D-1 FENCE SITTERS…a uphill battle🥊🎢

I was talking recruiting with a good friend of mind yesterday. She is a Division one Head Coach. The conversation was about a talented senior. She was asking all the usual questions, like is she a good kid? What have I heard about her? Does she have a good attitude? I told her to the best of my knowledge she checks all those boxes. But then she asked me a question, that I couldn’t answer. She asked me how good did I really think the young lady was? It was there that our conversation shifted directions. That’s because I honestly didn’t know. That’s because I have never trained or watched the young lady train. I have only seen her with her high school team and aau team. In both cases at no fault of her own; the competition left a lot to be desired. This led to me thinking why do some kids on the D1 fence become D1 players and others don’t.

I realized last night that right now at this moment. Only one single rising senior in Ocean County will play D1 basketball next season as of now, GABBY ROSS. I was wondering how could that be possible? When I released the early bird D1 list this spring. There were 11 D1 fence sitters in New Jersey, surely a few would cross over to D1 status. So how many have currently moved over to D1 status? EXACTLY ’”ZERO”… how can that be possible? Well it starts with a little thing called exposure, competition and development.

Trying to move from a fence sitter to a D1 player is not easy, especially during the Covid and portal era. Coaches believe they no longer need to recruit potential or take risk. Coaches are looking for the closest thing to a sure thing they can find right now. Fence sitters often come with a red flag. It may be size, a flawed skill set or a questionable work ethic; maybe even character issues. But there is always something about fence sitters that grabs and holds the attention of college coaches until they figure out what to do with them.

Many fence sitters come from weak high school competition or play lower level AAU competition.. making them hard to evaluate. It’s a double edge sword for college coaches. Do you take a kid putting up big numbers vs weak competition or not? It’s often a great chance for a coach to steal a great talent. Maybe get a player better than there level of competition. There are times coaches have passed on such kids and those kids have gone on to be stars. Then there are times coaches have rolled the dice and made big mistakes. They learn the player is not prepared for the level jump in competition. Such mistakes have caused many of coaches there gig. There is a risk vs reward factor with fence sitters. But with the portal these days ruling the spring recruiting period. It seems like less fence sitters are getting there chance to prove themselves at the next level.

Yesterday my college coaching friend asked me, this about a fence sitter ”is she signed up for NBS” . I honestly didn’t know the answer. But in my heart I knew she most likely wasn’t signed up. I know NBS is out of her comfort zone. But I wondered to myself later. Why would a kid without D1 offers skip NBS? I thought maybe the money to sign up is not there? I thought maybe the kid or her inner circle doesn’t like my style. I thought maybe she feels she won’t get a fair shake. But more than anything else it occurred to me, maybe this young lady doesn’t want to play D1. Maybe it’s everyone around her; pushing that theme on her. Making her feel she is failing if she doesn’t go D1. THERE WRONG SHE IS NOT A FAILURE… she smart enough to know what she wants. This more than any other reason, I believe is the reason, so few kids on the fence have moved to D1 this year. They simply want no part of the highly intense, pressure like atmosphere that comes with D1 basketball. There seems to me, more kids who want to have a life outside of hoops; more than at any other time that I can remember in all my years 💪🌎

I honestly believe that if a kid wants to move from the fence to a scholarship type D2 school or a high D3 school. They must be a risk taker and be willing to risk failure. That is something that many kids are afraid of these days. Call it what you want, its the reality of today’s athletic. But if a kid can find that mental strength to fight though disappointments. I believe they can move from fence sitter to making there dream come true. Here is why. A young lady is on the fence for a reason… there TALENTED. Someone sees something special about their game, otherwise coaches wouldn’t be sniffing around. The fence sitter clearly has something to offer. Now the question is how to bring it out for all to see? The answer is they must do the hardest two things in sports. Show up everyday and change. They must elevate there competitive nature and must accept there are things they must change and go do exactly that. So to all those fence sitters who have not given up. Your journey has just begun… GOOD LUCK AND WE’LL SEE YOU ON THE SIDE THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY SOON🙏👏☄️

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