Want to Play College Basketball? This might be the most valuable piece of advice.

Want to play college basketball? This might be the most valuable piece of advice you'll receive. 


This article is written by Mason Waters, a current high school basketball coach and most recently an NCAA Division 2 assistant coach.

If you want to enjoy a productive and memorable college basketball career, please pay attention to the wisdom within this article. I want to help you make the best decision possible. Selecting a college to play for is such an emotional decision and it's important to not allow emotion to outweigh reason. 

College basketball is a world of instability. Not only are coaches on the hot seat and constantly in search of the next best job, players are also constantly on the move. In men’s basketball, 40% of division 1 players aren’t even in the same program by the end of their sophomore year. In other words, 4 out of 10 men’s D1 players don't last at one school for more than two years! 

What is the cause of this transfer problem? Is it that kids today are only interested in immediate satisfaction, and aren’t willing to earn more minutes? For some, this is the case. Other times, parents push their child into some foolish decision that ultimately ends up being the wrong program to play for. There are multiple factors. 

Other times, transfers are to blame because of bad coaches. Like any demographic or profession, coaching has honest, admirable, genuine people in the business. I know so many of them! At the same time, there are some slimy, misleading coaches who claim they care about kids, but really only care about winning games.

These types of coaches are a problem because they mislead kids and their families in regards to their decision to play college basketball. On campus visits they promise the best dorms, 5-star meals, and unlimited gear. I’m not being overly critical, a college coach’s livelihood is dependent upon their ability to recruit and develop elite players so there is pressure to be insincere or put on a show in order to recruit better players. However, this leads to a lot of situations where a college basketball player arrives on campus with 100 promises, only to find that most of them were fabricated or directly untrue. So what can a player do to avoid that? This leads me to the main point of this article.

Ask current and former players on the team about their experience playing for that coach and school and let that feedback carry weight in your decision-making. Honest, genuine coaches will be glad to know that you are receiving this advice because their players will speak well on their behalf. On the other hand, if you learn some more negative news about particular programs or players, this simple piece of advice could save you a lot of trouble; transferring, lack of playing time, unfulfilled promises, all can be avoided by simply talking with the current and former players from a particular team or program.

What specifically can you ask?

  • Ask the players if the coaches were honest during their recruitment
  • Ask what it’s like to play for that coaching staff and if the team culture is healthy
  • Ask players if they are supported enough academically
  • Ask if they are being intentionally developed as players and if they believe they are truly getting better

These are just a few, of many questions, you can ask current and former players on a particular college team to learn more about the program. Outside of academics and the opportunity to earn minutes, I believe this is the most important piece of advice I could give a basketball player who wants to play college basketball.

There are so many more important pieces of wisdom that will help a player or parent of a player make the best decision about where to play college basketball. If you’re interested in earning and choosing the best possible college basketball career for you, checkout a a book I wrote for you HERE. I really believe it will help you achieve your dreams and go down the best route possible. 


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  • Really good stuff. I speak to campers about 3 times a year and try to impart some of this wisdom. The entire recruiting process is skewed to benefit coaches/colleges IMO. Players are only now starting to learn they have a LITTLE leverage and ability to hold coaches accountable for those promises that occasionally are intentionally misleading or just outright lies. I get discouraged often by these promises, BUT I do recognize players and parents broadly speaking think they are a little or a lot better than they actually are.

    Andrew Force

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