I find this time of year good for self-reflection. 🌫
My birthday was a few weeks ago. The weather is starting to turn wintery on the Oregon Coast where I live. Lots of rain and wind. My schedule is slowing down. Plenty of room to think.
Lately I’ve thought more about why I do what I do. Basketball included.
I love thinking about how players and teams fit together. What works, what doesn’t.
That in itself interests me. But it’s not what drives me at this point.
I’ve found myself thinking back to when I first started.
There was something I discovered when I worked as a high school scout that genuinely shocked me.
I couldn’t believe how big of an information gap there was.
I had read sites like Scout and Rivals and The HOOP SCOOP for years. When I came in to the business, I believed that the high school scouting and recruiting ground was covered.
All these sites featured player rankings hundreds of names long! The country appeared to be well-scouted.
Didn’t that mean that things were working — that most high school players ended up with colleges that suited their talent level?
That’s what I thought.
When I got on the inside, it quickly became apparent to me that wasn’t true. Not at all.
Math helps put it into perspective.
Think about what a numbers game it is.
There are about 350 Division I college basketball teams, each with about 13 scholarship players. That makes for about 4,500 players.
There are another 3,000 Division II college basketball players.
Division III? I didn’t know it going in, but D3 is by far the largest NCAA Division. There are more than 400 schools, which means there are more than 5,500 players.
That puts us at more than 13,000 NCAA basketball players.
That tally doesn’t even include the 250 NAIA schools and the 450 NJCAA junior colleges, among other playing opportunities.
Those high school rankings a couple hundred players long don’t make much of a dent in those numbers, do they?
How much coverage could the vast majority of those 13,000 players be getting?
Little to none, right?
Here’s my point.
There are a handful of people out there scouting high school basketball. Many of them choose to focus on the most exciting, recruited players.
There’s the information gap I mentioned.
Thousands and thousands of high school basketball players in the United States get next to zero coverage from scouts or the media.
They rely on luck, chance connections, and relationships outside their control to get college scholarship offers.
We need more basketball scouts.
It’s not an efficient system. Look how many players transfer every year, either by their own choice or because they’re pushed out due to not being the right fit.
There’s work to be done.
It’s what drives me to do what I do.
As I’m writing this letter, I’m finishing up a session of a basketball scouting class I’ve been teaching through Sports Management Worldwide for the last few years.
I find meaning in helping people like you on this journey in basketball because for as competitive as this industry gets, we’re all on the same team.
The more scouts we have …
… the more young basketball players can get the opportunity to compete at the next level …
… and the more college basketball coaches can get connected with players who can help them, players they’re excited to work with and support.
It’s why I’m here.
Thanks for being along on this ride with me.