It is a tough time to be a high school senior in the age of Covid. The end of last season was cancelled, you didn’t get to play spring or summer AAU games in front of college coaches during live periods, and you are unsure if you are going to have a season this school year. It is a bad situation, but what can one do. First is to recognize that life will have challenges from the day you are born to the day you die. Through adversity is when growth occurs. One can view this as a problem or a challenge. The latter is the better mindset to have.
If you haven’t heard from coaches that is because they might not know about you. It is in your best interest to make a recruiting website that has all of your vital information on it and send it out to the right fitting schools. Highlight video, full game footage, transcripts, test scores, contact info, and social media are the basics a coach will want to see. Ideally your high school or AAU coach can help reach out to coaches in their network. You have to be proactive in these times. If these options don’t work, the best insurance plan can be a post grad year at a prep school.
Since people at all levels of the basketball world are unsure how the next two years are going materialize, a post grad year is a great option for the right high school senior. This will buy a player an extra spring and summer AAU season, as well as another full school year that will not count against NCAA eligibility. During this extra year a player will mature both physically and mentally. You can read about all of the benefits of a prep school year here.
A majority of Division 1 college coaches are going to be looking at the transfer market. Getting a college player who already has experience at this level and is proven is a much safer bet than taking a player right out of high school. The top 300 high school players in the US are still good enough to be recruited by colleges right away but what about the rest of the talented kids in the country? If college seniors are allowed an additional year of eligibility that means approximately 1000 players won’t be leaving school, which means 1000 less roster spots for incoming players. This is basic economics: supply and demand. If there are less spots available, then there will be more demand for them.
So, what can a player in the class of 2021 do? If you check the boxes of good player, high academics, finances, high character, or some combination of each you might be what a prep school coach is looking for. You have the same challenge here as well, as the legit, brick and mortar prep schools only have so many spots as well. They also know that they will be contacted by more potential students this year than ever before. The common denominator is that coaches want kids with character. Because when this prep coach is calling college programs this will be the first question that college coach asks. Also, the player will need to have academics, talent, finances or once again a combination of the three. Prep school coaches are not going to take kids that are going to be hard to place in this new landscape.
If you were dead set on playing Division 1 and you were a tweener it might be a good time to start thinking about the right fitting Division 3 program. Some legit prep schools have discussed expanding their rosters from 12 to 18-24. It is up to a player to find out how all of these players will get placed. If there is anyone who is prepared for this it is a prep school coach. These are some of the most connected coaches in the country at all levels. A college coach will take their call over a random coach or player. The old saying, “It’s not about what you know but who you know” is an important phrase to remember regarding the basketball world.
There will be more pop up basketball academies forming too. Their roster sizes could increase to meet the demand. As always, do your due diligence to ensure you are going to a safe place that has your best interest at hand.
Fran Fraschilla said the following on twitter: “The No.1 job description of a college basketball coach is now “roster management supervisor.” Why recruit a high school kid who needs two years to develop when you can get Paul Atkinson (Ivy League Co-Player of the Year) for one? The new transfer rules will have unintended consequences.”
This will be an evolving discussion and no one is quite sure on the right path to take. All a player can do is improve on the court and in the classroom on a daily basis. And find a coach to advocate on your behalf.