As an unsigned senior who is till trying hard to get yourself an NAIA basketball offer, you can still do it! You’re driven, you’ve put years of hard work in, don’t be discouraged now just because you’re in your senior year and still don’t have anything secured. Remember, you are not alone. There are many unsigned senior basketball players who still manage to secure themselves an offer to play for a NAIA school. In this article you will find some steps and useful information to make sure you are doing everything possible, to achieve your goal of playing NAIA basketball.
GETTING READY TO CONTACT NAIA BASKETBALL COACHES
July is the end of summer AAU. As soon as your summer AAU season has finished the first thing you should do is get all your video and basketball information together. College coaches want to see your best highlights and your info clearly. Schedule some time to work on putting together all your best highlights. This can take some time, so it is advisable to set a specific day and time to focus on this and get it done. Alongside your highlights, you want to create a detailed basketball profile. Make sure your profile is clearly presented and easy to read. Here’s what to include in your basketball profile: Full name, date of birth, hometown, high school, position(s) played, height, weight, wingspan, vertical (reach/jump), GPA and stats. If you choose to include additional information that give the coaches a deeper insight into you as a basketball player, such as one rep max (squat, deadlift, bench etc.), basketball achievements etc., make sure that everything you include can be verified as a college coach may ask you to provide confirmation of this.
Presenting a professional-looking highlight video to college coaches can make a difference in your recruitment. A good first impression is lasting. Showing a coach that you have taken the time to make your highlight video and profile to a high standard, will say a lot about the type of person you are, and scores you major points. College coaches prefer videos to be no more than 5 minutes long. They also prefer players NOT to include their favorite music. Although you may think that having music will enhance your highlights, the coaches have let us know that they prefer to watch highlights without music. This is because they can focus and think about what they are seeing because the music is not distracting them. Not adding music will save you time which can be put into your recruitment strategy. Additionally, interested college coaches are pretty likely to request to see a full game video so, make sure you have your best full game on hand.
WHAT NAIA BASKETBALL COACHES WANT TO SEE IN YOUR VIDEO
When it comes to recruiting players, NAIA basketball coaches are very experienced in the process. They are professionals and know exactly what to look for in potential recruits. With this in mind, you want to focus on putting together a highlight video that any NAIA basketball coach is going to want to see.
Initially you are going to want to start with the games where you played against your best competition. This could be high-comp games from your varsity games, AAU games and/or, any nationwide high-level basketball tournaments. This is important because selecting highlights from your highest competition games demonstrates to college coaches how you match up against other talented players. Once all your highlights are together, now you can shift your attention to your profile page. This profile page is what will show at the start of your highlight video. Make sure you include your full name, position, height, weight and graduation class in your profile page.
The next step is to make yourself easily identifiable. Coaches should be able to spot you straight away at the beginning of your highlights. You can do this by circling yourself, using an arrow, or even darken everything around you on the court. It doesn’t matter how you choose to highlight yourself, just make sure that the coach can easily recognize it is you, so coaches can follow you easily. Make sure you only use quality highlights. Quality highlights are highlights where you can clearly see you on the court with nothing obstructing your highlights. Just to reiterate, do not include background music on your highlights. Sound is distracting to the college coach who is evaluating your highlight video.
The final step is to piece together all your clips to make your complete highlight video. We recommend you section your highlights into groups. This is something that is preferred by college coaches. Here are some suggestions for your grouping titles: shooting, ball handling, passing, rebounding, shot blocking, steals, taking charges. When putting your highlight video together, always put your best clips first! Depending on your primary position, you will want to make sure you include highlights from the list below.
- Ball handling plays
- Scoring ability
- Penetrate & finish at the rim
- Finishing around the rim
- Shot blocking
- Court vision
- Defensive abilities
CONTACTING NAIA BASKETBALL COACHES
Before you do anything else you should first identify which college coaches you want to contact. All your focus and energy should be directed towards contacting college coaches who are recruiting your position specifically. The best time to start this process is in August, Starting in August will allow you to maximize your recruitment time. Perseverance is key when you are contacting college coaches. As long as you have put in the work to be the best basketball player you can be, you’ve taken all the necessary steps to make your best highlight video and, you have figured out a recruitment strategy for contacting college coaches … you have positioned yourself well and covered all bases. Take this time when you are contacting college coaches to share your game schedule with them, especially with coaches who are showing an interest in you. These coaches are probably considering attending one of your games!
YOUR SENIOR BASKETBALL SEASON
You have been contacting college coaches and letting them know who you are and where you are going to be playing. Now in your senior year its all down to your performance. How you perform on the basketball court will be crucial in terms of you getting recruited to play NAIA basketball. It is of paramount importance that you go into your senior season 100% prepared and ready. This means you are going into your senior season in top shape with lazer-focus. Bring the attitude of “I’m playing every game like it’s my last” this way you will always giving your performance 100% effort.
College coaches are always watching recruits they are interested in, which means coaches are watching you when you are on the court, when you are sat on the bench and when you are off the court just walking around and interacting. They want to see what type of person you are on and off the court. They are always assessing what type of player you are, how you respond to your coaches and teammates etc. so it’s advisable to always have this in your mind. College coaches want to make sure they are recruiting a player who will fit into their basketball team and school culture.
KEEPING YOUR VIDEO UPDATED DURING YOUR SENIOR BASKETBALL SEASON
It is important that during your senior year you make sure you keep adding all your new highlights to your highlight video. You should be updating your highlight video at the mid-point of your senior season. Any NAIA coaches who have shown interest in you, you should send them your updated highlights in the middle of your season so that they can see your progress. Also, select your best full game from the first half of your season and have it on hand to be ready for the NAIA coaches who want to view it. At the end of the season, do one last update of all the highlights you’ve gained since your previous update. Once you have completely update your highlight video, again, resend to the college coaches who have shown interest. At the end of your season, have your best full game from the season available to send to NAIA coaches, if they ask for it.
TALKING TO NAIA COLLEGE COACHES
There are are few steps to take first, before you jump on a call with an NAIA basketball coach. You should be prepared for the phone call so you can make a good impression. Being prepared means you will get the most out of your phone call. The first thing to do is check out the schools academic website and their basketball team page. Read about the program and write down any questions that come to you as you read through the information. The more familiar you are with what the school has to offer, the more interactive your conversation will be with the coach. When on the phone with the coach, take notes and listen carefully to what the coach has to say. The coach will probably give you a lot of information which might be a lot to take in and process. Making notes is a good way to remember and not forget anything important. You are still getting recruited at this point so how you conduct yourself on the call will matter a great deal. You always have once chance to make a good first impression! Don’t forget this.