#RealTalk - Don’t Focus on Level, Especially Late
Over the course of the last week, we've seen a handful of unsigned seniors accept athletic scholarships at division II schools.
Virtually all of these players once believed, or were told, they were certain division I recruits.
To their credit, they didn't let previous expectations or external opinions get in the way of getting a free education and so when the scholarship offers presented themselved, they pounced on them.
Recruiting often comes down to supply and demand and, especially in a prep heavy landscape like New England, the supply of division II prospects almost always exceeds the demand.
In other words, there are annually lots of scholarship caliber players who don't end up landing scholarship offers, often times through no fault of their own.
Sometimes though, they do make mistakes, and one of the biggest ones is passing up on scholarship level interest or offers because they're consumed by level.
Focusing on level above fit is almost always a mistake, but never more so than at the end of a prospect's senior or post-graduate year. Too often, these mistakes are rooted in labels that get tossed around in gyms and on social media over the years.
"Best in New England"
These labels almost always come from adults, and most of the time well-intentioned adults, but unfortunately sometimes an effort to promote a prospect and increase their recruitment can instead create the burden of expectations or a sense of entitlement.
The simple truth is that virtually every level of college basketball - from division III all the way up to high-major - is more competitive than high school players appreciate.
The goal of the recruiting experience shouldn't be about living up to trivial expectations or levels, but about using basketball as a vehicle to a better life...whether that be a better or more affordable education than you might otherwise have access to, and by extension hopefully an opportunity for a better career or debt-free adult life.
That's the real world practical stuff that you don't see people ranting about on social media, but it's the stuff that can change lives.
Sure, some recruits may ultimately get their highest offers by waiting out the process, but they also risk being left without a chair when the music stops playing, and even those who do end up at the level they want late quickly find there's a big difference between being a priority recruit and an 11th hour back-up plan (which can often lead them to next year's transfer list).
The moral of the story is this. No scholarship, or even admission slot, should ever be taken for granted. No one, regardless of how talented they may be with a basketball, is entitled to it. Unfortunately, there will be members of the 2019 class that waste opportunities to potentially change their life in the coming days and weeks. Sadly, it happens every year...and many times because they're listening to the wrong people.
Once players get to college, the quality of their experience will be based on whether they're valued, comfortable, able to compete for minutes and be successful, not on whether that's at a mid-major or high-major, division II or low-major school.
So please, unsigned prospects in the class of 2019, recognize that the hour is late and don't waste any opportunities in front of you, because the real travesty isn't failing to live up to a certain level of recruitment, it's failing to take advantage of an opportunity that could potentially change your life.