How to Get Recruited: College Recruiting Process Guide


What does recruiting mean?

Recruiting is one of the most fun, and yet one of the most stressful things you could ever go through in your life. 

Recruiting is when a potential college program likes you and wants you to attend their school. And depending on the level, they will offer you money (in the form of scholarships) to go to their school. And I guess the NIL too, but we won’t go there yet. 

So when a school is recruiting you, they are interested in you attending and they will begin to make contact with you to try and persuade you to choose their school. 

What is the college recruiting process?

Your typical college recruiting process will start when the college is first interested in you. Now you can try and start to make contact, and legally be allowed to make contact way before they can contact you, but it usually gets serious once they start pursuing you. 

A college will become interested in you either after they’ve heard word of how talented you are, or what normally happens, is that they will become interested after they’ve seen you play. Whether in person or on film. If they are interested, they will make contact. 

Once they’ve made contact with you, they will keep tabs on you. They will have a coach reach out and text you and see how everything has been. Some schools will send you questionnaires to get a feel for who you are, what you want, and what you’re about. But overall just try and start a relationship with you. 

After that they will begin to attend practices and games. This is when coaches will get a little bit more serious about you as a player. It’s a big waste of time to visit potential student athletes if you’re not interested as a school. So this is a big step in the right direction. 

After they’ve done that the next two steps could flip flop in order. But the next two steps include a visit (unofficial or official) to campus, and also a college offer. 

At the D1 (division 1) and D2 (division 2) this will include athletic scholarship money, but in D3 (division 3) they can only get you academic scholarship money. 

When does the recruiting process begin?

The recruiting process could really begin whenever. You’ll hear stories of kids getting offered in Middle School. However, that doesn’t really count. Because coaches can’t legally talk to an athlete first (meaning to initiate the contact) until January 1st of their sophomore year, and scholarships and unofficial visits can’t happen until the end of the summer after your sophomore year. 

So if a coach is already visiting your school they are allowed to talk to you, but they can’t initiate any contact. 

So the recruiting process truly begins in the summer/fall of your junior year. 

What do college coaches look for when recruiting?


People think that they need to get buckets and/or be super athletic to get scholarship offers. 

How FALSE this is. 

Sure, if you’re able to do those things at a high level then you will most likely be recruited. And everyone, to an extent (for their own high school) should be able to score the basketball. But if scoring is the only thing that you can do then it’s going to be hard to get recruited. 

We talk about this a lot more in depth in a future article.

How do you get recruited?

Recruiting, for the majority of high school basketball players, is not something that comes easy. For the top players in the country/state it comes easy because their names are known, they may be “ranked”, and coaches spend hours trying to find people. 

But for most of us, we have to be the initiator of the recruitment process. Back when I was in high school (near the beginning of HUDL), not everyone had Hudl. So sometimes you had to make your own highlight tape, and that’s what I did.

We were put in the position to make the tape, put it on a CD, and then send the CD out to the labeled addresses of these universities. 

Now, it’s much easier to get the information out. But it´s still not easy to actually “get recruited”. So we’re going to go over some valuable tips for both players and coaches. 


Make as many allies in the coaching world as possible. The world is still mainly about who you know. So go to college practices, go to coaching events where college coaches will be there, and try to grow your relationship with as many coaches as possible. 

Once you’ve done this, you NEED an understanding of the level of basketball at all the levels in college. Be in NCAA D1,2, or 3 , or all the other divisions. 

This is vital because you need to only try to send your players to places they can actually play. And be honest with the player. 

Because as soon as you try to send a kid that´s at one level, but you try to send him a few levels up you will get immediately discredited. And once that happens, you will hurt the chances of all future players trying to play in college. 

So be mindful of 3 levels that they can play: Optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic. And then reach out to as many schools as you can in that level and try to get your kids playing at the next level. 


It’s always very beneficial to have someone working for you. By that I mean to have someone who knows people (college coaches) and is willing to reach out to schools for you. This person could be someone like your HS coach, your AAU coach, or a basketball trainer. Those are usually the best options.

