The recruiting process overwhelms and confuses so many young people and their parents and their coaches, so I hope some of these thoughts will be helpful.
Here are the 3 keys to getting recruited:
For some reason, it seems as if most prospects and their parents and their coaches operate under the completely incorrect assumption that college coaches show up to the big events in April and July having done no homework whatsoever beforehand regarding which kids they intend to see. Nothing could be further from the truth. College coaches DO NOT stagger around aimlessly gym to gym hoping to find some kids they like. On the contrary, they do months of research ahead of time to determine precisely which gym, which kid, and what time- their entire schedule from 8 AM to 10 PM is mapped out prior to the big tournaments getting started, which pretty much means that if you’re not on their list of kids to see, you won’t get seen. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s not that hard to get on college coaches’ lists of kids to see IF you are PROACTIVE (D3, D2, NAIA, and small D1- it’s substantially harder to get on mid plus and high major lists of kids to see). Simply put, send off hundreds of emails to coaches at schools that interest you BEFORE the big events get underway with a link to some video clips, your transcript, your test scores, and your schedule and invite them to come see you play (this is also a good strategy before your high school season gets started, although it’s much harder to get seen during the high school season due to college coaches also being in season and the convenience and practicality the big “AAU” tournaments provide).
Recruiting mirrors life, in that you must persevere through disappointments and keep pressing forward. It’s a fact that the vast majority of college coaches will not reply to your initial email. It’s a mistake to assume that no reply means no interest- more often than not, no reply means they didn’t take the time to watch the clips due to professional irresponsibility and laziness. So, wait a week, then email the coaches again who didn’t reply. Then, email them again in another week. Eventually, you can shame even the really sorry ones into doing their jobs and you will actually receive a reply. Recruiting is so much like finding a job- if you’re a 7 footer with skill or if you graduate from Harvard law school at the top of your class, they will come to you. For the rest of us, we need to market ourselves to them, and keep on keeping on until we find someone who is willing to give us a chance.
You can be proactive and persistent, but if you’re a decent role player on your high school team and you’re only proactively and persistently emailing the likes of Duke and Kentucky, it’s not going to work out for you. My advice, if you have no recruiting interest whatsoever, begin with D3 and work your way up from there (ie, if D3 coaches seem very excited, go ahead and email D2 coaches, and so on).