The NCAA recruiting process for basketball is different than any other sport, so basketball players that want to find a scholarship opportunity must learn when coaches can scout and evaluate them.
Men’s Basketball Recruiting: the Recruiting Period and the Evaluation Period
A recruiting period is a time during the school year defined by the NCAA when coaches can scout athletes at school sanctioned events. This means coaches can attend high school, prep school, and junior college games and practices to scout and evaluate athletes. Over the years playing for your school has become less important in the recruiting process due to the rise of AAU and club teams, but playing on those teams during the school season won’t help athletes get recruited because coaches are only allowed to scout athletes during school events. The NCAA is in effect bringing back some of the importance of playing for your high school team by banning evaluations of athletes on non-scholastic teams during the school year.
During the summer, the recruiting calendar has three evaluation periods. During an evaluation period coaches can scout athletes when they play in tournaments and for AAU teams. The NCAA has worked to diminish the influence of third party participants (usually AAU and club team coaches) on athlete’s recruiting. The NCAA’s reasoning for diminishing third party influence is designed to help athletes take control of their own future instead of being funneled to schools where coaches may have a special interest in sending athletes (ie their alma maters or schools they are looking to get a job at).
Women’s Basketball Recruiting is Different than Men’s Basketball Recruiting
The women’s basketball recruiting calendar does not have recruiting periods, and their evaluation periods are structured different than in men’s basketball. Women’s basketball evaluation periods during the school year run for several months, and there are certain exceptions where athletes can get scouted at non-scholastic events.
What Does that Mean for Me?
Whether you play women’s or men’s basketball, you must understand the different periods in the recruiting calendar. During the year there are also dead periods, quiet periods, and contact periods in which contact between athletes and coaches is more regulated. Knowing what can occur during each of these times helps you know what you should be doing to get recruited and where you should be doing it; but it’s important to remember, an athlete can always contact a coach via phone and email.