What are you doing for 2 months?

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In 2015, the months of May and June are EXTREMELY important for a high school basketball player looking to make a name regionally, nationally or ADD to his/her resume amongst scouts and college coaches nationwide! Recently I tweeted that “The JUMP you make from April to July can shape your entire future!” I have always known this to be true since my early high school days, but after talking with many D1/D2 coaches over the past several weeks it’s apparent the stakes are even higher in the present day of NCAA basketball. The LIVE periods where Division 1 coaches specifically (and all other levels D2, D3, NAIA, JUCO) can watch you play are limited and the amount of camps/AAU tournaments going on during those LIVE April/July periods are abundant. Coaching staffs are spread thin around the country and can’t be everywhere. There are also multiple divisions/brackets at these AAU tournaments across the country, so it’s hard to be showcased or be in the TOP bracket where D1/D2 coaches will usually flock to. At the end of the day, windows of opportunity can be large, non existent or somewhere in between. It’s up to YOU to realize what window you have and prepare accordingly!

The 2 months between April and July LIVE periods have to be a time for self reflection, self discipline and sweat! First, you need to make sure your GRADES are closing out strong in the classroom & you are staying on track for that 3.0 or higher for the year. As I’ve written about many times in articles on Vigliancohoops.com, grades are the #1 or #2 thing a coach asks me about when recruiting a player! If you SLACK in the classroom you eliminate 50%-100% of college offers (depending on how good of a basketball player you are.) This is NOT a joke! Get your grades in check and finish the school year on a high note!

Self reflection is about swallowing your pride, being honest with yourself and realizing what you have to work on in the 2 months prior to July. Ask your coach, trainer, or college coach that is interested in you, what you need to improve to be more marketable. Obviously not everyone has your best interest at heart or knows the game well, so ask someone you TRUST for real constructive criticism.

Self discipline is about spending quality time in the gym! Working on your weaknesses, honing your skills, and going game speed is key over May and June. You have spent an entire high school season and the April month for AAU basketball in a TEAM type setting. The months of May and June are crucial for your individual growth!

Do whatever it takes to improve YOUR game:

  • Watch film from your April AAU season and find things to work on.
  • Go to random gyms and play against people that can ball, but don’t know you.
  • Get in the weight room to add strength and eat properly! You can’t go into the GRIND of July on a 2 month diet of Doritos, Coke and fast-food!
  • Get help from someone you trust and who knows the game. There are many frauds and liars in the basketball world!
  • Try and get honest feedback of what areas you need to improve on and ATTACK those weaknesses!
  • Put up thousands of shots a week! Make sure you are working game speed or situational shooting!
  • Get up early and go to bed at a reasonable time. It’s 2 months of your life that could change your future! Getting up early to train can be a great regiment to start! Get to bed early, because your day has been that demanding and rewarding!
  • Take advantage of AAU practices and high school practices. I would go out looking to dominate every chance I got!
  • Make more time for “ME” and less time for “THEM”. Remember, this life isn’t for everyone. TRUE friends will understand your time commitment and sacrifice for YOUR goals!

SWEAT!! Get your butt in the gym and get in shape! If you walk into your first NCAA certified tournament in July out of shape YOU are the only one to blame. Seeing players out of shape in July makes me sick. How do you think college coaches feel? They’ll spot out an out of shape player in a second and classify you as LAZY!

I truly want the kids in Nebraska to accomplish their basketball goals. I only speak the truth and can’t stress how hard a D1 scholarship (or other scholarships being D2, NAIA, JUCO) is to come by. I know everyone wants or thinks they’ll play college basketball, but the numbers DON’T LIE. Statistics show that only 1%-3% of kids in the entire country will get a D1 scholarship each year. Reality is a tough pill to swallow, but the sooner you realize HOW HARD THIS PATH truly is, hopefully you won’t take any more time for granted and increase your percentages!