What Do College Basketball Coaches Look for in Recruits? How You Can Maximize Getting Recruited

What Do College Basketball Coaches Look for in Recruits? How You Can Maximize Getting Recruited

What college coaches look for in a college basketball recruit will depend on their schools basketball program’s specific needs. The main question college coaches ask themselves is – is this player able to play at this level physically – this ultimately is the main factor. It is a college coaches job to know that if they bring you in as a player, you are going to be strong enough, fast enough, smart enough, to play at the next level.


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

Obviously, there are certain physical traits that College Coaches desire in a recruit and are at the top of their list when it comes to selecting players. These traits are: height, frame size, athleticism and strength, high proficiency in the fundamentals of playing basketball, high basketball IQ (meaning quick to process info & make the right decisions during a game), high GPA and test scores (so they don’t have to worry about being accepted into college and staying eligible throughout the seasons).

These are all the obvious things that most players are aware of, now lets take a more in depth look into what college coaches are really looking for, what they are thinking and what will grab their attention when they are in the recruitment process.

What are College Coaches looking at and think of when they recruit?

These are a few of the things that will be running through the mind of a college coach when he’s watching you play:

  • What’s the level of passion of this player
  • What’s his level of competitiveness
  • What is the players body language towards his teammates
  • How does the player react to a bad call, a miserable shooting night, when their team is struggling, etc.
  • What’s the players response to a coach
  • Identify talent, then watch that player play as much as possible
  • Which players plays hard
  • Which players are consistent at what they do
  • Which players do they want to continue to watch over a lengthy period of time (not just live period)
  • Who has toughness
  • Who has a motor (aka high energy)
  • Basketball IQ – do they make the right plays and have a good feel
  • Skill set/athleticism – can they handle, shoot, pass, show athleticism outside of dunking in warm ups
  • What position can they guard.
  • Can they guard the best players in our league at that position
  • Which players don’t just do one thing and stand out
  • Does the player run back on defense every time

If you want to get noticed by a college coach you are going to have to play hard. The good thing about this is that you are in total control of how hard and smart you play. Another thing you are in total control of is your attitude – this is something all college coaches notice and pick up on. College coaches do not want a player on their team who has a poor/bad attitude so make sure you have your head on right and be self-aware of how you are reacting to a mistake you made, a teammate, a bad night, the coach and the refs. You need to make sure your skill set is sharp and your are in the best possible condition (physically and mentally) to play. Coaches like a player who can shoot, pass and dribble – the full package – so make sure you are working on all three.

Questions to think about as a basketball player looking to play college basketball:

  • Am I willing to listen and learn?
  • How well do I pick up instructions and follow them?
  • Do I whine/complain/sulk?
  • Is my defensive game/skills as good (or better) than my offensive game/skills?
  • Am I studying enough basketball e.g. watching games, studying players, reading online/books etc.?

Are you a Coachable Basketball Payer?

College Coaches will select players who are coachable and willing to buy into what is best for the team. Student athletes who want to get recruited need to show willingness to be coached and show that they will put what’s best for the team first before themselves . College coaches also identify value in a player who can play multiple positions as this allows them more freedom to change their lineup. If you are a player who is “positionless” you will definitely add more value to yourself as a player and therefore increase your chances of getting picked up. However, you must be able to perform at each of the positions very well and proficiently for this to work.

Other ways you can add value to yourself as a college basketball prospect:

So we have covered what the college coaches are looking for in recruits, now lets take a look at a few ways in which you can increase your value as a player and make sure those college coaches are going to notice your highlight video and when your on the floor:

  • Show that you understand what is going on in the game by helping teammates get set & make shots
  • Show in your highlights that you can read the defense and make good decisions
  • Box out on every single shot
  • Show you can communicate at a high level, having active hands, rotate correctly etc.
  • Show you can play off the ball by focusing on cutting hard, setting screens, spacing the floor correctly etc.
  • Spend time in the weight room following a quality basketball specific program to increase size and strength
  • Make sure you are doing speed and agility drills as part of your training
  • Don’t limit yourself by only focusing on one skill (like shooting) focus on all aspects to bring up your whole game collectively
  • Have a solid academic work ethic
  • Work on your maturity by making good decisions on and of the court

Questions to ask College Coaches that are recruiting you

So when you have a college coach who is actively recruiting you, here are some good questions for you to ask them:

  • Check to see if they offer the major you want to take
  • Ask them what position they see you playing in their program
  • What type of role do they see you having on the team
  • Ask if they see you as a starter right away
  • If it is not a D1 school ask how much of the scholarship will cover


If you can do these things, college coaches will have confidence that you will be able to run their system if they offer you a spot on their roster. If you put in the hard work and dedication that it takes, you will get noticed and if you take notice of the information provided in this article, it should help you increase your chances of playing college basketball.


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