When evaluating a high school Basketball prospect scouts have a seemingly endless checklist to go over.
Few, if any, athletes will ever check all or even most of the boxes. But certain traits on these lists carry significantly more weight than others, and athletes are able to compensate for lacking certain abilities with a combination of these high-value traits.
Let's take a look at 5 of the most sought-after traits for college Basketball prospects.
Many young players tend to strongly favor their dominant hands when on the Basketball court. This means that defenses know which way a guard or wing may attack, which shoulder a forward will turn in the post, or which hand a center will try to block a shot with.
Players who favor their dominant hands for the majority of the game make life for the other team much easier. So it makes sense that if a prospect is able to make use of both sides of the court effectively, their talents will be valued at a premium.
For example, Kyrie Irving, who was a top recruit in his class and attended Duke, was able to shed doubts over his less than exceptional athleticism with his ability to dribble and finish with either hand at an elite level.
So, for the athletes that don't possess 40+ inch verticals, start investing more time and effort into strengthening your weaker hand.
An athlete’s play on the court can reveal more than just their physical capabilities.
Scouts always keep an eye out for whether or not a player is running back on defense, communicating, or supporting his teammates. They understand that when they recruit a player, they are inheriting his or her personality as well as their talent.
The first thing a scout is interested in is the player’s work ethic. A player with a reputation for always working on his game holds a higher status than one who doesn’t.
Scouts are also looking for a player who is coachable and is able to follow instructions, as these players are easier to acclimate into a system.
Last but not least, scouts want to see leadership, whether by example or by supporting their teammates. Scouts want a kid that is going to motivate others to be the best version of themselves.
The most common way for scouts to get this intel on a player is through their high school or club team coach. So, make sure you demonstrate these abilities enough for your coach to feel comfortable giving his seal of approval.
The days of every player having a defined role on the court are long gone. In today’s game, each player, regardless of position, is expected to be able to handle a variety of responsibilities on the court.
Athletic wings that can play both sides of the ball are perhaps the most sought-after player type in today's game, and big men that can not attack off the dribble and step out to shoot the 3-pointer are becoming less and less valuable.
Top recruits in the past such as Tyreke Evans, Evan Turner, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are just a few examples of how versatility alone can make you a highly scouted recruit.
2. Shooting Potential
Each year college teams are taking more and more long-range shots, and offenses are putting a strong emphasis on spacing the floor. Because of these trends, it is rare to see a player at a top program with a poor shooting stroke get much playing time.
You will notice that we are talking specifically about shooting “potential” here. This means that scouts are willing to oversee less than stellar shooting percentages in high school if a player’s mechanics are up to par.
Scouts want to see that after a year in college, that a player will be able to become a proper shooting threat on the court.
At the end of the day, the ability to jump out of the gym, beat everyone down the floor, or blow by any defender will always make a college scout drool.
Athleticism, specifically “Explosive” athleticism, is something that you can not teach. So players with this natural ability will always be at the top of the scouting list. Coaches can develop a player’s ball-handling, shooting, and fundamentals, but there's not much they can do in regards to their natural abilities.