I grew up in a basketball family. My dad played at Boston College and I remember being very young and watching him play in the local mens leagues. He would always let me come out on the court and shoot and dribble around. I knew from the moment I made my first basket that I loved the sport. I think growing up and seeing the love my dad had for the sport and hearing his stories of growing up playing basketball made me want to do the same.
As I progressed through school and dedicated more and more time to basketball I realized that I would be able to follow in my dads footsteps and play in college. The recruiting process for me was very interesting because I am an identical twin and grew up playing with my sister. When we both decided we wanted to play basketball in college we made a pact to play together. We would become a package deal to the collegiate basketball coaches. I think this decision, for the most part, played to our advantage. We were very similarly skilled and coaches loved the fact they could make one recruiting trip to watch two players.
My sister and I spent the last few years of high school playing our hearts out, getting our name out there to as many schools as we could, researching schools in various locations, sending game tapes and resumes, having numerous conversations nightly with coaches and scheduling campus visits. We also made many road trips all over the east coast.
Now at the age of 18 I was supposed to narrow down a huge list of schools and I had no idea how to do so when all I knew was that I wanted to play basketball in college. On top of that, after I spoke with each coach I thought I wanted to go to that school. At one point it became very overwhelming. I remember one night at dinner being close to tears. I just had no idea what to do and coaches were starting to give my sister and me deadlines for a yes or no answer. I thought, I am not going to be able to make up my mind and then I am going to end up playing no where. My dad, having gone through the same thing when he was 18 and being recruited, asked a few simple questions that helped with our decision:
What team do you see yourself practicing with every day for four years?
What coach do you see yourself playing for?
Can you imagine yourself at one of those schools without basketball because things can change and basketball can not be the one and only thing luring you to that school?
From these questions my sister and I narrowed it down to Rowan University. Rowan was close to home (so my parents could come to all the games), with great academics and a huge on-campus sports community. It was a great choice and I got a great education, made some amazing friends and got to play the sport I loved with my sister.
Trust me there is a school out there for you so dont be discouraged. And you will make the right choice!
From a very young age I knew I loved sports and had the killer instinct. I got involved in playing AAU club basketball at a very young age and traveled and played basketball all year round. When I was in about second grade I decided to pick up soccer as well, within a few years I was playing soccer all year round on club teams. Then in third grade this new sport was presented to me called lacrosse. I really wasnt that interested in it but all my friends from the neighborhood were going to try it so I figured why not.
Lacrosse was the only sport out of the three sports that was only in the spring. I didnt have to play it all year round to be considered dedicated to it so it definitely took a back seat to my other sports. I remember in sixth grade missing lacrosse practice in lacrosse season to go to basketball and soccer practice which were out of season. I also remember going to lacrosse, leaving early to go to soccer and then heading to basketball practice. I was getting warn out to say the least.
By the time I reached high school I had developed a love for lacrosse. Lacrosse is an athletic sport; if you are a great athlete you can be successful. I was able to incorporate all the things I had learned over the years from playing such ridiculous amounts of basketball and soccer into lacrosse.
When I reached freshman year in high school I did play basketball, soccer, and lacrosse. As a freshman I was on junior varsity for basketball and soccer, but shockingly made the varsity lacrosse team at St.Marys in Annapolis! Believe me this was a big deal, it was almost unheard of to make varsity as a freshman. You were lucky to make junior varsity as a freshman. It was then I realized that lacrosse was my sport. I wasnt burned out on it like the other sports that I had played for years all year round. More exciting then just making the lacrosse team, I started as a freshman and continued to start for four more years. By my sophomore year I quit basketball, continued to play soccer for one more year on the varsity team and my junior year quit soccer too. I picked up volleyball for fun and just continued with my lacrosse career. I had no idea the opportunities that were in store for me, when back in third grade, but I sure am happy I decided to give lacrosse a shot.
