|How to get your high school athlete recruited
By John Jordan - Director – Girlshoopscout.com
***Please Note - This article was originally published in July of 2006, however the information contained is still very
useful and little has changed. We do invite you to also view our newest article on Using Technology in Recruiting
How do I get my player looked at by college coaches? I get asked this question quite often by
coaches, parents and even the athletes . My background is one that gives me a good overall
perspective of the process. I have been a college coach at two different institutions, the host parent of a
couple of heavily recruited athletes and as a high school coach have sent over 25 players on to the
collegiate level to play ball. This year ’06, I had five of my senior boy’s off of my Statesville Christian
(NC) basketball team sign college scholarships, four of them with NCAA Division I schools. I also
coached the girl’s team and only had one senior girl and she signed a basketball scholarship with a
Division II institution. Now, I run a girls recruiting website that exists to help get North Carolina girls more
exposure to college scouts. While the bulk of my experience has been with basketball I have also had
dealings with the other sports and have found that the same lessons I have learned in basketball are
adaptable to virtually any other sport.
The first thing you have to understand is that there are thousands of colleges out there. They play
on several different levels of competition. I will provide you a run down below of the main levels and what
they mean in terms of competitive level of competition. What this means is that for virtually every athlete
regardless of skill level there is some place, somewhere that they most likely can continue to play their
sport after high school if they so choose. One has to balance this desire along side what the academic
and life goals are for this student. Here are the general levels of competition.
I . - The Levels
NCAA Division 1 – Top level athletes. These are athletes who have most likely played at least 4 years of
varsity high school competition against top level competition and have started all four years. They also
are heavily involved in off season teams and competition In most cases the top schools find these
athletes and there is little that has to done to promote them in their own area. However, in the case of
women’s basketball do not think that low to mid D1 programs have the coverage or the resources
available to them that the men do. Just look at the rosters of many of these programs and you will see
they are filled with area and regional players. It is not very often that a low to mid major on the West
Coast is actively pursuing a player on the East Coast. Sometimes the willingness of a student-athlete to
go to school in another part of the country can make the difference on the level they can hope to play
NCAA Division II – These institutions also give full scholarships and partial scholarships in most sports.
They also attract a top level athlete usually one that has been recruited some by NCAA Division I
colleges but for whatever reason does not have what it takes for that level. The outstanding player who
is a step slow or undersized for their position is the usual story. In women’s basketball you also find the
regional player who opts just to stay near home and D2 might be the nearest option. For that reason it is
not unusual for a top level D2 program to actually be on a playing level of a low to mid Division I program
in another part of the country.
NAIA Division I – These are also good institutions talent wise. Because the NAIA academic standards are
a little below the NCAA, they get those talented players that fall through the cracks because of grades.
They also get quite a few transfers from NCAA Division I schools who perhaps were not as good as they
thought or had attitude problems. Talent wise they are as good as the NCAA Division II level. They do
not give too many full scholarships on this level unless a player is what they call a full qualifier. This is a
student who is so poor that they qualify for the maximum amount of government grants. Then they may
make up the difference in tuition and expense with basketball money.
NCAA Division III – These are usually very good academic schools yet they do not give any athletic
scholarships. Many of these schools do have a large amount of academic scholarship money available
and sometimes offer “leadership” type scholarships which in reality are nothing more than a disguised
athletic scholarship. The level of play on this level differs depending on the conference and location of
the school. For example here in North Carolina the Division III programs are very strong and on a par
with many of the Div II programs. Yet when you go to places like Iowa or even Maryland and
Pennsylvania the level of play drops rapidly. These schools usually get players who are from smaller
schools or who were not recruited as highly. This is a very good choice for the right athlete.
NAIA Division II – These institutions are smaller schools sometimes religiously affiliated who do give
some scholarship money. They are very big in the Midwest and their level of play is much weaker than
most of the other levels. I coached on this level and an average 1A or 2A high school basketball player
can do quite well here. There are some good academic schools in this league but you have to be careful
because there are some that are not. They recruit primarily regionally but when informed about a player
in another region will definitely take interest. We won two titles when I was an assistant at a small school
in South Dakota and we did it with four starters from North Carolina. This is a very good option for a
player from a smaller league or school.
NCCAA Division I – The National Christian College Athletic Association plays on a NAIA Div II talent level
in most cases. There are some exceptions to the rule and some very tough teams talent wise as well.
You will find that many of these schools will have a dual affiliation with the NAIA or NCAA. In most all
cases they do give scholarship money yet not always full scholarships. Players from religious schools
are what they target and they can be an excellent choice for those players. With these schools you have
to careful as to what it is that your end goals are. If they are to go into a form of ministry then it is a great
option however if you have plans that involve post graduate study you should be careful to check and
see what their graduates have done in that regard.
