Let's clear this up: the big three recruiting questions college coaches are asking

by Transition Hoops Report

Recruiting 101To many players and parents, the college basketball recruiting process is a mystery. To some it may even seem intimidating.
Because of this, people are afraid to ask questions. They don’t want to seem out of touch or they worry about looking dumb. They resort to what they hear from others and what they find on the internet (yes, there is a lot of irony here).
Unfortunately, most of the time the information they get is wrong and misleading. The advice may end up hurting a player’s chance to be recruited.
You should know that if you feel intimidated you are not alone. With so many sources and pieces of information floating around, it can be confusing.
But, the recruiting process does not need to be a mystery. In fact, most college coaches prefer that you understand the process. That way you can focus on the things that matter the most.
The key is understanding the basic concepts of college basketball recruiting. Players and parents can make sure they are putting their efforts toward the important things. And drop the things that do not matter.
The information here breaks down our "Recruiting 101" session in to further detail (click here if you want to watch the video).
We also provide you two free resources that can help guide you even more. One is a check list of things you can do right now to help your recruiting. The other is an ebook that explains the first part of the recruiting process. 

Click Here to get your Recruiting Checklist


Questions we get asked by every coach

We take several calls every week from college coaches asking about prospects. Each conversation revolves around three common questions. Below we discuss each question.
Remember, the college coach’s job is to win games. If they win, they get promoted. If they lose, they get fired. At the college level, winning and losing is the bottom line. These three questions help coaches understand how a player can help their team win.

How good is the player?

This is obvious but a coach has to know if the player can play. Even if they have seen the player play a little, the coach will still ask this question based on four areas.
  • Skill Set (shooting, dribbling, passing, IQ, feel for the game) – This area gets better the more time you put in. Practice, get in repetitions and challenge yourself 
  • Athleticism (good burst, lateral movement, strength) – Athleticism is not a born trait. It can be improved. There is an entire industry of people that focus on this.
  • Mental Toughness (step up in big moments, game adjustments) – This is another area that can be learned. It requires a growth mindset and a desire to compete at the highest level.
  • Physical Attributes (height, size and genetics) – This is one area that is out of your control. But it is a reality. Yet, if you are elite in the first three areas then you can overcome this one if you are not as tall or big as other players.
Another question we sometimes get asked is “what position is he?” The saying in college is: you can only play to the level that you can defend. This determines your position and level. If you can’t defend a point guard then you are not a point guard. If you want to play a certain position at a specific level, you must be able to defend that position at that level.
The recruiting process begins with being a great player.

What kind of student is he?

Next up, academics.
There is a minimum academic level required to get in to any school and be eligible. Your academics can also be an indicator of the type of person you are. Are you responsible? Can you manage your time well? Do you have to be babied by the coaching staff?
Every school also offers some kind of academic financial scholarships. These are athletic independent. Think of it as free money. And a way to make yourself more desirable to school.
If a player can get some of his school covered without an athletic scholarship, that is a huge advantage to the basketball team. And it can help you get on a roster. While it doesn’t apply at the Division I level, it applies to every other level. Be an academic superstar.

What kind of person is he?

Will he fit in our culture? Can I trust him on a Friday or Saturday night? Will he be a good teammate?
If a coach sees you play and likes what he sees, you can bet that he will immediately check your social media. Are you posting anything stupid? If so, you will be instantly checked off the list.
College scholarships are worth a lot of money. A coach will not invest in a player until he does a thorough background check first.
Coaches need responsible players they can trust.

Types of scholarships

Each level of college basketball is different and always changing. Below are current as of today but could change. Still, it will give you a good idea of what scholarships are available. 


Division I – 13 full ride athletic scholarships (Ivy League does not offer scholarships)
Division II – up 10 full athletic scholarships, but some schools don’t offer all 10. That is up to each school. Additionally, scholarships can be split up.
Division III – 0 athletic scholarships. Don’t let this fool you. Division III basketball is extremely competitive.


Division I – 8-10 full athletic scholarships but can be split up.
Division II – 6 full athletic scholarships but can be split up.


NJCAA – up to 13 full athletic scholarships, but not all schools offer 13.
NWAC (Oregon and Washington community colleges) – depends on the state and where you live. The amount is a percentage of tuition.
CCCAA (California junior colleges) – no scholarships outside of California
*Every college will have academic and need based scholarships available.
Outside of NCAA DI, schools are trying to find alternative ways to get you money. This helps them max their return on their athletic scholarship money.
Other than NCAA Division I the scholarships are confusing. If you are being recruited outside of NCAA Division I you will need to ask the coaches about what you are being offered.

The recruiting process

In a nutshell, the recruiting process starts when a coach sees you play and ends when they make you an offer. The process can be fast (a couple weeks) or slow (several years).
Here is a typical process a college coach may go through:
1. See you play for the first time and like what they see
2. Check your social media or Google you
3. Start calling their network about you
4. Start calling your coaches, teachers and other connectors in your world. This is why you must have a professional relationship with these people. But a great relationship is better. Be mature.
5. If these check out, now they will start contacting you and build a relationship. Scholarships are big money so colleges will do their research.
^Be good to every coach you talk to, even if you are not interested. Be honest and professional. The college coaching network is huge and coaches are always talking.
6. Scholarship offer
7. Verbal commitment – it is not binding but tells others you are done with the recruiting process
8. Sign your letter of intent

Increase your exposure

There are a few ways to get some more college exposure.

Elite Camps

Get to a college’s elite camp so they can see you play. Pick the 3-5 schools you want to play for and attack them.


Produce a 5-8 minute highlight reel of what you do best (following your sophomore and junior year). If coaches don’t know a lot about you they will Google you. If you have a quick video to show them and they like it they will make a note to try and see you again. All you can do is show them what you got. After that it is up to them.

Recruiting services

Know the reality of what these services do.
Scouting services – getting on there is based on your ability to PLAY. If it is a respected service then coaches will check what the service is saying about you. Coaches will pay to subscribe to certain services because they trust that service.
Recruiting service – getting on there is based on your ability to PAY. Basketball coaches consider these services spam. They know that even the worst player may be listed if they pay so there is little credibility.