Author: Coach Andersen

Assistant Coach, Cornell College, Division III

            Basketball exposure is much more than emailing your favorite coach a clip of you making a couple of jump shots or a nice dunk. Exposure to college coaches in basketball has got to be consistent over a period of time, not only to show that the players abilities are consistent, but growth is actually taking place within that players career. Over anything college coaches look for besides raw talent, is the ability to adapt, grow, and show progression within their game so that the coach can gauge how they will play and what their future potential can be when that player will be playing for that school down the road.

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Let’s put it this way, a coach that finds a player that hasn’t grown physically from freshman to junior year of high school, has roughly the same stat lines their junior year as they did their freshman year and that player hasn’t shown initiative to take a large jump in their game will always be more enticed by the other athlete that has grown a lot from freshman year to junior year, stats have gone up, and initiative to contact coaches and their hype is elevated. Exposure not only has to do with what you do off the court, but on the court is critical. It is so important to gain exposure as early as possible, especially in high school, so that coaches have time to evaluate this “growth” process and take the necessary steps to watch your game, physicality, and initiative to play college basketball grow.

There are 7 different elements of exposure for basketball that when combined, create the best overall chances of a player to be more likely recruited.

- Don’t be afraid of growth, now is your chance: To be able to take full advantage of gaining exposure, the athlete must become comfortable with being uncomfortable whether that is taking more shots, playing in front of large crowds, and talking to as many coaches as possible to establish good relationships.

- Focus on being the best player you can be: While all of these aspects fit together like a puzzle to gain the most exposure possible, they are made possible with the athlete being the best they can be. The better the basketball player, the more exposure naturally they will get because they will be wanted by college coaches. Focus on being your best and everything else will come easier within this process.

- Develop a strong sense of the mental side of the game: Having a physically strong presence for college coaches to evaluate is great as well as raw talent, but the mental side of basketball is just as important. A coach who knows an athlete they are recruiting is also mentally intellectual about the game, decision making skills, and emotional management is an athlete all coaches want on their team.

- Getting your coaches involved with outreach: Getting your high school and AAU coaches involved with outreach for your recruiting purposes will help expose the athlete to multiple intertwined relationships, allowing the athlete to have many forms of contact with college coaches and another form of help when it comes to getting that “brand” awareness of your game out into the coach’s light.

- Make a high-quality highlight video: Making a highlight video is key for being able to show college coaches and the world how you compare to other players. This is a massively used recruiting tool that helps college coaches rank you against other players your age and help them determine how you will do if they recruit you to their school. Highlight videos can be done by yourself with the help of friends, parents, etc. or even by third party companies such as Hudl.

- Send college coaches emails to show initiative: Sending college coaches emails that state your name, graduation year of high school, high school, AAU team, a quick intro, and a link to your highlight reel is a great way to make the first contact with coaches and show them you mean business. Make sure the email is personal to that coach and not sent out as a mass email to a bunch of schools at once. Don’t wait on them! This is something you shouldn’t wait for as every day is valuable when gaining as much exposure as possible.

- Sign up for the camp database: Entering the online coach database will help coaches in their process to be able to connect with you and be able to find your contact information easily. This is a great tool many coaches use for recruitment that makes their job much easier when trying to find specific athletes they are looking for.

It’s never too soon to start the exposure process for basketball players. Most coaches will take much more interest as an athlete progresses into their middle high school years as a sophomore or junior. That doesn’t mean freshman shouldn’t get a head start on this process and then by the time they are a junior, they already have well established connections with coaches that have reviewed their highlight tapes and are more likely to keep an athlete who they have been in contact before on their recruitment radar. Aside from the videos and the emails and databases, the biggest component an athlete can do in this process is play hard, play to the best of your ability, and don’t leave anything on the court as now is the time for you to show coaches why they should want you.