The recruiting process was exciting. I received tons of letters from schools all over the country. I had no idea that all these schools were interested in me or even knew about me. It did start to become a little overwhelming sifting through all the mail and all the weekly phone calls. In the summer before my senior year I decided to take some road trips and set up some unofficial visits to colleges and meet with coaches so I could downsize my huge list of choices. That was very helpful to me because there were quite a few schools that once I saw the campus or met the coach I knew I didnt want to attend. It wasnt easy but I came to my conclusion about the five schools I was going to visit. I went to the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, Loyola College, and Vanderbilt University.
In the fall of my senior year I went on paid official visits to my top five schools and spent a weekend with the team in order to get to know them and meet with the coach. It was amazing! I had so much fun on all of these visits and it was great to spend time with the players and coaches. I had such a hard time making my decision though.
In retrospect, I always knew I was going to be a Terp! I loved the University of Maryland, there style of play and the team. I didnt come by this decision easily though and really agonized over the whole thing. This is such an exciting time in your life but its also a very tough time in your life. Youll figure it out so be patient and open.
If you decided you didnt want to play anymore would you still want to be at this school?
Look at teams and the way they practice along with their style of play. Think about whether or not you like their style or if you could adapt to it. A lot of people dont think about this, but a sport takes up a lot of your time and will be a big part of your college life so you want to enjoy it. You want to have fun with it! I know I did.
It wasnt until my sophomore year of high school when I realized I was capable of playing basketball at the Division 1 level. I remember distinctly creating three new goals for my basketball career that year. The first of which was to play basketball at the Division 1 level. Second, I wanted to become a member of the Canadian National Basketball Team. Third, was to continue on after college to play professional basketball. Once I established these three major goals, I needed to make sure I attended the college that would put me in the best possible position to accomplish all three of my goals.
I was fortunate enough to display some of my talents at a few well-known showcase tournaments and I began to be contacted by Division 1 schools. Some programs just sent letters; others phone calls, and some both letters and phone calls. After researching all the schools that had contacted me, which included location, history, academic background, coaching history, athletic departments history and so on, I was able to narrow it down to the four schools for official visits. At the time I thought that I would be visiting the University of Montana, University of Richmond, Boston College, and Notre Dame.
I had been in close contact with all four of these schools and their basketball programs for a number of months before taking my first visit, which was to University of Montana. I took this visit with my entire family because I wanted them to all share this first experience with me. We had a great visit and I loved the school and the surrounding atmosphere. University of Montana was a school that I was familiar with because I had attended a few of their summer basketball camps so I was comfortable with the coaching staff and players. Attending University of Montana would also allow me to stay close to home and the ability to drive home on occasion was appealing to me.
My next visit was to the University of Richmond. The second that I stepped onto the campus I had an extraordinary feeling of comfort and security. I loved the campus and the arena where the basketball team played. After having the opportunity to meet the coaching staff and my potential future teammates, I knew Richmond was the school for me. There was a sense of family and unity within the program, which was important to me, especially since I was going to be so far away from home. I met with the academic adviser on my visit and figured out what field of studies might be of interest to me if I decided to attend the school.
I had a great visit to University of Richmond and after returning home; and speaking with my family along with a lot of prayer I knew that I wasnt going to take up the offers on my other two visits. University of Richmond was the school for me. I thanked University of Montana, Boston College and Notre Dame University for their strong interest and continued forward with my vision of attending University of Richmond. I weighed all of the positives and the negatives and realized that University of Richmond would be the best place to help me achieve all of my goals with basketball and at the same time I would be receiving a top-notch education.
After my visit I committed to the University of Richmond. I continued to build a relationship with not only the coach, but also the players. I kept in consistent contact with two players over the remaining months of my senior year of high school and the summer leading into my freshman year of college. The following fall, upon arriving to the University of Richmond I was only a freshman but because of my previous communication I felt like I had been a member of the team and program for much longer.
I feel extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to attend the University of Richmond and to be a Division 1 athlete. I was able to achieve all three of my goals by playing basketball at the University of Richmond. I was also able to receive a great education and meet some outstanding life long friends.
