As summer comes to a close, the time for high school basketball players to think more seriously about where they want to go to college is fast approaching.
Maybe some new schools have reached out to you about playing for them. Maybe you’ve learned that you will play DII or DIII instead of DI. Or maybe all you know is that you want to play college basketball.
Every year, we see PSB players and their parents dive into the process of making a college choice. It’s not easy and not a decision that should be taken lightly. After all, this will hopefully be the next four years of your life as well as your network of friends, alumni and professionals.
Below is our list of Dos and Don’ts when deciding on where to play college basketball.
#1 List your Priorities
I can’t overstate how important this is. Everyone is different and everyone might be looking for something different from their college experience.
Do you know you want to be an engineer?
Then finding a school with a good engineering program might be high on your list.
Want to play right away?
Do you want to stay close to home?
Go far away? Go to a big school?
Go to a small school?
Play for a certain type of coach?
Be surrounded by a certain kind of teammate?
This is just a small sample of what might be important for you as there are many, many variables that might affect your decision. But, it is very important to weigh your priorities and write them down.
#2 Ask for Help
For a lot of parents and players, the recruiting process is brand new to them. The number of schools, conferences, divisions, rules and levels can be overwhelming.
Also, many parents and players go into the process with a drastically skewed perception of what level they can realistically play at, schools they should be hearing from, when they should receive scholarship offers…and on and on.
It’s important to seek out advice from people that have either been through the process before or are very knowledgeable about college recruiting. Guidance can be extremely valuable!
#3 Do your Research
It’s important to keep an open mind during this process. Just because you’ve never heard of a school doesn’t mean that they’re not for you. Just because you’ve never been to that part of the country doesn’t mean you won’t like it.
Or, just because you don’t know about DIII basketball doesn’t mean that your college basketball experience can’t be extremely fulfilling.
Learn as much about the school, coach, conference, division and area as you can. Nothing beats an in-person visit, but internet research and talking with people that know more about a school than you do can be very helpful!
#1 Skip the Visit
Piggybacking off the last “Do”, visiting a school before making your final decision is a MUST! Don’t rely on your perceptions based off of TV and the internet to make your final choice.
Don’t rely solely on text messages and phone calls to decide that a coach is for you…have we learned nothing from Catfish?
Don’t make up your mind before meeting your future coach and teammates and seeing your school in person.
#2 Concern yourself with others perceptions
Do you not want to go to a small school because you’re concerned with what other people will think?
Do you not want to look at DIII schools because you believe other people will think you’re not a good player?
Do you feel pressure cause you know your parents want you to go to a specific school?
If there was ever a time in your life to put yourself first and not worry with what other people think, it’s when you’re deciding on where you want to go to college.
This will be your life for the next four years and beyond. You will be the one going to classes, hanging out in the locker room, attending parties and making friends.
Do not settle for what other people think you should do or concern yourself with other perceptions of you as a player. Find a place where you feel comfortable.
#3 Believe in False Promises
Is a coach telling you how great he thinks you are and painting this perfect picture of you as a future member of the school’s Hall of Fame?
Is he guaranteeing you playing time?
A starting position?
Going on and on about how well you will fit with everyone else he is recruiting?
Please understand, the coach that is recruiting you is not the coach that will be coaching you. Once games start, fans sit in the bleachers, alums start airing their grievances and jobs are on the line, everything you believed as a recruit will seem like a different life.
Understand that this is the way it is and prepare yourself to think critically about everything you’re told. Find coaches, staff and teammates that you trust!