAU team. The advice that I would give you is to get on the team with quality players, because if you on the team with good players who are going to attract the interests of college coaches, they're going to see you too. My AAU team played at the junior national tournaments in Washington DC and also at Penn State, that's where I was discovered by my college coaches. I also had to take the initiative to market myself.
Playing AAU is a great way to put yourself out there and expose your game to coaches who are looking for a player like you, but you also have to take initiative yourself to contact them. So what I did when I was in high school, I put together a recruiting package with game film, my resume, and just a quick cover letter to let coaches know what I was interested in and looking for. When I was in high school, I didn't really know how good I was, I wasn't sure where I was going to play, so I was encouraged to send my recruiting package to my top-tier schools, sort of my dream schools, and then more realistically places that I could play and also some backup schools. So there are 3 tiers of schools that I would send my recruiting package to and hopefully get responses from.
One of the things you want to look into when you're being recruited and looking at different college programs is a depth chart. The depth chart simply means what the team look like, who's a senior, who’s freshman, what positions are already on the team, how much playing time is really there to be offered to you. As a high school athlete looking at colleges you need to know whether you're getting into a situation where the college team is rebuilding, in which case you'll get a lot of playing time, or they might be a really strong team and you might have to sit behind 5 or 6 upperclassman for a while. It's not that one's better than the other, it's just really up to whatever you want to do. When you're putting together your recruiting package to send to college coaches you want to include a full game film and a highlight film. Coaches want to see you play a full game because they want to see how you're going to react in difficult situations, they want to see what your personality is, so go ahead and send them a game that really shows who you are. That same thing goes for when you're at these AAU tournaments, you want to really portray who you are as a player, but also remember that you need to keep a level head because they're looking for that too. Coaches want to see players who can make an impact on their program but they want to see players who can have a positive impact, so make sure that you portray the best of who you are on the films that you send to these coaches.
On a technical note make sure that you write what jersey number you're wearing and the color of your jersey as well, because these college coaches are getting game film from players every day and so when they put it in they want to be able to know right away this is the kid that I'm supposed to be looking at. Don't make them spend 20 min. trying to figure out who it is they’re looking at because they'll get bored and turn it off. When you speak with college coaches on the phone it's a good idea to just keep a log, keep track of who you're talking to, what school they’re from, if you've got a lot of coaches calling you they can start to run together after a while, so it's a good idea just to write it down so that you can remember the conversations you've had. Even if you're not interested for playing for a particular college and you know you're not interested in going there you should be up front with the coach about that, it can be a really uncomfortable phone call but sometimes it's necessary and so you should really be up front what you need to understand is that it makes it easier for the college coach to know if you're not interested, don't leave them hanging because you are afraid to hurt their feelings. It makes it easier on everyone, especially on the college coach if they know you're not coming. So just make the call and tell them politely and respectfully that you just don’t want to come but that you appreciated them pursuing you.
You never know when that college coach can come back to help you again, they might know someone that you're going to cross paths with and you're not even sure so just make sure you don't burn any bridges that way. When college coaches are organizing their recruits they have tiers, they have top-tier recruits, their middle, and their bottom so if you're one of the prospects recruiting, you're either one of the top recruits or not, and it's okay to ask them where you stand on that list. Be up front where they stand on your list tell them you're in my top 5 schools I'm interested or you can go ahead and tell them I'm interested but I have these others that are more important to me right now. Ask a college coach where you stand, they'll be able to tell you and if they can tell you honestly you probably shouldn't be playing for that coach. Go ahead and ask them “where do I stand, where do I rank on your list,” and that way everything is clear. Most likely they have their recruits ranked on who they would like to have.