So youâre an international basketball player and youâre interested in playing at the collegiate level in the United States. What exactly does it take to get exposure and what should you be aware of?
This important and often asked question has been broken down into five simple steps or concepts for international athletes to understand, but there is one very significant condition to all of these – you have to be willing and prepared to put A LOT of work in.
International athletes have to put themselves in positions similar to American athletes, which will make more sense below. Now, that shouldnât be much of a problem for you because if you are reading this and you want to play at the collegiate level, you have already decided that you are willing to do what it takes, so letâs just get right into it.
1. Play against your future competition
This has been deemed the first step and arguably the most important because it serves two purposes. American athletes are receiving a far greater amount of exposure over the course of their careers because they have a constant opportunity to play and prove their abilities in front of collegiate coaches and recruiters. Additionally, playing against American competition allows you to prepare for what you are about to face at the next level. So, why not go where the coaches are scouting and improve your game at the same time?
This is much easier said than done and there are a few options here. International athletes that want to receive the same amount of exposure as their American counterparts should understand that the prep school system in the U.S. is a great opportunity for those fortunate enough to either receive a scholarship or have the financial ability to pay for one. It is understandable that not every family can afford a U.S. prep school education, but it has proven time and time again that this route brings the greatest amount of exposure. Not to mention, you receive a full year (or more) of playing against some of the best competition around.
Another option for international school athletes is to attend a summer camp in the U.S. There are many options that you can take advantage of depending on what you are looking for. Some are focused more on skill development while others are centered around exposure, but if you are looking for a camp with all of these features combined into one month-long program, you should definitely check out the Global Squad Summer Academy.
2. Highlight videos don’t get you recruited
You and your friends may find your highlight videos entertaining and it may get you a great deal of clout at your respective school, but itâs not going to get you any closer to your real goal here – to play college basketball.
Now, I’m not saying that a highlight video is completely useless. Highlight videos are a useful and effective way of getting a coach’s attention, but the value of a highlight reel stops there. A college coach is going to want to see far more than that one time you crossed an opponent up. They want to see how you handle yourself on the bench. They want to see how you interact with your teammates and your coach. They also want to see what type of competition you’re up against in order to gauge your performance.
College coaches are smart and they take everything into consideration before making any drastic decisions on your talent or abilities. If you send a college coach game tape in which you dropped 30 points 10 rebounds and 7 assists, but you were playing against a terrible team, itâs not going to mean much. This all leads us back to Step 1, play against your future (good) competition.
3. Upload and share FULL game film
Now that we’re on the same page about highlight videos, how exactly should you be sending coach’s full game film and what should that film include?
Aside from the obvious fact that it should be one of your best performances, you should be sending college coaches games in which you dealt with adversity and handled pressure well. This could be a rough first half outing for you, but you came back with a great second half performance. This could also be your performance up against a very strong opponent. Maybe they press and you don’t turn the ball over at all. Maybe they’re double-teaming you and you still perform well.
So, now that you have a game or games in mind, which demonstrate your unique talents and abilities, how should you share them with coaches and recruiters?
Below are a number of good options. At Global Squad, we provide our athletes with both a Hudl and Sports Recruits account. This post is meant to be more of an overview, so I won’t get into much detail about what each of these platforms can do, but do some research on your own, get some reviews about each, and figure out which one suits you best.
4. Market yourself
This step may seem obvious for most, but let me assure you, it is often and easily overlooked.
Most athletes find a list of schools they think they can play for and blast out mass emails to coaches in hopes of hearing back. This strategy may work out for the slim few, but it wonât suffice for the majority of you looking to get on the radar of a good program. So what should you do?
You need to take the necessary steps to make yourself more appealing and accessible to college coaches – this means do your research. Does your GPA set you apart? Are you a three point shooter and will that be a desired role for the team in the years to come? What is your assist to turnover ratio and how does it compare to the teamâs previous year?
On top of that, you need to locate both the head coach and all assistant coachâs contact information – usually located on the schoolâs athletics page – and send each person an email custom tailored to their position on the staff. The initial contact should be about your background, a link to a video or two, and an explanation about why you want to be on the team.
Look out for a future blog post from us with a template that is easy to customize when it comes time for you to reach out to coaches.
5. Communicate like an adult
This may seem like an obvious step, but I canât tell you how many athletes I have seen start a conversation with a college coach who shows significant interest in their recruitment and then the coach slowly starts to back out of the relationship. Not because the athlete suffers a season ending injury. Not because their game-play starts to get worse. Itâs because the athlete either doesnât respond in a timely manner or they communicate with the coach or recruiter as if they were texting their friends.
When college coaches are complaining that they either canât get a hold of you or youâre communicating with them as if youâre best friends, you are showing them that youâre not taking this process seriously and you donât have what it takes to succeed at the collegiate level.
I shouldnât have to be writing this, but apparently it needs to be stressed to some – âlolâ and âwhat up famâ isnât how you should be responding to a college coach. Thatâs an easy way to get âghosted famâ. If your relationship grows to that point, great, but until you have the opportunity to develop that style of communication, you need to converse like an adult.
As I said at the beginning of this post, this process is long, tiring, and oftentimes disappointing. Coaches may not email you back, watch your video, or give you the time of day, but you have to put just as much work in on your own self-promotion as you do your game. It is a difficult process to stand out. Remember, you are trying to become part of the roughly 6% of high school basketball athletes that play at the collegiate level! Take it one step at a time and remember to have fun along the way. Start applying these five steps and concepts to your everyday life and you will have a much better shot at receiving some exposure from collegiate coaches and recruiters.
Be on the lookout for future Global Squad posts about topics such as: a parentâs guide to the recruiting process, best questions to ask college coaches, and more!
If you would like to learn more about great exposure opportunities for international student-athletes or to ask us a question you would like answered in a future blog post contact us!