Basketball Scholarships | How to Get a Basketball Scholarship

Most college basketball players currently on scholarship got started with the recruiting process very early. Basketball players should begin the recruiting process by the time they are in the 9th grade and should be continually checking-in with coaches throughout high school so that coaches can watch their development. Learn more about the steps to take to get a basketball scholarship.


How to Get a Basketball Scholarship How Tall Do I Need to Be to Play College Basketball
How Many Basketball Scholarships are Offered How to Get Recruited for Basketball
NCAA Basketball Scholarships College Basketball Academic Requirements
How to Get Scouted for Basketball College Basketball Camps and Showcases
How Many College Basketball Programs are There When is National Signing Day for Basketball


How to Get a Basketball Scholarship

Here are some quick tips on how to get a basketball scholarship:

  1. Start the process early
  2. Practice talking with college coaches
  3. Have a great video to share
  4. Visit as many schools as you can
  5. Research the schools you want to attend
  6. Improve your grades
  7. Provide multiple references
  8. Don’t miss deadlines

There are over 1 million men’s and women’s high school basketball players in the USA and thousands more internationally. On average, only 50,000 are able to receive basketball scholarships. Having a, high-quality, skills and highlight videos is a prerequisite to getting a coach interested in recruiting you.

To expand your probability of attaining a scholarship, implement our detailed plan.

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Can You Get a Basketball Scholarship from AAU?

AAU basketball teams should be treated as a required ‘step’ toward that direction (much like taking advantage of the benefits a recruiting service can provide). It’s no secret, college scouts do follow high school athletes playing AAU basketball showcases so being a part of this process can assist you in getting noticed.

There are different levels of AAU teams to consider. Those basketball teams which focus on traveling nationwide for several summer tournaments will require you pay more than those teams which focus on a more local or regional AAU tournament schedule. In addition to you paying a fee to cover the cost of team uniforms, warm-ups and practice court costs, you and your parents should also budget for the cost of gasoline, meals and lodging related to any out-of-town games/tournaments.


Can You Play Basketball Without a Scholarship?

If you are thinking of playing college basketball for a powerhouse team in NCAA Division 1 without being offered an athletic scholarship by college recruiters the chances are very slim. From time to time big schools such as these will have a tradition of having ‘tryouts’ for 1-2 walk-ons, but you must understand if you would become such a walk-on there is a chance you would never see any actual playing time.

NCAA Division 2 and NAIA colleges and universities offer partial scholarships and are more readily acceptable to bringing in walk-ons to compete for roster spots. Also, as a walk-on you could work your way into gaining partial scholarships (partial tuition payment, books or meals, e.g.) the next year as these scholarship awards are reviewed by the college coaches and recruiters on a yearly basis. You may also decide to play at a NCAA Division 3 school, which under NCAA guidelines are not permitted to offer athletic scholarships.


How Many Basketball Scholarships Are Given Each Year?

If you have a desire to have a college basketball recruiter offer you a scholarship to play NCAA Division 1 basketball, you’re not alone. Nearly 4,500 players are on scholarship at the Division 1 men’s level while there are over 5,000 women basketball players with full rides to play college hoops.

NCAA Division 2 basketball scholarships are a bit trickier to figure out as these collegiate programs are permitted to offer full or partial scholarships to student-athletes. If you are one of the best players being recruited to play basketball at the D2 level, a college recruiter may offer you a ‘full’ scholarship to cover all college-related expenses. If not, you could be offered any variety of options (half-tuition with meals, e.g.).

The NCAA only mandates the total amount of scholarship monies per basketball program not go over the equivalent of 10 full scholarships for men or 10 full scholarships for women. College recruiters follow the same type guidelines in offering you a scholarship from NAIA schools. The better the athlete you are the higher the offer you could receive. Athletic scholarships offered to D1, D2 and NAIA programs, women’s and men’s combined, total over $2 billion.

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NCAA Basketball Scholarships Limits

The NCAA requires universities and colleges at the D1 level to offer only ‘full’ scholarships in men’s and women’s basketball. Men’s programs are restricted to 13 scholarships while women’s program rosters have 15 full scholarship players. An interesting point for you to know about full scholarship awards at the NJCAA (Junior College) D1 level is the total offering includes transportation costs one time per year to and from the college by direct route. NCAA D2 and NAIA may offer full or partial scholarship monies to college basketball recruits. While NCAA Division 3 schools are not permitted to offer athletic scholarships you can also benefit from earning academic and merit scholarships available to all students registering to attend those institutions.

# of Scholarships Limit per Team Avg. Amount of Scholarship
Division Men’s Women’s Men’s Women’s
NCAA I 13 15 $16,154 $17,114
NCAA II 10 10 $6,329 $7,650
NAIA 11 11 $7,329 $7,762
NJCAA 15 15 $2,479 $3,002

The table above shows college basketball scholarships offered at the NCAA Division 1, NCAA Division 2, NJCAA, and NAIA levels. NCAA Division 3 does not offer athletic scholarships but offers other forms of financial aid. The number of scholarships available is based on a fully funded program. Not all schools offer the maximum number of scholarships. Also, some schools have restrictions on scholarship use for out of state and international athletes.

