Last week I wrote about how far too many talented hard-working players don’t get the exposure they need for the right opportunity to come their way.
It’s why we need more basketball scouts.
I focused that letter on the United States high school-college pipeline, which is where I recommend aspiring American basketball scouts begin.
But this gap is by no means unique to the States.
We have many international readers here at Basketball Scouting Guide, from Nigeria to Singapore to Norway to Iran. I’ve heard similar stories from them over the last several years about how many players go unscouted.
It doesn’t matter where you live. Universal principles apply.
That’s why I recommend you start scouting by becoming a go-to scout where you are.
And the smaller the scale, the better.
I’ve had people write to me and say that they’re afraid they can’t get into scouting because they don’t live in a big basketball city like New York or Los Angeles.
But the truth is it can take more work to stand out in a place like that.
It doesn’t take much to become the go-to scout in a small niche.
If you live in Iowa or rural California or eastern Oregon, it’s possible for you to become the go-to scout for information on young basketball prospects in a short amount of time.
If you’re in a bigger metro area, you might take a more tailored path.
I’m reminded of something journalist and author Derek Thompson said when asked what advice he’d give young aspiring writers. (I first heard this quote relayed by James Clear.)
THOMPSON: “…there is a paradox to scale, I think. People who want to be big sometimes think, “I have to immediately reach the largest possible audience.” But in a weird way, the best way to produce things that take off is to produce small things. To become a small expert. To become the best person on the internet at understanding the application of Medicaid to minority children, or something like that.
And the reason why I think this is true I call my Tokyo example. If you go to Tokyo, you’ll see there are all sorts of really, really strange shops. There’ll be a shop that’s only 1970’s vinyl and like, 1980’s whisky or something. And that doesn’t make any sense if it’s a shop in a Des Moines suburb, right? In a Des Moines suburb, to exist, you have to be Subway. You have to hit the mass-market immediately.
But in Tokyo, where there’s 30-40 million people within a train ride of a city, then your market is 40 million. And within that 40 million, sure, there’s a couple thousand people who love 1970’s music and 1980’s whisky. The Internet is Tokyo. The Internet allows you to be niche at scale.
Niche at scale is something that I think young people should aspire to.”
You can find the right approach for where you are.
If you live in Des Moines, focus on becoming the go-to scout on young prospects in driving distance of Des Moines.
If you live in New York, your way forward might be focusing on scouting Division III level prospects who play in the city.
More on this next week, including the real value of being a go-to scout and how it can open up your whole path forward.