NCCAA Division II – This is the second tier of the Christian college level and is most comparable to the
NCAA Division III level. They do give some scholarship help but it is usually in the form of “Leadership”
money etc…The level of play here is very low and most everyone makes the team who goes out. There
are some very good religious academic institutions here and this can be a great choice for the average
high school athlete who is a Christian and wants to keep on playing beyond the high school level. There
is also even a third level of the NCCAA but I would check out the academic side of those institutions very
NJCAA Division I, II, III – The National Junior College Athletic Association has grown in statue over the
last few years as NCAA academic standards have gotten tougher and tougher. The top level of NJCAA
Div I competes talent wise on a high NCAA Division I level. This is due to the fact that the academic
standards for admission are basically just a high school diploma or in some cases a GED. The II and III
level are not quite as competitive but still pretty tough. Div I of course gives full scholarships, while Div II
and III generally do not. However the tuition at these schools is usually very affordable. The Div II and III
level can be a good option for the player who has weaker grades and may want to stay near home to
play. Most of these schools are very regional and some are even community colleges.
*****Prep Schools – A new trend that has become prevalent in men’s recruiting has been the emergence
of the Post Grad schools. These schools are quickly replacing the Junior College as the option of choice
for those not able to go Division I because of academics. Part of the reason is that the student does not
use up a year of collegiate eligibility this way. We are seeing more and more girls prep programs
popping up as well. The Patterson School out of Lenoir NC won back to back National Prep School titles
and featured several Division I signees.
II. – Exposure
The key to getting any athlete in any sport recruited is getting college coaches to take an interest in
them and watch them play. The earlier age you can do this the better. What you have to understand is
that except for the top Division I programs schools usually have a very limited recruiting budget. They
rely a lot on off season recruiting camps and all star competition where they can see several players at
once. They also utilize alumni and are usually good about following up with high school coaches who
contact them about a certain player. Coaches have also come to rely on various scouting services to
help them identify players they want to pursue. In boy’s basketball, there are a number of these services
such as Scout.com, All Star Sports, Rivals.com etc..On the girls side it is a bit more limited. On the
national scene Blue Star has always been Queen of the hill but others are starting to pop up as well. We
hope Girlshoopscout will come to be known as one of the trusted sources colleges look to as well. There
are various showcases now that do attract some college coaches but be careful of the time of year and
which college coaches are said to be attending
Sadly, there is not near the emphasis placed on watching kids compete for their high schools as there
once was especially if the level of their schedule is not strong. One thing you can do to offset this is try
to get your high school to beef up your schedule to include some teams who have one or more athletes
who are being recruited. Some schools and coaches refuse or are unable to do this. If that is the case
you may consider a transfer to a high school that does play that type of schedule. This gives that
college coach a place to go to watch not just your player play but several players play. If your player
shows they can compete on that level against that level of competition they may well be recruited. You
have to remember it is very hard to ask a college coach to come in to watch a player play against
competition that is not very strong. In those situations they have no idea of how good the player really
can be. This year my girls team was only 15-15 but we made it to the final four of our state
championship tournament and only missed the championship game by one basket. I credit our schedule
for this, our girls played against over 30 NCAA Division I recruits and either in practice or games had
over 25 different college women’s coaches see our players compete. My lone senior was not even a first
team all county or all conference selection or our team’s MVP. Yet one of the most successful D2
programs in our region (Anderson (SC)) offered her a basketball scholarship. Part of the reason for that
was they knew the level of competition she had been exposed to during her high school career and that
she was confident facing top level competition. Our boy’s played against over 70 NCAA Division I
recruits and faced many of the nations top ranked high school teams. Our schedule included three
separate meetings with the country’s number one team, Oak Hill Academy . Again all of my players got
signed and even one of my non starting seniors got a D2 scholarship. Play the comp, don’t worry about
won-loss records and your kids will get recruited.
Another way to get the word out on your player and to spark some interest from colleges is doing a
short videotape. (15-30 min) that shows them in game action. Coaches like to see them against the best
competition available and at least a ½ or a regular game. Do not send them tape of them playing
against the school for the blind etc..getting 40 points or 5 goals. Find the best teams and send them
footage of games against them.They seldom want to see a highlight film unless you want to include
some footage at the beginning that shows their athleticism such as their vertical leap, timed sprints
etc…I also would include s copy of their transcript and a brief player bio on them with the tape.