However, most popular thing that you can do right now is to use social media to your advantage! Use appliances like Hudl or other applications that will do a similar job and create a highlight tape. 

Once you have that, put the link to that on your twitter. In your twitter bio, put all your measurements and accolades. Both athletic and academic.

Ex: Dante Lombardi - PG - 6’0 - 3.8 GPA - Captain - State Champion. (Anything that stands out. But don’t get to specific and drown out the big stuff)

And academics are important. They will get you into school and they will make coaches more interested in you. 

For instance, if not for my grades and SAT in high school, I wouldn’t have been recruited by IVY and Patriot League schools. Now ultimately, I didn’t choose any of those schools, but if I would have wanted to choose them and had bad grades I wouldn’t have been able to go. 

Also, as well as a highlight tape have full game footage ready to go. Because a highlight tape might get a coaches initial interest, but it will rarely get you full blown recruited right away. 

The recruiting process and reasons to start vs. wait

There is rarely ever a good reason to wait to try and get recruited. All the things listed above are easy to do and will not harm you. 

Now, if you’re someone that’s only playing JV and you’re not on a big AAU team then the highlight tapes may be useless to add. 

But you can get a start on your bio and some of the other things. 

Now if you are playing varsity or are on a good AAU team, and you have all the things above and you’re not being recruited and maybe your coach isn’t helping. Do it yourself. Start dm’ing some college coaches. 

To be honest, most of them won’t answer most of the time. But the goal is to get your name out there. I sent over 50 CD’s that I paid for out of my own pocket to random coaches. And only 1 ended up recruiting me. 

All you need is a chance from someone. And as soon as one school starts recruiting you then your name will get out in that sphere and more schools will jump into the mix. 

How do you know you are being recruited?

When you know, you know. If a school is recruiting you they will be in contact with you. If you’re old enough they will text you, go to your games, talk to you at your games, invite you to their games, etc. 

If a school isn’t doing any of those things they are not recruiting you. Just because they follow you on social media, or have been to a singular practice/game that does not mean you’re being recruited. Now it could mean that, but it usually doesn’t. 

They will let you know either by repeated actions or words that you are being recruited. 

How College Coaches Recruit Athletes

College coaches recruit athletes in many different ways, and depending on the program the “how” and “when” will vary. 

For instance, most D3 schools will recruit locally. Because they don’t have the finances to travel a bunch, they will recruit the players that are near to them and they will recruit them from an early age. 

They will recruit them by going to games, sending out letters, and inviting them to their prospect camps in the summer. 

D2 programs will recruit from a much larger region. But typically you’ll see a lot of players from the same region of the country as the school. D2 will put a little more time into their recruits though, they will send out more texts, go to more games and practices, and just be more aggressive with the process. 

But with D2, they recruit people at different times than D1 and D3 programs. They do this because typically players that they know are “good enough” at a young age will probably be recruited by D1 programs. So D2 programs will typically start the recruiting process near the end of a player’s junior year and into their senior year. 

This is the case for most programs when the kid isn’t homegrown. When the kid is from the same area, they will probably start this process earlier than usual. 

Top 3-5 things College coaches look for in recruits

We talk more in depth on this in this article *link*, but a quick summary. 

  1. Make Open Shots
  2. Play good defense
  3. Make the right plays
  4. Be a good teammate
  5. Energetic on and off the floor 

Best Advice: To Get a College Coach to Recruit You

  1. Play as if there is someone always watching. You never know who knows someone. When you are a borderline player (borderline college, or a certain level in college) you can’t afford to have bad days. So you definitely can’t afford to have bad days when you can control it. 

Bad days will still happen, but don’t let it be because of your attitude. 

  1. Don’t let your grades be the reason a school can’t recruit you. In some cases grades can help you, but in all cases bad grades will hurt you. Take care of your business in the classroom. 
  2. Be as respectful as possible at all times. To everyone. Present coaches, potentially coaches, and everyone you come in contact with. Coaches don’t like recruiting jerks.