Seek advice from your family and those close to you who have gone through the decision making process before you
Make a choice that will make you happy! You can always transfer but it is a difficult process. Dont make a decision on your school because you are trying to please someone else. You have to live with it for the next 4-5 years
If you are serious and passionate about your sport, then go to a school that is going to allow you to play and become a better athlete
Make sure that the school you go to allows you to have a life outside of your sport
Make sure that you get along with your teammates! You will be spending more time with these people then you have ever spent with anyone in your life other than maybe your immediate family. You want to be able to enjoy your time around these people and build strong, firm relationships.
Every kid in the United States seems to grow up with at least some knowledge of college basketball. I was no different than most kids, I loved college basketball and from as early as I could hold a ball I wanted to be a part of it. So, when I was heading towards the end of my sophomore year of high school and interest started being shown by a few schools I couldn't have been happier. I thought maybe I could go to a D-III program and play my way through school in order to at least experience being a part of that next level of competition.
As I headed into what would ultimately be the most exciting summer of my life, I had no idea just how insane my life would become over the next 15 months or just how many important and life changing decisions I would make. By summers end I was not just getting looks from local D-III programs; I was receiving mail and calls from some of the biggest names in college basketball and perhaps in all of sports.
I think the first few weeks of the real recruiting process taught me a lot about life. I realized that all that glitters isn't necessarily gold and that your gut is way more intelligent than your brain. I found myself getting caught up in the madness of calls from UNC and UCLA and if I had been talked to by Kentucky I would have had the trifecta of basketball royalty. I also found myself talking with a ton of so called mid-majors, the schools that may not headline Sports Center daily but that tend to be most exciting come March.
With the help of my parents, friends, coaches and anyone else who was willing to listen or give advice I quickly pushed aside the powerhouse programs. I had to be real with myself. I wasn't going to play at those schools and more than likely I would red-shirt, sit for two years then maybe see the court if I hadn't been recruited over. At the mid-majors I had a spot right away and saw myself as an integral part of what these programs could become over my four years and beyond.
Once I had narrowed down my search I decided on a conference. I made my last three schools, the University of Dayton, Saint Joseph's University and the University of Richmond. All three of these schools were in the Atlantic 10 and athletically offered what I wanted. I unofficially visited each school during my junior year in accordance with NCAA rules which don't allow for official visits until senior year. Each school was great at displaying its positives and really great at hiding its negatives. Still undecided I headed into my senior year hoping that a choice would be clear and ultimately the correct one would be made.
My first official visit was all that I needed to make my choice. I walked onto the University of Richmond campus and something felt right. I know it sounds ridiculous and cliché but I felt at home. I had a small sense of this in my other visits to the campus but I had always brushed it off as just being excited. I didn't feel as if I was forcing myself in to a role at Richmond, rather that the slot for me was there and I could just fit right in. That night I committed to the University of Richmond and had a new home.
I was asked throughout my years at Richmond if I ever regretted my choice of school. People would point out that Dayton was winning conference championships and Saint Joseph's was going undefeated and achieving top five national rankings. I could always and will always be able to look at them and honestly say that I have no regrets. Even though we may not have won as many games at Richmond as I could have elsewhere it doesn't matter. College was so much more than wins and losses. College was an adventure and an opportunity to explore who I was and really begin to forge my life.
Make the choice for you. No one else will have to live with the decision you make like you will. The school you choose and program you become a part of will become a part of you, make sure that it represents the type of person you are and the type of person you want to become.
Listen. There are a lot of people who may want to give you advice and the vast majority of them are willing to do so because they really do care about you. Take the opportunity to listen to others ideas and perspectives and use them not as a replacement for your own but as a supplement.
Trust yourself. When you are going through the recruiting process you are at an age where the world isn't ready to trust you very often. Take that opportunity to trust yourself, if something feels right it likely is. Remember, your gut is far more intelligent than your brain.
When I was in eighth grade I decided that I wanted to get a basketball scholarship to college. At that point, I had read about high school girls from my city that had received full basketball scholarships, so I assumed it wasn't a difficult process. I started watching a lot more women's basketball games. I went to UC Santa Barbara games, and watched the big college teams play on TV, like UConn, Duke, Tennessee. I watched players like Sue Bird, Chamique Holdsclaw and Diana Taurasi play. I then found out that if you weren't a top 10 player in the nation, college coaches weren't begging you, it was a much more involved process than I had imagined.
