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Enhancing your chances for a scholarship offer in the late signing period

by Kevin Eastman, President of Kevin Eastman Basketball Camps, LLC

By now players have signed a scholarship or they have not. Congratulations go out to all those who have been fortunate to land a place on next years college rosters. For those who were less fortunate there is still time, hope, and possibility for you. Now is not the time to panic, feel sorry for yourself, or give up on your goal of signing a college scholarship. There are still colleges out there who are looking for players to fill their remaining scholarships.

Before I get into how to put yourself in the best possible position to be noticed and evaluated it is important to understand what is going on in the minds of college coaches in this late recruiting period. The first and most important point to bring up is that you must understand that scholarships are earned not just handed out. Colleges have two less scholarships to offer under today's rules then they did 10 years ago, so they will be much more selective (and at times not even give a scholarship out if they are unsure of a player and save it for the following year). Secondly, the late signing period coincides with their playing season thus making it more difficult for them to get out and see players. They have to be sure they are going out for good reason. Couple these two together and it makes for an often time long, drawn out process that you just have to live with.

The biggest thing you can do as a player is to make sure you worry about what you can do to help yourself, because you can control what you concentrate on. You cannot get wrapped up in what someone else is doing or saying. Place your total focus on what you can do to help you! The following is a list of things that you can do to put yourself in the best light possible as you go through your final season:

  1. DO WHAT YOU DO BEST ON THE FLOOR: too often players try to impress college coaches by attempting to do things they just aren't very good at; figure out what has made you a player they are coming to see and do those things in the game; if you are not a great shooter, show you can drive it; show you can rebound; show you can defend; the biggest mistake is to show them things you can't do.
  2. HELP YOUR TEAM WIN AND ADVANCE IN THE PLAYOFFS: logic states that the deeper you go into post season play the more opportunity you have to get exposure; keep in mind that I am not saying that if you don't go you won't get seen; the best way to help your team win is to do what you do best to contribute to the wins.
  3. STAY OUT OF TROUBLE: the quickest way to not get a scholarship is to show you have baggage; coaches today don't want to deal with bad attitudes, selfish players, facial expression guys, guys who hang with the wrong crowds…….you get the message: understand that college coaches are working very hard to find out more about you then you would ever imagine; they will talk to teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, people in town and anyone else that can give them an idea of what you are all about.
  4. KEEP YOUR GRADES UP: better yet, improve on your grades as that will send a message to college coaches that you are serious about this; understand that coaches are looking for guys who understand the importance of their education; don't let your grades stand in the way of that scholarship offer, because one lower grade could make the difference; and you can control how much effort you put into your studying; also keep in mind the better your grades the greater the number of schools who can look at you.
  5. TAKE SAT TEST AGAIN: this depends on your score, but the higher your score the greater the number of schools you may have looking at you; it makes sense to put yourself in a position to have the largest pool of colleges as possible look at you.
  6. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR FAVORITES: especially if the school is only luke-warm on you; write a personal note on how much you want to go to that school and play for that coach; express the "whys" and not just the "wants"; make the coach feel the passion you feel toward them and their program.
  7. PREPARE A STATISTICAL INFORMATION SHEET: if you can show on paper how much you have improved over the years this could help.
  8. PREPARE A TAPE: this should be a combination of 3-4 minutes of highlights on you and at least two full halves of play from a game; some coaches like to watch highlights and others like to see you in a continuous game action; so make sure to include both.
  9. SEND A SCHEDULE OF YOUR GAMES: make sure to highlight games that are the tougher ones on your schedule and the games that are against the tougher individuals you play against that season; coaches are more apt to go to games where they can see more then one player.
  10. FIGURE OUT WHO KNOWS WHO (NETWORKING): always keep your ears open to who may know college coaches and can make a contact for you; keep in mind though that you play for your coach and no coach wants to be undermined by people outside the program; keep your coach informed; your coach should know some college coaches; other people you may want to check on are your assistant coaches, friends of your parents,etc.

These ten points should give you a start on the process of attaining a scholarship. Some of these points will work better for some then others. Make sure you use the ones that fit you the best. Also, critical to this entire process, is for you, your coach, and your parents to sit down and come up with an honest appraisal of your game. The worst thing you can do is believe you are one level and find out in reality you are not as good as you think. I have seen this hurt players time and time again. One of the most important exercises you can do in life is to evaluate yourself, but it is only beneficial to you if you are honest!

Lastly, do not get hung up on levels. All players aren't major college players. Find your best level and be the best you can be at that level. What matters most is the enjoyment you get from it not what level you play. I have seen many miserable Division I players and I hate to see that.
On the other hand I have seen many very happy Division II and III players and I love to see that!

Apply for financial aid as you make your way through college.

If ever I can help please feel free to e-mail me at kevin@kebccamps.com. Good luck!!!

Our thanks to Human Kinetics for sending us some excellent coaching books. You can't beat the discounted price, less than $20 including shipping.

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Excellent video with thoughts and drills on organizing your practices. Learn from one of the greatest coaches of the game, Coach "K".
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"My son's high school coach gave him a copy of the book and he read it in two days. Now he is leading the effort to get himself a scholarship. The book is inspiring and effective for high school athletes."
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