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Monday, December 10, 2018

Basketball: How Not to Earn a Scholarship

You have a million dreams about that pot of gold at the end of the basketball rainbow. But do you know that everything goes into the pot, not just boxscores? "Can you handle the truth?"

1. Academics rule. "There is no ability without eligibility." Great basketball talents get shut out as non-qualifiers. NCAA eligibility standards are clear. Grades aren't everything, but they matter. "Academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence." But you won't make chicken soup from chicken feathers. "Become a learning machine." 

2. Teammates matter. Dean Smith said, "I would never recruit a player who yells at his teammates, disrespected his high school coach, or scores 33 points a game and his team goes 10-10."

3. Behavior counts. "Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say." Princeton coach Pete Carril said, "I don't recruit players who are nasty to their parents. I look for players who realize the world doesn't revolve around them." It even matters in the NBA, where Gregg Popovich says, "get over yourself." Be engaged on the bench; support your teammates. 

4. First impressions last. Be on time. Be presentable. Stand up or sit up straight. Look people in the eye; have a firm handshake. Speak thoughtfully. If you don't know, say that you don't know. Think about the five must answers for plebes at Annapolis, "yes,sir," "no,sir," "aye aye, sir," "right away, sir," and "I don't know but I'll find out sir." 

5. Be positive. Don't dismiss opponents, teammates, or coaches. 

6. Take pride in yourself. Coaches seek winners. Loyola of Chicago coach Porter Moser looks for players who lead their teams to state championships. Leaders make leaders. Winners make winners. Criminal records and failed drug tests kill dreams. 

7. Understand social proof. Social media fingerprints your character. Free speech doesn't allow us to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. "Don't let 140 characters take away a $140,000 scholarship." When your social media presence screams intolerance, racism, sexism, and abuse, no coach needs that headache (you). 

8. Body language is authentic. The majority of communication is non-verbal. Scowling and eye rolls at coaches and officials sends a clear message. Roy Williams discusses a player who fouled out and sprinted to the water cooler to get drinks for teammates. He got the job. 

9. Respect the game. Signal a teammate for a good pass. Raise your hand on a foul. Let the referees officiate. Hand the ball to the official. Don't taunt opponents or fans. 

10.Show energy and energize your teammates. Energy is contagious; lack of energy also is. 

We all project an image. Do everything to enhance yours. Do nothing to embarrass yourself or your team. Make your brand terrific. 

And coaches, coach up a million dreams. 

Lagniappe: via Chris Oliver (Horns into Spain PnR)
Lagniappe 2. Wing staggered screen into Spain PnR. 

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