In high school, I was 5’11 and could not touch the rim. Also, I scored over 20 points only one time in my high school career. Despite my lack of scoring, I gratefully and luckily ended up with two Division 1 basketball scholarship offers partially because I competed and held my own in arguably the best high school league on the East Coast (Philadelphia Catholic League). Now, as a high school coach, I have heard multiple times, “I need more shots if I want to get looks from coaches!” Scoring, while important to college scouts is only part of the evaluation criteria. Let us remember, that if you are a guard, you better be able to make shots. If you are a big, you must have great footwork and the ability to use both hands while efficiently converting around the basket. However, let’s take a look at what you can do other than just scoring to get looks from college coaches. These 7 tips will help you stand out amongst the rest
1. Never Be Beat to a Loose Ball:
It’s a mentality and really has nothing to do with skill level, talent, or athleticism. It comes down to the size of your heart. It is like my dad used to tell me, “Life is like a room of hungry individuals and there is only one apple. Who is going to get it?” Be a pit bull.
2. Be a leader:
There are many ways to be a leader in the game of basketball. Some lead by example and some lead vocally. Whatever it is, make it known that you demand excellence from your team and yourself and it will be noticed. It is very obvious to college coaches who is respected the most amongst the team and it does not have to be the guy who scores the most points.
3. Defend your man:
This is not just about preventing your man from scoring. Know how to position yourself to play great help defense. Guards can really stand out by their full court on the ball pressure and taking charges to gain your team an extra possession. Bigs, work to keep the ball out of the post and block everything that comes your way. Here is the ultimate key…. Do it WITHOUT fouling.
4. Make the right basketball play:
This really means, play with intelligence. Pete Carrill said it the best, “the strong take from the weak, but the smart take from the strong.” When a man is open, get him the ball. If a guard is open ahead, pass it! When pressured and wings are overplayed, get in the lane to draw the defense. Simple yet smart basketball will separate you. Coaches appreciate players who have a really high basketball IQ, oh yeah, and a really good handle.
Talking in basketball should be considered a skill. I am not talking about trash talking. I am talking about effective ways to communicate to your teammates in order to help win each possession. For example, if a screen is coming, call it out! If guards are setting screens for each other, yell “switch!” Be vocal. You do not need to be a “rah-rah” guy to communicate effectively. But quiet or not, communication is the key to great team defense. It will absolutely be noted who is talking and who is not. If you want to stand out, talk to your teammates.
6. Move without the ball:
I believe this is the most underrated skill that our young players have yet to develop. Can you read defenses? If a player is overplaying you, are you going back door to get an easy one? If a player is trailing you, are you curling the screen? Do you know when to fade off of the screen when the defender cheats? While it is obvious that you cannot score without the ball physically in your hands, know how to get yourself open and react to the way you are being played to make it easier to score once you do. This is a simple skill that will get college coaches to start sending letters your way.
Sounds cliché. However, this is last but it is the most important. How coachable are you? If you get pulled out of a game because of a behind the back pass that sails into the stands, do you run off the court and listen to your coach and what he has to say? Remember that body language is key, and coaches can sniff out a bad attitude from a mile away. On another note, if your teammate turns it over in a crucial situation are you there to pick him up? Be a great teammate and make sure that you are the first to say, “lets get it back” and not “what are you doing?”. Remember that basketball is a team sport and that you are in it together. Lastly, are you the type of player that is happy if you have 20 points and lose and pissed off if you win but only had 6? While it is okay to be unsatisfied with a poor performance during a win, always be the player that cares about the W more than anything because it is the most important statistic there is.
This list goes on, but for now, when you are frustrated with the lack of shots coming your way, look to focus on and master these 7 tips. Stay positive, remain dedicated to the game and you will achieve your hoop dreams.