Recruiting Tips & Timeline

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Finding a basketball scholarship can be a difficult process, but we at Five-Star know exactly which steps need to be taken to give you the best shot during the complicated basketball recruiting process.

When does the basketball recruiting process start?

The recruiting process starts much earlier than you might think as some freshman in high school will receive scholarship offers.

Recruiting starts once a student-athlete enters high school and in some extreme cases, even before that. NCAA Division I and some high-level NCAA DII schools will begin recruiting student-athletes during their freshman year of high school. NCAA Division I programs will also make verbal offers starting freshman year. It’s important to understand the recruiting timeline for each division level and the overall landscape of college basketball to have a successful and efficient recruiting process.

How do I get discovered?

College Coaches find prospective recruits through successful high schools, AAU and third-party recruiting services such as NCSA.

The first and most important aspect to being recruited is to make sure you are a complete student-athlete. You’ll be discovered by being an excellent student and an athlete with an elite skillset. After those two characteristics are established, playing AAU through the spring and summer, sending your game film to college coaches and being a part of trusted recruiting services will be extremely helpful.

How do coaches evaluate prospects?

Make sure you have film on yourself during competitive gameplay and make sure to be proactive in marketing yourself.

Having a highlight tape and full game film will be key in your recruiting process. The first thing a college coach will want to see from you is your transcript and film. This is to make sure that they can evaluate if you are a good student for the school and a player who can help the basketball team win games. Secondly, they will be evaluating if you are a good teammate, if you are coachable and if you care enough about the game to play at the next level. Always be a positive influence on your teammates, listen to coaches and always put in the work and effort that shows you truly want to play college basketball.

Where am I qualified to play?

The chances of playing college basketball after high school are around 4% for men and women.

Furthermore, the percentage of high school student-athletes receiving a scholarship to play NCAA Division I basketball is less than 1%. This means as a student-athlete going through the recruiting process, it is essential that you look at all options. It can be advantageous to have organizations like NCSA, with former college players and coaches, to will evaluate your film and academics to match you with the best schools that will help you succeed.

What is my coach’s role?

Your coach’s ultimate responsibility is to develop your skills on the high school basketball court, but will not be in charge of getting you recruited.

Your basketball talent and academics will be the biggest factors in the recruiting process, but it doesn’t hurt to have your AAU or High School coach as an advocate for you. Having said that, it doesn’t always happen and it’s difficult to rely on. Ultimately, it’s not your coach’s job to get you recruited to play college basketball. NCSA recruiting coaches are responsible for guiding you through the recruiting process and giving you the guidance that you need to play at the next level.

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“I would encourage all prospects to reach out to multiple coaches. Having as many coaches interested in you as possible will increase your chances of being recruited as well as increase your scholarship opportunities.”


Your Recruiting Timeline

Scoring big with the basketball programs starts with knowing your options. There are a large number of programs ready to give you a big opportunity. The recruiting process in basketball is fast paced. It’s critical to build the relationship with coaches right away, master your skills and do well in school. Below is your basketball recruiting timeline, broken down by year.

  • It is essential to set high academic goals and not fall behind during your first semester of freshman year.
  • Begin setting athletic goals for yourself, ideally to make the varsity team and getting better as a player each and every day.
  • Start doing some general college research. It is best to start locally and close to home since those will be the college coaches most likely to recruit you.
  • Get film from your high school season if possible.
  • Join an AAU team for the spring and summer.
  • Attend individual and team college camps during the summer.
  • Continue to maintain a high GPA and take the PSAT if possible.
  • Make sure to have a game plan in place to film your games, especially if you are on the varsity team.
  • Fill out recruiting questionnaires for schools you are interested in. These are readily available on schools’ athletic websites for prospective student-athletes. Be sure to take advantage of all information to learn more about the program.
  • Once you have film, send that to the basketball coaches at the school. Make sure to write them a letter and/or email to confirm the receipt of your video and questionnaire.
  • Take unofficial visits to colleges in your area or in other areas you have an interest in. You can take an unlimited amount of unofficial visits.
  • Continue with an AAU team into the spring and summer, as well as attend any college elite or skills camp.
  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • If you start to receive letters and emails from colleges, you NEED to respond and fill out the proper information they are looking for. This will ensure that the door of opportunity stays open at that school.
  • Keep filming your summer games and varsity games. Make sure to also have a full game available since college coaches will want to see this at some point if they haven’t seen you in person.
  • Send your varsity high school schedule to coaches in your area. Being evaluated in person is an essential part of the recruiting process.
  • Continue sending your film to colleges, along with a copy of your transcript.
  • Prepare to take the SAT and/or ACT by the end of Junior Year.
  • Take unofficial visits.
  • Send your AAU schedule to coaches that you have been in contact with or would like to get in contact with.
  • A student-athlete, if invited, will typically start to take official visits during the fall of senior year. You can take 5 to a DI school and an unlimited amount (1 per school) at other levels. However, every NCAA DII visit will count against the 5 NCAA DI visits you can take.
  • Start to apply to schools that you have an interest in and where you have been in contact with the basketball coaches.
  • Start to narrow down your list to 5-10 schools of interest.
  • Invite college coaches to your pre-season workouts and open gyms. Also, make sure that they have a copy of your senior year varsity schedule.
  • Fill out and submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in January of your senior year and send that to the schools you have applied to.
  • Update coaches with senior year film.
  • NCAA D2, NAIA and Junior Colleges can have workouts and tryouts during a visit your senior year. The most common time for this to happen will be after basketball season, so it will be important to schedule those if you have not committed by March.
  • Commit to a school.