One of the best kept secrets that I do not hear many athletes or parents talking about is how important getting to the State tournament is in basketball. Although AAU is vital, the second best time to break out is at your State tournament. It doesn’t matter what State you play in but the fact that the majority of college coaches make an appearance can show you how important it is.
The most interesting fact about a State basketball tournament is that most lower level coaches at the Division III and NAIA level would prefer their recruits not to get to the State tournament. Many of these coaches have seen an athlete that likes their school end up blowing up that week and then ending up at a Division II or Junior College program.
When talking to coaches at that level, they all say that they want their recruits to do well. But if they are to lose the game before the State tournament, it wouldn’t be that bad of a thing to happen. Many athletes have also done enough to play themselves into a scholarship because of an impressive performance.
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Last year, one player ended up having a great State tournament and received his first scholarship offer after having led his team to the title. The school was pressuring him to decide within the month after they offered him but the recruit decided to play the first few months of AAU basketball. Like he did at State, this recruit blew up in front of college coaches and nearly ended up with ten scholarship offers. He ended up going far away from home to college but it was at a school that he had dreamed of playing for.
As mentioned above, college coaches from all levels attend the State tournament for at least one day. Some Division III leagues even have their end of the year meetings with the coaches in the same city as the State tournament so they can check out the games later that day. In a smaller Midwestern State, I was able to count at least thirty coaches in attendance. They were there from all over the country to see these prospects.
These coaches are watching to see who the break out star of the State tournament is going to be. In a tournament that I watched, I saw two juniors really help improve their stock during the week at State. While I am unsure if they have added any offers at this point, I really would not be surprised to see their stock to continue to rise.
The biggest thing as a basketball player is to find away to make it to State. It obviously depends on if four teams in your class gets there or eight, it is important to be able to showcase your skills in front of as many coaches as possible. The more opportunity that you get, the better in the long run.