There is nothing more shocking to be me than kids lack of preparation these days . In most cases it’s do to a lack of knowledge. So today I am going to drop a little knowledge. I am going to educate you about the recruiting process and how it has changed. I am going to tell you how to prepare for the season. I am going to tell you want to look for in a AAU team. So let’s get started.
The recruiting landscape has completely changed AGAIN. That is the first thing you must understand. The recruiting days have been shorten from 165 days to 65. The JULY recruiting has been reduced to 8 days or two long weekends. All this means, if you are not a brand name recruit, you are going to have to work to be seen. So here are some things you better understand. First know that there are a small handful of people who understand the recruiting process and how to help you build name recognition. Most are full of crap in there understanding of the process.
- Understand the window for high school players in NJ is December to February. That’s because after February coaches will be fully engaged in trying to land a player from the first wave of the transfer portal and will have little interest in high school players in most cases.
- You must be prepared fully as a player in the month of December. The first few weeks of the season will be your best opportunity to gain the attention of college coaches
- Taking unofficial visits(regardless if they are recruiting you or not yet) and building “REAL” relationships with coaches is huge this time of year. The goal is to get them to WANT TO WATCH YOU PLAY. Overwhelm them with your interest. Understand once the coaches season starts, they want to focus on there teams and there prime recruits.
- Have you advocate call coaches. Now you must understand. Your advocate must have weight. Just having your trainer or AAU coach call is nice. But if they don’t have real juice, they will not move the needle ...THIS IS A FACT!
- You must have weekly contact with a number of coaches…Personal letters and notes(not email)go purchase personal stationary with a scent if possible…DM on twitter….phone calls and text to coaches personal cell. Build relationships with every coach on the staff. As the season moves on they will know what needs their program needs to fill from a recruiting stand point. Be in there mind and heart when they make those decisions.
All these things will help you get started. But you better understand. Unless you are in high demand. You name recognition and recruiting status come the spring and summer are being established right now... DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU DIFFERENT.
Now you must understand, this preparation should have started weeks ago. I have not in all my years seen so many kids that have not developed or gone so far backwards. How backwards you ask? My early bird D1 list in the past has been 99% correct. GO BACK AND LOOK AT PERVIOUS EARLY BIRD LIST. Just type in Early Brid in the search bar. I will tell you based on what I have watched this fall. My track record is about to take a major hit. My cheat sheet coming out in two weeks (college coaches only) is going to see many players ratings drop. In fact some D1 players have dropped totally out of their D1 projection, I do not believe that has ever happened in 20 years. Why you ask? I realize Covid 19 and mental health has played a major role. But so has some kids preparation.
Here are some reasons why
- Kids are simply drilling to much. They are drilled out.
- Kids are training in a controlled environments and in some cases with only their teammates. They call it team bonding. But the proof is in performance and development and it is not showing.
- Kids are not in the gym consistently.
- Mental health
Now how can kids get prepared for the start of the season😉
- Play as much competive basketball as possible. 5 on 5 rules the day now.
- Stop doing hours of drills… skill work is valuable but 7 days a week without competition is a mistake. Your one on one and 5 on 5 competitive play must rule the day. Please don’t say your fall league games are your competive work…because if you do, you are totally lost.
- The weight room is great but not at the expense of your gym time. You may be bigger and stronger. But if you can’t make a shot. You’ll find yourself struggling. Work your lifting around your court time. Not the other way around. This is the hardest thing for parents and kids to understand. Especially once someone they respect tells them their kid must get stronger
- SHOOT EVERYDAY…it always comes down to buckets. If you can’t score your not playing and definitely not getting recruited
- Make sure you conditioning is elite not good. Please remember nobody will discuss your conditioning and weight…THEY DO IT BEHIND YOUR BACK.
- Watch video, it will give you a developmental advantage over others. Most players in fact 95% do not watch video in the pre season. They talk about it but few follow though…TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR LACK OF WORK ETHIC TO GAIN A EDGE
Now, how you prepare is everything. Again you must be willng to listen. Please remember it always comes down to buckets and performance. You trainer can talk all they want about how good you are and how your developing but THE VIDEO DON’T LIE. 🎥
Let me srart with this. If your a freshman, regardless of what your AAU coach tells you about exposure, unless you play for say the Philly Rise or Shoreshots for example. Nobody cares or are going to your games. If your a big time freshman recruit like a Addy Nymcheck for example, college coaches have already given them mutiple D1 offers. So if your a freshman the recruiting period is for the experience and a chance to get better. This is really about the rising 2024’s-2025s. There AAU decisions are a big deal now. The fact of the matter is a bad decision now cannot be cleaned up as easily like it has been in the past and why being a good student is more important than ever. OPPORTUNITIES TO BE SEEN are not what it has been in the past. For this reason picking a AAU team is not easy these days. But I am going help you right now. Let me start with this, you have to know what level of player you hope to be. Now people don’t want to hear this but if you do not want to play D1. I say go play on a aau team that brings you the most happiness. But if you are looking to play D1. Understand it’s stressful and you have little wiggle room. Anyone telling you different is lying to you. So here are some facts when picking a AAU team, if D1 is the goal. If your not at a high visibility high school program you better listen to every word.
- Your AAU team must have multiple D1 players who are currently being recruited to suck in coaches. Now understand you can let your AAU coaches bullshit you; if that’s want you need. But if you don’t have confirmed D1 players on your team. THE COACHES ARE NOT COMING
- Your team must be in the right events and play LEGIT competition. The days of teams playing In Bracket H and a few D1 coaches popping in for a peak in hopes of finding a unknow player are OVER.
- The shoe company circuits and those independent circuits that have joined forces together will suck up almost all the D1 coaches attention. So if your not on a brand name non shoe company team, good luck. You are wishing on a star and nobody is showing up to your games.
- Your AAU team better have a savvy social media platform. That not just puts up fancy hype videos. There social media better have real impact. It must drive coaches to games and build your name recognition at the same time.
- Your aau coach better have real impact with coaches. Coaches talk to everyone. But there are some relationships they lean in on and know they must cultivate LONG TERM.
Choosing your AAU team is serious business. If you are a current rising junior without a offer don’t panic. Simply build your name recognition and status. When it comes to the summer be very clear with your AAU coach, you want to play high level competition, no exceptions and do not bend or be flexible in regards to this. Next attend the events with the most coaches. Here is a dirty little secret, many AAU coaches will attend events to hopefully to be invited to join a brand league or circuit at some point, at your your kids expense. The more coaches at a event, the better chance a coach will walk down and see YOU…not your team but YOU play. If you have built your name recognition over the months prior to the live period. Not everyone can play on a visible AAU team. But you can create a narrative for yourself. But it takes months to do so, not a few weeks, a few texts, tweets or emails….it’s a long term process and trust me: one you better master….BECAUSE IT’S NOT GOING TO BE A WALK IN THE PARK
Now clearly I can’t write about every situation. This is just a general road map for you. But if you really want the best advice you can get. Pick up the phone and call your local college coach. Now I realize many are afraid to do this. But I am here to tell you. If your not educated about all three of these topics your in trouble. And kids you better understand parents always..always, think they understand the recruiting process, especially if they had a kid go though the process a few years ago….listen to people with a proven track record and it will give you, your best chance to be successful