Player Bio – (Sample of my daughters bio so far)
Name - Jamie Jordan Ht 5’11” Wt 190 Sport Basketball Class ‘09
School – Statesville Christian **** Is transferring to Veritas Christian Academy
In Fletcher NC – School Address – 17 Cane Creek Rd Fletcher NC
28732 School Phone – -828-681-0515
High School Coach – John Jordan – 704-253-2006
Position – 2/3 (Has experience at point as well)
Address – 175 Dellenger Dr Statesville NC 28625 Home Phone – 704-253-2006
GPA _3.6 SAT – Has not taken yet PSAT 1060 on Old Scale
7th – 11th grade Summary of statistics, places played and accomplishments – You want to show a
pattern of success if possible. Many coaches want to recruit players who have success dating back to
grade school. Also include other sports they participate in and training programs they may be in.
Jamie Jordan has been a varsity high school starter since 7th grade at Statesville Christian School in
Statesville NC. During that time she has competed against some of the top women’s programs on the
East Coast. Her high school schedule included powerhouses such as Patterson School (NC), Riverdale
Baptist (MD), Oak Hill (VA), Victory Christian (Charlotte NC), Southern Durham (NC), Calvary Baptist
(CA), Forsyth Country Day (NC), Asheville HS (NC) as well as participation in several top regional and
national tournaments. Her team has advanced to the NCISAA 1A Final Four for the last two years in a
row. Jordan is in her third season of AAU ball as a starter for the Carolina Angels 15-U team, she is one
of only two rising sophomores on the squad. The team finished top 17 last season in the 14U AAU
Nationals and will be making a return trip this year to the AAU 15U Nationals in Monroe La. Jordan has
also won a State Singles High School Tennis Championship as an 8th grader and was named a high
school All County Midfield Soccer Player.
05/06 Highlights –
1st Team All County (Statesville Record and Landmark) Player, 1st Team SPAA All Conference
(A conference that featured several Division I signees, teammate and lone senior Egle Bauzaite who
signed with Anderson was 2nd team all county and all conference), All State Nominee as Freshman.
Team MVP as Freshman. Has been a High School Varsity Starter since 7th grade. Already scored over
700 pts in her HS career. Averaged 14ppg and 9 rbpg , 4 apg and 3 blocked shots per game in leading
her team to the 1A Independent Final Four. School schedule featured play against over 30 Division I
recruits. Was forced to play point guard much of the season, set several school records including most
3 pointers made in a season ( 71), All Time Career and Season Leading Scorer and Most Blocked Shots
(92) . Led HS team in scoring, rebounding , assists and blocked shots. Had two high games of 28 points
this season and a school record 14 assists. Good ballhandler who kept a 5-1 assist – turnover ratio
playing the point.
About Her Game – A long, thick young lady who is an excellent outside shooter with 3 pt and beyond
range. Can score the jumper off the dribble. Has long wing span and reach. Solid passer who looks up
court well and feeds the post very well. Has deceiving first step to the hole and finishes with contact.
Attacks basket strong and gets to FT line well. 75% plus FT shooter. Can play multiple positions
including the point and back to the basket 4/5 but seems most comfortable and effective at the 2/3.
Excellent rebounder who is physically strong and aggressive. Good interior defender who has nice
timing and a knack for weakside shot blocking. (Once had 14 blocked shots in an AAU Super Regional
Championship). A very basketball smart player whose Father is a HS coach and former pro coach.
Mother also was college scholarship player. Dedicated to the weight room. Needs to continue to work on
lateral defensive quickness guarding smaller perimeter players. Loves the game and often plays pickup
with men and HS Varsity boy’s players.
The final component for exposure is getting your kids to the off-season events. This day and age if they
truly want to be a college level player they have to compete in the off – season. It is important to get
them on the right AAU, YBOA. Select, Legion or other off season tams as this is where a large majority
of the recruiting is done. This is even more important if you attend a smaller school that does not play a
lot of competitive teams. In closing if you are serious about getting your player recruited then at the
earliest age take every opportunity to make college coaches aware of them so that they follow their
careers. To give you an idea most Division I men’s programs are already targeting players as early as
the 7th grade. There are actually lists out in some sports that rate the top rising 7th graders. In the
women’s game, 8th grade is not too early for them to start keeping tabs if the prospect is promising
Where do we start ?
Purchase or check out a comprehensive guide to all the colleges from one of the libraries or bookstores.
Sit down with your player and ask them what it is they want to accomplish after high school. Ask them
about how important playing sports in college is to them? How far from home would they be willing to go
and play and of course what they want to study in college. Now take that information and start checking
off schools in the book that fit that criteria. Then write, call or email the coach at those schools about
your athlete. Then follow up with a player bio, perhaps a tape but definitely a schedule of your games
and invite them to come see them play. It is also a good idea to check with your school guidance
counselor and get your athlete enrolled in the NCAA Clearinghouse if they are in the 9th –12th grade.
Hopefully this has given you some guidance and I wish you the best on getting your athletes recruited.