Last weekend was the annual National Prep School Invitational in Providence Rhode Island. This was my second year attending. These four days are an excellent opportunity to watch the players I have placed in prep schools, see all the participating teams in action, and connect with college and prep school coaches. Here are my top five observations from this weekend:
- College coaches are watching every detail.
Most players believe that if they score a lot of point then college coaches will want them. This is a misconception. While scoring is valued, coaches are also looking closely at other factors. Can you guard? What is your body language when something doesn’t go your way? What kind of teammate are you? Are you a leader? Do you block out, take charges, dive on the floor? Do you have heart? How are you academically? These questions are evaluated and discussed among college coaching staffs before they offer a scholarship.
- Most Europeans could use a year of US prep school basketball to prepare them for the rigors of Division 1.
While there is a lot of talent overseas, a different style of basketball is played there. It is a formidable style focused on fundamentals, but one that doesn’t always translate to the US system. The speed, ruggedness, and athleticism of the US system takes some getting used to. A year of prep school ball would only help most international players in their transition. (This obviously doesn’t apply to players such as Lauri Markkanen, Kristaps Porzingis, etc)
- College coaches are always looking for players.
Their main resource for finding talent is through trusted contacts. Whether that be a scouting service, AAU coach, friend, etc. Playing at a prep school you have a better chance being seen by a college due to all the connections these prep school coaches have. While a college program might be looking for a point guard, big, or scorer, they are always keeping their eye out in case their program’s situation changes. Another term I hear college coaches use is “best available player.” With players transferring, failing out, and leaving early for the league, coaches need to constantly update their board filled with potential prospects.
- Just because you pay full price for a prep school year does not guarantee that you will get a college scholarship.
Benches were occupied this weekend with players who never got on the court. Playing is a privilege and not a right. Each coach will have their own philosophy on who gets playing time. Before a player commits to any prep school they need to ask the coach hard questions to include their chance of playing. Talk to former and current players, as well as their parents to get a better idea of what to expect. While it may be more ‘glamorous’ to play at a talent rich prep school with a storied basketball history, it might be better to attend a smaller school that is a better athletic fit. I saw a lot of disgruntled players, but what did they expect when they applied to these talent filled schools?
- The refereeing will be bad.
This is the case almost everywhere. Ask any coach at any level. You will never get all of the calls. Some will be good, some will be bad. Assume they will all be bad and get over it. Let your coach work the refs. A player needs to just move onto the next play. Easier said than done. But not once all weekend did a player change a ref’s mind after complaining. If anything these refs, who happen to be humans, could hold a grudge against you