There is a definite correlation between going to a top basketball school and making the NBA. The first 60 players chosen in the 2009 NBA draft represented thirty-four college and universities and nine countries.
Considering there are 347 divisions 1 teams in 32 divisions makes a very small percentage of programs recruiting the best high school players. Attending and playing for the top programs will increase chances of getting drafted. What are the criteria that professional basketball scouts are looking for in a player to consider them a possible prospect?
A scout will evaluate the player over time and make many decisions based on a long evaluation period. Being a great college or high school player does not mean the player will be great at the next level. There are handfuls of college players that became mediocre professionals and last year’s player of the year; Tyler Hansborough is evidence of that.
The only way to get recruited to a major university is to be an outstanding high school player, play AAU and attend numerous scouting camps throughout the country. In the 2009 top 100 high school players, only 47 colleges and universities were represented.
Only 13% of those colleges will get a top recruit. If a large university is getting 1 or 2 top recruits every year their roster from year to year will be assembled from the top talent in the country. The diamond in the rough may go under the radar and play division II but this is rare.
The almost guarantee of playing for a major college program and eventually the pros is being selected as a McDonald’s All-American high school player. About 60% of all McDonald’s High School All-Americans have played in the NBA. The list of players is phenomenal and the names of the greatest of all-time are present.
Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Magic Johnson, Shaq, Kobe, Patrick Ewing, Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Chris Mullin, Reggie Miller, Vince Carter, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers, Derrick Rose, Isiah Thomas, and Carlos Boozer. The McDonald’s High School All-American program started in 1974 so there are names that would be on the list such as Pistol Pete, George Gervin, Kareem, Bill Russell and many of the greats of the 1950s and 1960s.
Not all high school players will be all American but will go on to have very successful careers and get recruited and offered scholarships. The scouting criteria for college and professional basketball are basically the same. A scout will determine if the player has a natural flow.
This is somewhat subjective, but a scout can usually tell if a player makes decisions and moves without stopping and thinking. Some players are very robotic and you can tell he is processing what he should do before he acts or moves.
A player with good feel for the game is more dangerous than a more talented player that is not exactly sure what he should be doing. A scout will notice if a player locates his favorite places on the floor and determine his favorite spots.
Will notice where he likes to post up or if he likes getting the ball at the ball at the top of the circle or on the wing. Some players prefer to receive a pass running off of a pick or slashing to the basket. When you are scouting a player it is crucial to know where he wants to receive the ball. Determines what the player tries to do off the dribble.
Many young players can only drive one direction. More advanced players can drive with either hand. Observe what he does when he drives to the right or to the left Some players have tendencies such as pulling up for a jumper when he goes left but driving all the way to the basket if he goes right.
A player will also set up his pet moves by making a fake such as going left to set up a crossover to the right.
Can the player shoot the basketball? A shot can be deadly even if it is ugly as long as it is repeatable with a consistent release point. Scout will study and dissect the player’s defensive abilities.
Many players will not take their responsibilities seriously and are just waiting the get the ball back. You will also see players who are more concerned with blocked shots and steals than playing solid team defense.
These are weaknesses that can be capitalized on. Players also get scouted on how they react on the bench. Are they into the game or detached when they are not playing? This gives a scout insight into their the mindset.
It is easy to watch the grates and determine they will make it/ But evaluating the next level player is the real meat and potatoes of putting a college and profession roster together. There was no question that Michael Jordan would be great but the Bulls took a chance with Scottie Pippen and it paid off.