Hardwood High School Vol. II: High School Basketball Recruiting Rules

December 1, 2011
by Justin

Welcome back to Hardwood High School, your top tier source for tips, techniques, drills, and information about everything in high school basketball. Last week’s #HHS was the first of many of the weekly blog from the @HempsteadHuddle, so check back every week for more insightful pieces. Volume one was about the importance of great defense, and highlighted two lockdown defenders, Gary Payton and Hall of Famer, Scottie Pippen. This week is all about you, the high school basketball player who is looking for the best opportunity to play at the next level. If you have yet to play a varsity high school basketball game, you may want to take heed and do some research about the high school basketball recruiting rules that are in your state.

High School-to-High School Transfer

Ideally, you want to stay at your high school all four years, but if you feel that the only hardwood experience you’ll have in high school basketball is sitting on the pine, then transferring to another high school is a solid option. I’ve seen this situation several times in many sports; there is a backlog at a particular position and in high school basketball, that position is usually at the point guard spot.

Sitting on the bench will never give you the chance to play at the next level, this is why understanding your state, regional and district recruiting rules are imperative. Some coaches are not allowed to recruit from other schools within their own district, and if a player transfers with a year of varsity sports under their belt, they may have to sit out a year. For example, Arizona is a state that has strict recruiting rules in place, that will cause you to lose a year of athletic eligibility if you transfer with any varsity experience.

Do Your Research

Transferring to a high school that has a need at your position is great, but that shouldn’t be your only focus; you never want to transfer into a losing high school basketball program. Losing programs are notorious for their lack of alumni who turn out to play beyond high school. Finding a team that has a need at your given position is an excellent tactic in getting to the next level. Look for a high school that has a solid academic history along with a winning high school basketball legacy.

I transferred from a public to private high school my senior year, and it was the best decision I made in high school. Not only was my transfer a move that cultured and educated me, it ended up being my ticket to the next level. My new school, though it was small, was known for cranking out NCAA athletes from all sports, so I had better access to recruiters from all over the country. The only thing I would have done different would have been me transferring at the beginning of my junior year; that’s how enriching the experience was for me as a high school student-athlete at my alma mater.

Ride the Shooting Star

Now I’m never the one to ride another person’s coattail, but in the case of high school basketball recruiting, playing alongside another top athlete will never hurt your recruiting. I’m reminded of current, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Michael Conley, who was a great athlete by his own merit, that joined forces in high school with former number one pick, Greg Oden. Conley’s game was raw in high school, but because of his experience at Lawrence North with Greg Oden, he became a higher commodity as a high school basketball recruit. Most recruiters felt that he and Oden were a package deal, so every recruiter that offered Oden a scholarship, offered Conley one automatically. Conley ended up playing in the national championship his first year of college and rode that momentum into the NBA Draft’s lottery as the fourth pick. Even though Conley had plenty of skill, he may have never gotten his notoriety if he hadn’t played with such a major high school basketball star.

There are politics at every level of athletics; your job is to never allow the politics to get involved with your success in your sport. Understanding the high school basketball recruiting rules, along with the other important disciplines of basketball, are you ticket to the next level. Check back next week for another installment of Hardwood High. Until then, this is Yorick Hempstead signing off.


Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.


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