My open thoughts to sophomores in this juco world

To whom it may concern:

For some of you guys, I may be the twitter guy who tweets out scores. To others, I may be the guy who overlooks their program and pays attention to the bigger programs. To some, I may be that guy who lashes out when you catch me on a bad day. But one thing that I can say I do is try and do the job to the best of my ability. With that being said lets go back to 1998 where I was standing in the same shoes that many of you guys will be in later this spring. My sophomore year I was an all state player, playing for a successful team at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia in the Central Valley of California and all I could think about was playing division one basketball. After all the success I had on the court where I scored over 1000 points had over 500 rebounds I forgot to do the main job which was to be a student.

Chapter One

First things first, not everyone is a division one player. I don’t think some of you realize how hard it is to come out of junior college here in California and play at that level. I get it, as I was in your shoes and had that dream, but in the four years I have covered basketball in the juco world, I honestly have to say it has been less than 10% that have moved on to that level. Now, the last thing I am doing is trying to diminish hopes and dreams, as I feel all of you reading this should shoot for the starts. My advice is don’t be sold on that dream if you:

a. Know your not doing the job in the classroom

b. Haven’t heard from a division one school all season

c. Don’t have the realistic attributes (height, weight, athelticism, etc.) of playing at that level.

Let’s keep it real, if you are a 6-5 post player that doesn’t jump out the gym and affect games (and I have nothing against smaller post men) then what are your chances of being that division one guy. If you are that undersized guard that doesn’t have the it factor and being a great distributor and running a team first then what are your chances of being a division one player. If you are that big time athlete on the wing that cant shoot and guys are playing you in the paint then be realistic with your play.

What some of you guys need to understand is that numbers don’t equivalate towards a division one scholarship. Just because you put up big numbers it does not mean you are better than another player who averages less and so on. It is called wants, needs, and in this game it is also called role playing. So when division 2 university x gives you a call, don’t play the I’m too big for you role especially if you know that you are not a good student. My advice to all of you is don’t just be sold on division one basketball. You should ultimately go to a place where they want you and it fits the needs that you want. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you are being recruited. Ask academic questions, depth chart questions, job security of the coach, living situations, and other logical questions that interest you.

Chapter Two

There is nothing wrong with division two basketball or playing at the NAIA level. At the end of the day, if you are able to get your education paid for then you have made it and took a great step in your future for life after basketball. Yea I get it as I didn’t see myself playing at that level as well especially after I was giving people buckets who played at the division one level but man sometimes you have to get in where you fit in and make the best of the situation we put ourselves in. Some of you guys will wind up their due to not enough transferable units, and other things but the best thing you can do is take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself for you.

The Spring Time Blues

I just sent out a tweet about this,  as the next 8-12 weeks will be the most important time of the year for players trying to move on. The spring time is that time of the year where you don’t have to go to practice. The sun is out, and there are so many distractions but you have to find a way to keep your eyes on the prize. I get it and their will be days where you don’t go to class, but don’t let it turn into consecutive days (and by no means am I saying to skip class in the first place) where it turns into you missing key assignments, quizzes and test to where you are playing catch up and being that extra credit student trying to get that 68 up to a 70. If a school is recruiting player A who has a 3.0 and has no trouble in the classroom, and then there is you player B who is on the borderline of being eligible or may have to take the “dreaded” summer classes, guess who All American State University is going to take. Why even put yourself in that situation? Classes are about an hour long in most cases and if you have three classes a day for three days a week, that is equivalent to a practice. I mean I know 2k is lit, but dang my dudes I don’t think its that hard to sacrifice three hours and maybe an hour of homework so you can move on to the next destianation.

The Blame Game

Dont be that guy that blames the coach for not helping you when you are trying to move on to another school. My advice to you guys wanting to move on who aren’t getting the looks that you want is communicate with your coach. If you did not have the season you wanted and don’t have numbers, take an initiative and at least let a coach know you have an interest of playing ball. If you don’t feel like your coach is doing the job, then do it yourself. With the internet, it is so easy to find an email of a coach or a school that you have an interest in attending. I get the part where the university may call your coach back, at the end of the day you have to understand a coaches reputation is on the line. So if you weren’t easy to get along with, then you have to look at yourself in the mirror and figure out how to fix the problem.  At the end of the day be realistic about your wishlist and do not burn bridges as the same people you see on the way up are and could be the same ones you see coming down from your success.

Coaching Guide 101

Ive never been a coach and I have never been in a situation where I have the power to control someone’s future. A lot of times we only hear the good side of things when it is about a kid who you like. At the end of the day, I get it, this game is about winning as you are trying to eat, but don’t forget about what the real job is which is to turn these young men, to grown man. It is also about getting them opportunities like they gave you by choosing your program when the kids decided to choose your school. I understand relationships change and expectations do as well, but my thing is giving kids a chance to succeed in life. If player A was good enough to be recruited to your program two years ago, then have the heart to be honest to him and move him on. I get it some kids have character issues and you have a reputation to keep, but be honest with the kids and don’t keep them guessing. I have saw programs that win a lot that don’t move guys on, and I have saw programs that win less but move more guys out. Give these kids a chance.

All in all I may be that twitter guy that post scores and I may not be the guy who coaches go to about when they want to get their players out to four year universities across the nation. It is bigger than that for me, I love doing this and there is a reason why I am still around after four years doing this on my own time. You can like me or dislike some of the things that I say but when it comes to providing info or experience to the equation that comes priceless and that’s what makes Signal The Light Basketball as we signal many lights and try and make a difference in a positive aspect any way we can.