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Five recruiting tips from my five years at Division 1

Updated: May 22, 2020

Rewind to 10 years ago, and I was attending Southeastern as a normal student working on my degree to become a teacher with a dream of coaching high school basketball. Like many Louisiana "basketball heads," I truly had no idea of the ins and outs of the college game. What did it take to get to that level? What is the best route to give me or my players an opportunity to even get a chance? The questions can go on and on..... All I knew was the small bubble of basketball I was in from Livingston Parish. Little did I know about how much better basketball truly is outside our state, let alone the small city I grew up in.

When you're filling out job applications for college coaching positions, one of the major check boxes that tends to come up is "experience," and with that you tend to see at least five years experience. It never really made sense to me why that was so important until I had been out of the game for over a year, and reflected back on what I'd learned literally through my day-to-day experiences. Over the length of five years, you get a grasp of the college game and only through the countless interactions and situations you encounter, you start to understand what it takes to make it at that level.

With all that being said through LGR, it's my new hope and dream to help educate as many of OUR girls about this process and share as much knowledge as I can. Our state is unique with a lot of small towns, and several of us are in that bubble of what we think is GREAT basketball, but we truly don't know how to advise our girls and give them the best opportunity to be successful to get a shot at that next level.

LGR Exposure Camp Recap

Five Years Experience & Five Tips

1) Play Club Basketball

Playing Club basketball is the single most important thing!!! Did you know we have over 400 high school girls basketball teams in the state of Louisiana? It is not possible for ANY college program to have a grasp on even a fraction of that many high school programs and check in with them on a regular basic for players etc. In addition to a large number of high schools, we as a state have a lot of poor basketball and this makes it extremely difficult to evaluate if a player can play at the next level when she's not on the floor with other potential college prospects (This is not to say several of our top half teams don't have several college prospects, and these games can be great evaluations of talent. You'll find several college coaches in attendance but these games are few and far between).

College Coach's mindset - I'm in season during the winter months just like high school teams so that alone makes it difficult to get out and evaluate high school games. During the summer months or the NCAA live periods (April, May, July) there are 18 days marked on the calendar where PSAs (potential student athletes) can be evaluated by Division 1 coaches. At these events you can watch hundreds and even thousands of PSAs during this short window. It's at these events you can get a much better evaluation on a player because she is on the court with other potential college prospects and you'll be able to more easily identify whether her game will translate to the next level. This way makes more sense than watching her score 40 points against a high school team that has 5 wins on the season.

As a player with dreams playing at the next level, you HAVE to play club ball to give yourself the best chance. You also need to do your research on the team that best fits you since your looking to play in events that get you in front of college coaches and gives you an OPPORTUNITY to showcase your skillset versus other college prospects.

2) Dream School

We all dream of playing at a specific school when we grow up playing this game of basketball, but very few end up with an opportunity to play for that school! As a coach at the college level, time is so valuable. My advice would be to treat EVERY school that spends time recruiting you as if that’s your dream school. Word travels fast if your impression says that you think you're to good for a school and you believe someone bigger than said school should be recruiting you.... Not only is it a bad look, but as the famous quote goes, "I don't know what the future holds but I know who holds the future." You have no clue where you'll be at the end of your recruitment, let alone if a coach that really likes you gets a BIGGER job at your "dream school." Just like word travels fast in this game, so do coaches! So imagine now that assistant coach who really liked you at the lower school just got a new job at the big time school but you crushed that relationship prior to this by having the mindset that you're "too good." That's just one simple example to go along with countless more, like injuries, assuming something better will come along, grade trouble, etc. Moral of the story is to treat everyone that takes time recruiting you with as much respect as you possibly can. Time is one of the most important things for a college coach and for you... don't waste each other's time!

3) Levels - Are You Getting Recruited?

There are major differences between the levels of recruitment. As the NCAA rules are ever changing, you should also do some research on your own regarding the below topics.

Freshmen/Sophomore = Letter, questionnaire, camp information, etc.

*You may contact a D1 coach & speak to them, but they can't reach out to you at this time.

September 1st of Junior year = Direct contact is allowed from D1 coaches, as they can text and call you directly. Official visit can begin, although most are taken during your senior year.

So now that we have covered the guidelines per NCAA rules, how do you understand the different levels of recruitment? Again, this is just from my own experience, and there are may be many different factors that go into recruitment at other institutions.

Letters Level 1 - Early in your high school years as a freshmen/sophomore or even sometimes junior year, you may receive a questionnaire or camp information from a school. In my experience and my opinion, this has very little, if anything, to do with your recruitment. I never personally sent out a questionnaire to a PSA. This is normally done by a graduate assistant coach or just someone who is working in the women's basketball office. It could come from a college coach circling your name in a college book because they liked you and thought you had potential, or it could be the other end of the spectrum and they sent a questionnaire to every player on your team or even every player at that tournament. If the letter has come with some communication