*NCAA Division 3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships but do offer other forms of financial aid.

Not all colleges that are eligible to offer scholarships will choose to do so. For example, Ivy League schools choose not to offer athletic scholarships.

Basketball is a head count sport for both men and women in NCAA D1, which means all scholarships are full-ride scholarships. In all other divisions, basketball is classed as an equivalency sport, which means that coaches can divide the value of the total scholarships allotted to them between as many players as they see fit.

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Basketball Scouting: What do college basketball scouts look for in a player?

You must be aware there are several factors which college basketball recruiters consider before thinking of offering a student-athlete a basketball scholarship. Believe it or not, it all starts on the ability to find you. There are many ways to locate a potential basketball scholarship player:

  • Getting players listed and profiled by recruiting services.
  • Receiving recommendations from high school or club coaches.
  • Searching Twitter for players of interest to competing colleges.
  • Attending AAU Showcases & University-run camps.

Do YOU Fit the College Basketball Recruiter’s Player Traits?

Basketball scholarship monies are carefully handed out by college recruiters so each will carefully weigh numerous aspects involving you play. Are you tall your position at the college level? Are you finished growing? Is your body frame able to add more weight through college basketball conditioning programs? These are all ‘physically-related’ questions basketball recruiters are thinking about when they come to see you play or start watching the video your recruiting service has provided them.

To answer on-court questions, basketball recruiters and coaches will create a checklist regarding your skills. For each part of the checklist, college coaches/recruiters will score you as being Strong, Fair, or Weak. You will be rated for: Boxing Out, Offensive Rebounder, Ball Handling, 1-on-1 Offense, Penetrator, Passing Skills, Quickness, Defense (on the ball), Defense (Away from ball), Spot Shooter, Free Throw Shooter, Aggressiveness, Leadership and Attitude.

Don’t forget your grades – including Overall Grade Point Average and ACT/SAT scores. Be sure you take the college entrance tests, and re-take them if you score poorly. The NCAA Eligibility Center guidelines are for prospective D1 and D2 student-athletes to follow. Strong grades are also important for D3 schools as academic scholarships are available for incoming athletes meeting the award criteria.

When Does Recruiting Begin?

Top collegiate programs will start sending basketball recruiters to watch you as early as when you are in middle school – IF YOU ARE A TOP-TIER TALENT. Other coaches begin the process as you enter the ninth grade of high school. Once a college recruiter shows interest in you make sure to let coaches from the college:

  • Know your high school and AAU schedule
  • Update coaches with newer recruiting video segments (highlight improved areas of your game)
  • Attend summer camps made available at the colleges showing interest
  • Attend showcase events (make sure you inform the basketball recruiters of your attendance)

Learn more about college scouts here.

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How Many College Basketball Teams Are There?

Here is the total number of basketball programs at each division level.

Men’s Basketball Programs

There are approximately 1,844 men’s basketball teams in total.

  • There are 344 NCAA division 1 teams in men’s basketball.
  • There are 282 NCAA division 2 teams in men’s basketball.
  • There are 403 NCAA division 3 teams in men’s basketball.
  • There are 255 NAIA teams in men’s basketball.
  • There are 560 NJCAA teams in men’s basketball.

Women’s Basketball Programs

There are approximately 1,834 women’s basketball teams in total.

  • There are 335 NCAA division 1 teams in women’s basketball.
  • There are 298 NCAA division 2 teams in women’s basketball.
  • There are 426 NCAA division 3 teams in women’s basketball.
  • There are 256 NAIA teams in women’s basketball.
  • There are 519 NJCAA teams in women’s basketball.

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The Average Height of College Basketball Players

These are the general guidelines for size requirements coaches look for in a basketball player. If you fall outside of these marks it doesn’t mean you can’t play at that level only that it might be more difficult.

Men’s Basketball

Point Guard 6’1+ 6’0+ 5’10+ 5’9+
Shooting Guard 6’3+ 6’2+ 6’0+ 5’10+
Small Forward 6’5+ 6’4+ 6’3+ 6’3+
Power Forward 6’7+ 6’6+ 6’5+ 6’4+
Center 6’9+ 6’8+ 6’7+ 6’6+

The average height of a men’s basketball player is 6’3”.

Women’s Basketball

Point Guard 5’8”+ 5’6”+ 5’5”+ 5’6”+
Shooting Guard 5’10”+ 5’8”+ 5’6”+ 5’8”+
Small Forward 5’11”+ 5’10”+ 5’8”+ 5’9”+
Power Forward 6’0+ 5’11”+ 5’9”+ 5’10”+
Center 6’2”+ 6’0”+ 5’11”+ 5’11”+

The average height of a women’s basketball player is 5’6’”.

