Considering Becoming a D1 Basketball Walk-On – READ THIS FIRST!

Becoming a D1 basketball walk-on is hard work! Many don’t want to hear this but it is the truth. As a walk-on, by definition, you don’t receive any athletic scholarships.  All walk-on’s pay their own tuition which includes: room and board and, the majority of walk-on’s do the heavy lifting at practice. At best, as a walk-on you get a small role on the team but, always remember that your position on the roster is not guaranteed. Being a walk-on has it’s pro’s and con’s so let’s take a look and see what becoming an D1 walk-on entails so you can figure out if this is the right path you want to take.

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Why do NCAA D1 Schools have walk on opportunities?

NCAA D1 basketball teams hold try outs for players. College coaches have these tryouts because they know that there are some talented players that, for whatever reason, have been over looked. Maybe they didn’t play high school  basketball or, they played for a high school basketball team but that didn’t bring them a lot of attention from college coaches or scouts.

What are the expectations of a walk-on at the NCAA D1 Level?

NCAA Division 1 teams each have 13 scholarships, NAIA Division 1 teams each have 11. All these teams still need walk-on players to fill the various roles with the team. The following, is a list of what is expected of you if you decided to become walk-on:

Whatever the case maybe, if you think you have what it takes to succeed as a college walk-on make sure you are treating every practice like a tryout. You need to give 100% during every workout, practice, scrimmage and game. If you can embrace the “underdog mentality” and work extremely hard, there is a chance you can earn playing time as well as earning the respect of the head coach and coaching staff.

What are the different types of walk-ons?

Typically, as most people imagine when you say “walk-on” they think of a player who didn’t get recruited.  Instead they are usually the player who has enrolled at the college or university and made their way to basketball tryouts to make the team. College coaches tend to be committed to their scholarship players because the school has already made a financial investment in them and, the coach has his reputation to uphold. A lot, but not all college coaches, see their walk-on players as their to push their scholarship players. However, there are different types of walk-on’s so lets take a look and see what the differences are:

What does PREFERRED D1 Basketball WALK-ON mean?

As a preferred walk-on a coach guarantees you a spot on the roster, but you still don’t receive an athletic scholarship. You can also have some of the same “perks” as full scholarship or partial scholarship players in regards to training and educational resources. (NOTE: it is sometimes possible to get a partial scholarship the following year in some cases). Preferred walk-on’s are first in line when a roster spot opens up (for whatever reason that may be).

What does RECRUITED D1 Basketball WALK-ON mean?

As a recruited walk-on a coach wants you on the team but your position on the roster is not guaranteed (Remember, If you are a recruited walk-on player you become subject to the transfer rules). It also means that there is no financial assistance. Often, recruited walk-on players must earn a spot on the college basketball team through extra try outs or cam even be required summer training camp.

What does NOT-RECRUITED D1 Basketball WALK-ON mean?

A not-recruited walk-on is when you work your way onto the team by enrolling at the school and attending an open tryout or you have worked it out with the college through an agency or have previously contacted the coaches and made contact on your own. This is the route taken by players who are not on any schools radar. If you are going to go down this route you are going to have to go out of your way to make yourself know to the coaching staff. There are various ways you can do this, these include:  emailing or handing in your high school or junior college game film, making yourself stand out from the crowd by asking questions and/or having discussions with assistant coaches to show them your shrewdness for the game. Please keep in mind that this is the most difficult way to get on to a college basketball team. However, the majority of schools “leave the door open” for young, talented and ambitious basketball players to get an opportunity in this way and make the team.

Do I need to sign anything as a D1 Basketball walk-on?

The answer to this is no because you are not receiving an athletic scholarship but, if you are a preferred walk-on you are important to the the team and getting a preferred walk-on spot on the team IS worth celebrating for sure! these are very competitive spots to get so getting one is an achievement.

CONCLUSION:

When deciding if becoming a walk-on is the right path for you, you have to consider many factors: take a really good look at the school & it’s cultures to see if this lines up well with you, communicate with coaches and get a good understanding of what your role will be and how they run their program, and most importantly, does it financially work for your budget/situation. Some players have been known to turn down a scholarship offer for a chance to compete for their dream D1 program as a preferred walk-on. Other players who don’t want to pass up on a great scholarship from a smaller school leave their dream of playing for a bigger school and opt for the best financial option.

Whatever the case maybe, if you think you have what it takes to succeed as a college walk-on make sure you are treating every practice like a tryout. You need to give 100% during every workout, practice, scrimmage and game. If you can embrace the “underdog mentality” and work extremely hard, there is a chance you can earn playing time as well as earning the respect of the head coach and coaching staff.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL OPENINGS

Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots

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