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Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

ByScotty Jenkins

4 min read

Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

Getting ranked - it’s the ultimate goal and source of motivation for many basketball players across the country. Players, parents, coaches, and fans check websites, magazines, and scouting services to find out who are the top players, the elite among the good, the best of the best.

Ranking services begin ranking players at an early age; there have even been rankings of the top 3rd graders in the country!

Rankings can provide a quasi-measuring stick for how you compare to other players in your class, region, state, or even nationally. For many, rankings can serve as a glimpse into the next generation of basketball superstars to potentially put on your watch radar. A few use rankings to gauge correlation status between past superstars and prospect potential of playing for top colleges and professionally.

With so much media attention and influence on rankings, many high school basketball players might wonder if they should be worried if they are not ranked. The succinct answer is: “Absolutely not!”

Rankings have utterly no bearing on if you receive a college basketball scholarship. Rather than focusing on rankings, it’s most crucial to spend your time and energy dedicated to improving your skill-set on the court.

Here are four truths about rankings and why you shouldn’t be worried if you are not ranked:


Recruits Have Little Control Of Rankings

Media pundits, camp directors, and scouting services are the ones who produce rankings. Some of the factors that go into the rankings are completely out of a player’s control. It’s important to remember that a player is ranked comparative to other players within that demographic, which could be location, position, or age group.

For example, if a male player is ranked as a 6’2” point guard, but has an eight inch growth spurt and becomes a 6’10” player with the same skill-set, he would certainly jump in the rankings.

Also, you have no control of how many players a person who’s producing the rankings sees or which tournaments & camps they attend. A player’s ranking can increase or decrease simply based on who sees them on which stage. The only thing that a player can control is his or her play on the court!


Rankings Of Athletes Are Highly Subjective

The most important thing to remember is that rankings are somebody’s opinion! An evaluator doing the rankings might be partial to players who are from a certain organization due to the organization’s previous history of players they developed. Some are partial to players who play in their organization on their AAU or travel teams.

There are even some evaluators so think more favorably of players who subscribe to their services or attend their camps. Biases are rampant within services or companies that produce rankings reports.


Rankings Do Not Guarantee Success In College or A Path To The NBA or WNBA

Throughout history, it’s been proven that rankings have no bearing on success at the next level. There have been players who weren’t ranked among the top 100 players in the country who later became first round lottery NBA and WNBA draft picks. Additionally, there have been players who weren’t ranked among the top 100 in the country who became NCAA National Player of the Year. Conversely,

there have been players who were among the top ranked players in the country during their prep careers, but never achieved All-American status in college or got drafted to the NBA or WNBA. Once you get in college, nobody cares about your rankings during your prep career. You will have to work extremely hard and be dedicated to experience success and achieve your goals!


Very Few Athletes Actually Get Ranked

In 2018-2019, the National Federation of State High School Associations conducted a High School Athletic Participation Survey which showed that 540,000 high school student athletes play basketball. If you take a ranking list of the top 100 players in the country, it statistically means that the ranking represents approximately a minuscule 0.0002 percent of players in the country!

Keep in mind that there are thousands of roster spots in college basketball when you combine all of the levels. Not getting ranked doesn't mean that you don’t have the ability to play college basketball. College basketball teams at all levels have rosters filled with players who were never ranked!


It’s important to keep in mind that rankings are merely a snapshot in time. If you desire to play college basketball, remember that it only takes one coach to be interested enough to give you a college basketball scholarship and a chance to play college basketball. That college basketball coach will like you if you are ranked #3 or #3,000!

Rather than focusing on rankings, focus on improving your skill-set in order to increase your chances of obtaining a college basketball scholarship and ultimately finding the right fit for you to achieve your academic and athletic dreams!


Keiwaine Hicks is a contributing basketball writer for GMTM. He is a graduate of Duke University, has over 20 years experience coaching basketball at various levels, and is passionate about helping student-athletes achieve maximum success."

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