Each year, there is an event. A happening, as it were. Thousands of students in high-school compete against each other for a small number of basketball scholarships. Colleges want the best of the best, after all. So, how can you get a basketball scholarship? Here are a few tips.
The application process is long and tedious. Your best bet is to start early and get ahead.
As it turns out, less than 1% of applicants will get to play for the NCAA. Some prospective players start enacting their plans as early as the 9th grade. You have to be proactive in chasing the scholarship. Show coaches what you can do. Just playing without reaching out to colleges will not get you noticed.
To begin with, you should determine where you belong, as in, what level we are talking about here. Talk to your (college) coach or, better yet, go to basketball camps and see what scouts think of you. This is just to give you a baseline – there is so much work ahead. And when I say camps, I don’t mean just any old camps. Work hard to get invited to one of the elite ones.
Once you get the scholarship, you do not have it made. At least, not yet. A scholarship is a token of trust towards your abilities. You should strive for the best schools you can get, but also check out some others as a backup. You should know what attending a certain school means, what its values are, and what’s expected of the students. See what college is the best for you.
Despite what you see in movies and TV series, dumb jocks don’t get to the top on scholarships without the grades to back it up. You cannot focus all your efforts on basketball and hope that that’s enough. A wunderkind or two might get lucky and that’s a big might. You need to make sure your grades are stellar and it doesn’t hurt to have an extracurricular activity or two.
This one sounds cheesy, but you need to put together a good video of yourself. It is like the best of, well, you. A short film of how you play is essential to let the coaches and scouts what your playstyle is like. There is no optimal length of the clip, but you should aim for somewhere between 3 and 7 minutes. This is meant to show your skills, which is why you should show yourself scoring, passing, moving without the ball, defending, running, and so on. No complicated editing! You are not making a music video or a commercial. A raw clip of yourself is enough.
The NCAA has several divisions you can play and get a scholarship for. Division 1, obviously, is top tier. If you can’t make it there, there are NAIA scholarships. JUCO is where things get complicated. You can get financial coverage for books and tuition, but the housing situation depends on how good you are.
There is also playing basketball without scholarships, but the players in question rarely see any real action. On the other hand, there are programs you can apply for that provide financial aid for college students that don’t rely on basketball.
Consider joining the AAU. The Amateur Athletic Union is among the largest non-profit sports organizations in the world. The AAU has many pros and cons, but it is one of the ways to get a foot in the door. There are no guarantees, but it is one of the steps worth considering.