When I coached at Gonzaga College High School, we had an up and comer of a coach in the program.  Austin Kelley was a glue guy who showed passion for our players and the game.  If you needed something done, Austin was your guy.  He has since moved onto the Hoop Group where he is the camp director for their Elite Camps.  Austin evaluates hundreds of players during a camp.  Austin was kind enough to share the five traits he looks for when assessing a player’s talent:

  1. Size at their position
    • This is the eye test for a lot of players. If a coach walks into the gym not knowing anything about a single player in the gym they will be able to assess the size at their position immediately. This goes into a player knowing their position as well. For example, if the biggest kid in the gym is playing a game and wants to hang out on the 3 point line the entire game and is ineffective in doing so it is not going to help his argument that he has good size.
  2. Athleticism
    • Being the best athlete on both ends of the floor can help players stand out by showing their ability to to change a game without the ball in their hands. Great high school athletes often have high ceilings or a lot of potential which everyone hopes they will reach at the next level.
  3. Skills
    • The biggest difference between Division 1, 2, and 3 basketball mostly are the skills a player possesses. For example, if a player is a lights out shooter but struggles to put the ball on the deck or play solid defense maybe only 3 Division 1 schools, 5 Division 2 schools, and 10 Division 3 schools would recruit a player of their skill set. If the same player added a high level ball handling skill set to his game then maybe 10 Division 1 school, 20 Division 2 school, and 40 Division 3 schools would be interested in recruiting them.
  4. Motor
    • How hard a kid plays is a great indicator of how much a player cares about his game and his teammates. When a player has a high motor it shows that they want to be in the game with their teammates and that they are engaged in the game wanting nothing more than to win. Someone who works hard is going to get better moving forward.
  5. IQ and Emotions
    • Getting players to play a certain way is the the job of a Coach. If a player shows any kind of a basketball IQ it shows that the player has been coached and listened to the coach. Having emotions that are in check show that you can handle stressful situations in a way that won’t hurt your team. You also don’t want to be a robot and not show any emotion.   Having passion is a great thing as long as it is kept in check.
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