Beyond High School Basketball, Part IV - Your Junior Year
by Anthony Calderon, publisher
Blackboard Media Group, Inc.
It's your junior year … a year many consider to be the most critical in the recruiting process. Whether you have done your due
diligence or not, now is the time to take control and get in front of college coaches! While there are some high school coaches
willing to go to bat for their athletes, most do not have the experience, time or desire to do what it takes to get you onto a
college team. In their defense, it is a full time job! Don't place your future in the hands of someone else! It is up to you
and your parents to take the necessary steps to make sure you are prepared.
- TAKE COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS
If you have not taken the SAT / ACT, now is the time to do it. Make an appointment with your school counselor to find out when the next test date is. You can also log onto www.collegeboard.com or www.act.org to find out more about test dates and what to expect.
- NARROW YOUR CHOICES
By now, you should have your top 25 choices nailed down (don't worry if you have more, it's a little more work, but your chances increase greatly). Make sure you know everything there is to know about the school, the basketball program and location. This is your life and you don't want to leave anything to chance. When talking with coaches, let them know who you are and what you are looking for in a program. Then throw the question back at them. Ask them who they are and what kind of athlete they need. If that athlete is not you, don't be afraid to ask them about other programs that might need your talents. No one knows college basketball better than someone currently in the game. Always take advantage of every resource!
- TAKE UNOFFICIAL VISITS
If you have been in contact with coaches and/or received letters of interest, it is time to take an unofficial visit. Remember, your "Official Campus Visit" cannot occur until your senior year, but that doesn't prevent you from going on campus and taking advantage of personal touch. Letters, emails and phone calls are great, but there is no substitute for the real thing. Call the coach and let them know you will be on campus and would like to stop by and introduce yourself.
When the time actually comes, be prepared. Know yourself and what you are capable of; what you are looking for and what you can offer that program. Brush up on the school's history, the type of athletes they recruit and type of basketball they play. A college coach will be amply impressed by your knowledge and preparation.
- MAP OUT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
Although you would like to receive a scholarship, you can't bank your future on it. Sit down and talk to your parents about college money … and if there is any set aside for you. Most families do not have the means to pay straight from the pocket and since it is your future, you should be responsible for doing your part. Here are some suggestions:
- First, find out the tuition, books/fees and room/board for each school. Even though some schools cost four times as much as others, don't rule them out. You will be surprised at how much money is available if you take the time and look.
- Call the university and talk to their financial aid department. Explain your situation and ask them the type of opportunities they have available to you upon graduation.
- Talk to your high school counselor. Your counselor should have stacks of brochures on local, regional and national scholarship opportunities.
- Search the Internet. Here are some sites to start with:
PLAY LIKE YOUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT
If you have not already been sited by college scouts, this is the year to make yourself known. Take the time to concentrate on what sets you apart from everyone else. Express your talents and manage your weaknesses. Coaches aren't just looking for the best athlete, but the best athlete for their program. This means you have to not only show well on the court, but off the court as well. Maintain your grades … improve your citizenship … understand your goals and be prepared to do what it takes to achieve them. No one is going to hand you anything on a silver platter; it is your job to make them understand who you are and what you are capable of within their program!
NCAA rules stipulate that a college coach CANNOT contact you until after the completion of your junior year. Dates will vary depending on Division. Don't forget to look into NAIA and JC schools either. Both offer great educations and great basketball programs. To find out more, go to
www.naia.org or www.acct.org.
As corny as it might sound, I still have to say it. As a former club, high school and college coach, I fully believe that if you
prepare yourself and put the required time in … you will play college basketball! Believe in yourself and others will believe in you.
If you have any questions, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also order a copy of The Ultimate Sports Recruiting Guide by logging onto www.blackboardmedia.com or click the Amazon link at the top of the article.
Back to Part Three
Back to Part Two
Back to Part One
author: Anthony Calderon, publisher
Blackboard Media Group, Inc.
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