There's a caged pink elephant in the room that has been incarcerated for years and NYCHoops.net is about to release him.
High School varsity basketball teams that don't do everything possible to actively promote getting their student-athletes athletic scholarships are doing a disservice to both the students and their parents. Now that it's finally out in the open, let's talk about it.
There are quite a few high schools who do little or nothing to help student-athletes obtain the skills, support and exposure they need to have the best shot possible at securing a full or partially paid college education. Many high school coaches demand hours and hours of practice in addition to the regulation season schedule but they supply little or no tutoring programs to help them or make sure they keep up academically in order to qualify at the end of the day.
While winning games is important, optimizing a student-athlete over a four year period into the most appealing college recruit is equally if not more important. Players need to be groomed to play the position that will be most attractive to Colleges.
While it's a fact that there's only room for five players on the court at one time, it's also a crime to waste four years of a kid's high school and his dream in an unrealistic position that he could never play on the next level. I can't tell you how many 5'6" senior shooting guards or 6'3" power forwards I see get reality checks with no offers upon graduation when they should've been groomed as point guards all along. They may not have gotten D-I scholarships but perhaps a D-2 or D-3. The W's keep the Coaches employed but ultimately result in student-athlete being un-recruitable.
Some high school basketball programs complain about lack of exposure when the problem is really their lack of being exposed. The successful suburban programs in Long Island and Upstate New York that get exposure with College Coaches and scouting services are the ones that travel outside of their comfort zone and play against more high-profile teams and in more high-profile tournaments. Just because you have a weak in-league schedule is no excuse. Every school has an out-of-league schedule at the discretion.
High School Coaches should also do their part to invite local college coaches to their open gyms and promote their players. If coaches expect players to give their all to the team, coaches should give their all to the players. Keep track of inquiries by colleges and have statistical information readily available for recruiting services when they call.
Student-athletes play the game for two reasons. They love the game and they hope to get a free education while playing they game they love and parents invest in their children's dreams. Coaches can either continue to be selfish and only think about winning seasons or start thinking about winning players.
To be fair, there are some programs that have found a way to balance both winning and obtaining athletic-scholarships for a good majority of their student-athletes. However, If you're one of those schools that can only point to one or two success stories, don't be so quick to put yourself in the overall success column. Take a long hard look at your high school varsity basketball program and ask yourself, can we do more and then do it !!!