How to get a basketball scholarship

Written by m.c. postins
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There is more competition than ever for college basketball scholarships, thanks in part to the specialisation of youth sports. Many young players are playing basketball all year, which earns them attention from recruiters and can lead to scholarships. But a full-ride scholarship to a good college isn't limited to elite players.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Year-round commitment to playing basketball
  • Good grades
  • Proactive approach to contacting coaches and schools

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    How to get a basketball scholarship

  1. 1

    Play early and often. Players who want scholarships don't usually play only during the high school season. Many players who receive scholarships use summer leagues, Amateur Athletic Union leagues and other off season outlets to improve their game and earn notice from college coaches who are on the recruiting trail each summer. Players who want to play in college should work every day, in some way, to get better. And players who want scholarships should start thinking about their college plans by their sophomore year of high school.

  2. 2

    Go to summer camps. One of the best ways for players to put themselves in front of college coaches is to attend a camp at their local college. While not every young player lives down the road from the University of North Carolina, most college camps feature visiting coaches from around the country, increasing a player's exposure to coaches and recruiters. Rick Bolus, who runs "Blue Chip" camps, hosts about 1,000 campers each year, along with college coaches from around the nation.

  3. 3

    Write letters to coaches. The competition is fierce for college scholarships, so anything a potential recruit can do to stand out can help. Write letters or e-mails to coaches, send videotapes or DVDs of game action and make campus visits to make an impression with potential schools.

  4. 4

    Use a recruiting service. These services are on the internet, promising to put young players in front of college coaches and recruiters. Some are credible and are used by college coaches. Others are not. Terry Nelson, author of "Insider's Secrets: How to Promote Athletes to Colleges and Universities," says that a free websites will be a waste of time if the colleges don't use those services.

  5. 5

    Keep up with schoolwork. Colleges can't sign a player to a scholarship unless they have the grades to meet admission requirements, which are different from school to school. But most recruits must register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse, take their SAT and ACT tests and attain a certain grade-point average to gain admission and thereby be eligible to receive a scholarship.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't limit your options. NCAA Division I and II schools offer scholarships, and more than 14,000 scholarships are offered in men's and women's college basketball. NAIA schools and junior colleges also offer scholarships.
  • Pay attention to the rules. The NCAA and NAIA have very clear guidelines about contact between college coaches and recruits, though the burden is usually on the coaches in these cases. However, potential recruits should know the rules, too. Knowingly violating a NCAA rule can impact a recruit's eligibility. Any recruit who seeks out a recruiting service should research the service exhaustively before signing up. Recruits should ask the service what the service can and cannot do for them before registering.

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