Basketball recruiting

College recruiting part 1: Differentiate yourself through athletics

By Lane Odom of SPORTMATCH

What do college evaluators generally look for in a basketball prospect in terms of characteristics, play, attitude, etc.?

It is not all about your shot — about whether or not you “made shots.” I am amazed at how often young players judge their own performance negatively after a game when I thought they played well. Typically, the reason for their self-doubt is that they could not get their shot to fall. Coaches know if a prospect can shoot regardless of whether they see makes or misses in a game. So it’s important to keep in mind that these coaches are pros who have evaluated many players before you. The size of a player is certainly important, but intangibles do matter and will absolutely be factored in. Communication, a consistent motor, body language, basketball IQ and helping teammates be better are all critical factors that add up as coaches evaluate prospects.

How can I get a reliable evaluation to better understand what playing level is appropriate for me?

FINDING REALITY is what we call it. FINDING REALITY is the best way to get the phone ringing. Gaining true perspective on different playing levels can be difficult, as prospects and parents do not live in the college basketball world on a day-to-day basis. I have found myself working overtime to educate prospects and parents on just how good Division 2 and 3 basketball is. Size is a consistent consideration for all evaluators as it relates to their school’s level of play. Having coached at the college level for 16 years and grown up a coach’s son, I have seen enough to provide a reliable assessment. Surprisingly, I have found that the parents we work with are not delusional, but are simply seeking truth in evaluation. Where to find that reliable evaluation can be challenging. Many around the high school team (friends, supporters) will tell you what you want to hear or simply just don’t know the right answer. Searching out a current or former college coach, asking and being prepared for the honest truth is my best advice. The high school coach or travel coach may be able to connect prospects with someone that can provide this informed evaluation. Once an assessment is made and the appropriate playing level is determined, it is much easier to narrow things down on the path to recruitment.

Contributor Lane Odom (former 16-year D1 coach) launched SPORTMATCH five years ago to help families of college-level prospects navigate the arduous waters of the recruiting process using an efficient and personal approach. SPORTMATCH is made up of a team of former college coaches that serve as consultants for higher academic college-level prospects and their families. SPORTMATCH currently offers assistance in football, basketball, soccer, baseball and lacrosse. Lane Odom is the son of college coaching great, Dave Odom, and will be contributing on the subject of recruiting and how to make the most of your time and money.