With so many talented players available each year, how does a coach choose which players to recruit and are you putting yourself in position to be recruited? Can the team you choose and their philosophy or style of play hurt your recruiting? Is winning at all cost worth the price if it costs your players scholarship opportunities?
Choosing the right AAU/Club team to play for next summer may be one of the biggest decisions of you're career if your a high school player. Do you go back to your team that you've played AAU with since 10U? Do you jump out on the EYBL circuit? Do you find a team that wins? Or, should you jump on that new team that is forming? One thing is for certain, whomever you play for you need to be on the floor. When I was a club coach my priority was to get players evaluated to get scholarships, even if it costed me a win. During showcase tournaments, I would set aside times and possessions during the game to showcase individual players. If the player was a great shooter I would set several possessions for her teammates to get her the ball to launch it. I may even take an entire quarter to isolate players to excel in their strengths. Of course there were some games where my star player would defer to her teammates, but each player at some point would get a chance to perform. Most of the individual play took place after halftime, but I can recall a game during an evaluation having one player that needed an offer and meeting before the game telling the team "lets get her paid this game", her teammates got her the ball inside and she delivered in front of about 60 coaches looking to see her opponent, she ended the tournament with multiple offers.
Many players are thinking about where they will play next season and many program directors are already plotting who they are going after. Make sure to avoid some of the biggest club season blunders:
1. Staying with a team out of loyalty.
If the team is not fitting your needs and the looks that you're expecting aren't coming, it may be time to re-examine your situation. Changing teams is not an easy thing to do, especially when you've been a part of the program for years. Have an open conversation with the coach and share your thoughts, you are the parent and responsible for your kid, sometimes responsibility comes in the form of communicating and not burning bridges leaving somewhere in bitterness.
2. Jumping on EYBL.
This could be tricky as EYBL has grown into a "win now league". It is quite possible that you can get on an EYBL team and sit the bench in pretty much every meaningful event. Will that hurt your recruiting? You bet it will, but coaches realize that if you were good enough to make an EYBL roster, then it's reasonable to expect that you're good enough to play division 1 basketball. Although every EYBL player "usually" finds a school to play for, sitting on the bench on any team won't get that dream school for you. Do the numbers crunch, if you don't see yourself in the top eight rotation then EYBL may not be for you.
3. Playing on system teams.
Pass screen away, pass screen away, pass, pass screen away, pass screen away, pass screen away, pass, backdoor layup, get back and set up the zone. The ball never touches the ground and it's a thing of beauty, exactly how Mr. Naismith and our forefathers intended the game to be played. This, however, becomes a recruiting nightmare as many college coaches have said that they have issues evaluating teams like this. If all I see are passes, screens, layups and zone defenses, how can I tell if you can play basketball or not? Sure you win games earn medals but at some point a coach needs to know can you guard the perimeter or score without a screen.
4. Jumping mid stream.
If you are sure that the team you've chosen is not for you, it is best to bounce sooner than later. Leaving late brings bad blood between coaches and their ex-player. It also isn't fair to the team that you're leaving or the new team that you're going to as everyone has to adjust. What's worse is that your profile will most certainly have your old coaches contact information in it and when coaches dial the wrong number inquiring about you, that call may not be pleasant from those coaches with a vindictive nature.
See you on the road