There isn’t a specific requirement with statistics because everything depends on what type of competition an athlete is playing against. An athlete in a weak division that scores 25+ PPG can be less talented than another athlete who scores only 15 PPG but plays in a higher division.

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How to Get Recruited for College Basketball

  1. Create a target list of schools
  2. Gather contact information for college coaches
  3. Start communication with college coaches
  4. Attend summer basketball camps and showcases
  5. Know the NCAA and NAIA rules and regulations
  6. Know the academic requirements to be eligible

Coaches recruit the top level basketball recruits by the time they are in the 8th grade. If you want to play college basketball but haven’t been contacted by coaches on or soon after September 1st of your junior year, you have fallen way behind. Learn how to contact coaches to be successful.

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What are the Academic Requirements?

  • Graduate high school
  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
  • Take the required NCAA core courses
  • Meet a minimum GPA of 2.3 for division 1 or 2.2 for division 2 schools
  • Meet the minimum requirements for SAT / ACT scores

Depending on your talent, coaches may be more or less flexible with the academic requirements needed to attend their university. The academic requirements to participate for NCAA and NAIA athletics can be found here.

IMPORTANT: You must register with the NAIA Clearinghouse to play sports at the NAIA level. You must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse to play sports at the NCAA level.

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College Basketball Camps and Showcases

Do you know the difference between a basketball camp and a basketball showcase?

Basketball camps are summer camps run by colleges at all levels which have a basketball program. If you are serious about playing for a specific team, it is a great idea to attend one or more of these summer camps. Here’s why:

  • You will be learning the game of basketball from established college coaches. These coaches may teach you something you haven’t learned from your high school or AAU coaches.
  • Exposure – You get the opportunity to show you basketball skills to coaches who may not have heard of you. This exposure is not just to the coaches from the college where the camp is being held. Many times, especially with larger universities, outside coaches (from NCAA D2, D3 or NAIA, e.g.) will be hired to assist as camp coaches due to the sheer number of campers in attendance.
  • Athlete interaction – You will get to talk with athletes from other high schools or AAU teams. It could result in moving onto a better summer league team or gaining insight about recruiting experiences.

Showcases are events held, mostly during the summer, where you can play with other prospective college basketball recruits and display your court talents to college recruiters in attendance. While pricey this may be considered an investment for your desire to play basketball at the collegiate level. Most of these events will offer video of your games to assist in your recruiting process. Aside from possibly playing in front of college basketball recruiters, you will also get a better handle on your overall skills as you may be facing better competition than you do during your high school season.

Get more information about College Basketball Camps.

Choosing a college basketball camp can be a little difficult for you at first, but here are some tips to think about before making a final decision. You have to ask yourself the reason you want to attend a basketball camp. Is it for exposure to college recruiters? Or, is it to hone your basketball skills? Many camps can do both at the same time but you really want to weigh your options – not to mention the total cost you will be facing. For instance, if you are looking to improve your overall game you may want to steer clear of the camps which focus on playing games in front of college recruiters. If you are just entering high school or just completing your sophomore year it may be a great idea to attend a ‘skill’ specific camp. Sharpening your foul shooting, your three-point shot and your ball handling skills are probably most important when you are younger. Camps geared toward college coach exposure are more important as you approach your senior year in high school.

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When is National Signing Day for Basketball?

National Letter of Intent, or National Signing Day as it’s more commonly called, is the specific time when you as student-athlete will decide which scholarship offer you will accept from a college basketball recruiter. For NCAA D1 schools, the next signing day is April 17, 2019 through May 15, 2019. The next period is November 13-20. If you are offered a ‘letter of intent’ you will have seven days to sign and return it to the university’s basketball department. The signed agreement means you will commit to playing for that college for at least one year. The college must also let you know each year if the scholarship has been extended. Even if you sign the letter of intent, you must also be able to meet all of the admissions requirements of the school before actually attending classes. Before signing, you need to be certain this is the school you want to attend. If you request a release from the agreement it may or may not be approved by the university. If it is refused, you will lose one year of eligibility unless you play for a NJCAA or NAIA program.

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Athnet is here to help you in your desire to play basketball at the collegiate level.

Through our many resources – including our website, free online profiles and various partnerships – we will provide you, the college recruit, as well as your family, easy-to-understand advice and subsequent resources to catch the attention from college recruiters. Recruiting and scholarship advice comes to you from our knowledgeable company representatives as each of them carries the experience of a former college coach or player. Your online presence is really a great way to start your recruiting experience. Did you know the vast majority (90%) of college recruiters start the process with an online search of student-athletes?

Build your free recruiting profile today!

420 thousand coaches are in our network of college recruiters and they will be looking at your latest video and statistics included in your profile. Don’t miss out on your chance to get the ‘early’ looks from college recruiters. With an Athnet profile you will be presenting your best at all times, and there’s no need to worry about recruiting rules and eligibility changes. We do our very best to keep you informed of anything which may have an impact on your college recruiting process.

Get started with your profile! Any questions? Please call 1-800-974-2171.

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