The first thing to do when recruiting players is to analyze talent. And the first character we look for is quickness. This has been the most significant factor not only in basketball, but also in about 80 percent of every competitive sport.
Additionally, of course, size is quite important. There is a saying amidst basketball recruiters that when you are going to make a mistake, score a big one: when in doubt, go for size.
Another central factor—one which the young athlete may neglect—is attitude. This has become greatly important. With the ever increasing number of recruits available, the top ratings for athletic ability do even out. What to look for then is the intangible which is will differentiate the very good athlete from the great athlete: the willingness to accept the coaching and to spend overtime in practice, plus the ability to make the extra effort that distinguishes winners from losers.
A few young athletes try to emulate the personal mannerisms of the professionals. This can certainly hurt their odds of pulling in recruiter interest. There are children in the sixth and seventh grades who unknowingly make fools of themselves trying to appear like the highly-paid professional “star” they have seen on TV. They constantly throw the ball down when called for a foul, risking a technical. When they are replaced in the line-up they seem to feel they must throw a towel or kick a chair.
While playing man-to-man defense, it’s expected of the player leaving the game to signal the player who’s getting in which man he’s guarding. But there are kids who say, “go find him yourself.” Or they might walk to the far end of the court in the hopes that their substitutes will surrender and not pursue them.
Being moody is not a professional trait. No professional should risk a foul except in extraordinary cases. And he’s definitely not going to hold his job for long if he causes things to be difficult for the other players on his team.
If you watch even the most hot-tempered pros, you will see that they spend most of their time on basics. But there seems to be a serious ignorance of fundamentals even in some pro basketball.
In the recruiting process, a recruiter looks for talent that can be coached in the way which will afford a player to recognize his full potential, and this generally means teaching basics. When young athletes have loads of ability, are tempted to take shortcuts, it’s hard to know how much they’ll allow themselves to be instructed. Recruiters aren’t concerned with hotshots. They want to find those athletes who continually like to enhance their game by learning the basics.
To evaluate fairly an athlete’s ability and attitude, he is seen over a long period of time. An athlete will frequently play an untypical game when they know recruiters are watching—occasionally better, sometimes worse. Experience dictates not to base a report on one or two shots of scouting, so it is best for you, the potential recruit, not to put a bit much emphasis on it either. If you blow a game, don’t worry, recruiters will be back to watch you again.
An Amateur’s Guide to Basketball Recruiting by Equilla Banks Webb
Coaching Basketball by Jerry Krause & Ralph L. Pim