In my sophomore year of high school, with the help of my AAU coach, I started making lists of my target schools. First, I decided what areas (cities/regions) I was interested in. Then I looked into the conferences and schools in those areas. I was sure to be very realistic about the conferences and schools that I looked into. I knew that if I sent game tapes to Tennessee, Duke, or Stanford, I wasn't going to get any responses so I wasn't going to waste time and money doing that. I also took the time to look at teams' rosters. As a point guard, I liked to read about each teams' point guard. Then I sent out letters, my basketball schedules and a game tape to those targeted schools. Some schools showed interest after watching game film and others never responded, but I continued this process throughout my junior year.
The summer before my senior year in high school, I spent traveling to NCAA sanctioned tournaments with my AAU basketball team. There were college coaches from all divisions and all areas of the United States present at these tournaments. To my surprise, several D-I college coaches expressed interest in me. Most of those schools were at the lower end of their conferences, but I didn't care.
In the fall of my senior year, I started narrowing down my targeted schools. The NCAA allows prospective student-athletes to take five official visits to college campuses. They also allow "home visits" in which a college coach is allowed to visit the recruit's home. I had about four different coaches visit my home. This was great because it gave my family an opportunity to meet those coaches and ask questions also. In addition, I scheduled five official visits and had planned on taking all of those visits.
My first visit was to the University of Richmond in Virginia. I had the opportunity to tour the athletic facilities, play pick-up basketball with the team, and socialize with the coaches and players for a weekend. I enjoyed everything the school had to offer. My next visit was to the University of Pacific in Northern California. It was the same itinerary as my last visit and I enjoyed everything the school had to offer.
After taking my second visit, I realized early that the University of Richmond was the "right fit" for me. It's tough to say what I especially liked about the school, the team or the coaching staff, but this is where I wanted to go. I canceled my three remaining official visits and a year later started my freshman year at the University of Richmond, where I spent four great years as a student-athlete.
Always maintain a very good relationship with any and all coaches that you talk to, even if you don't choose to play for that coach, you never know when you may want to contact him/her again.
I grew up playing basketball, soccer and baseball year round, but prior to entering high school, as is becoming more and more common these days, I decided to focus most of my efforts on one sport, basketball. While I continued to play baseball and soccer throughout high school, basketball became my central focus and year round activity. When I reached high school I began receiving heavy interest from D-1 and D-3 collegiate basketball coaches and also some moderate interest from local D-1 and D-3 baseball programs.
The beginning of the recruiting process was very new and exciting for me. In my sophomore year of high school I can remember looking forward to going home each day to see what schools I received letters from. As the year went on, the countless letters turned into nightly phone calls from various coaches. Finally, coaches began showing up at my practices and games. All of these happenings were very encouraging and provided me with a lot of confidence.
Since I decided early on to play basketball I focused most of my interest in schools that were recruiting me to play basketball. While I was still considering playing baseball I decided it would only be for a school that was also recruiting me to play basketball. At the beginning of the process my main desire was to play for a D-1 collegiate basketball program. However, even as a teenager I was relatively realistic with myself and knew that my basketball abilities were not going to lead me to the NBA. Thus, I decided it would be in my best interest not to rule out D-3 schools and instead, use basketball to help me get into the best academic school possible.
Much of the recruiting interest I received came from lower level D-1 conferences like the Patriot League (Bucknell, Colgate and Lafayette) and the Ivy League (Cornell, Columbia, Brown, UPenn and Harvard) and from an endless amount of D-3 schools (including Johns Hopkins, Williams and Amherst). At this point in the game, my decision hinged on my D-1 versus D-3 preference, the different commitments involved in both, the location of the schools (proximity to my hometown and urban/rural setting), and the academic prestige of the schools.
Although NCAA regulations allow up to five official visits to D-1 schools and unlimited amount of visits to D-3 schools, by my senior year I was already completely exhausted with the recruiting process and eager to make my decision. As a result I decided to take D-1 visits to Cornell, Colgate, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, I also took a visit to Johns Hopkins University.
After completing my visits I felt comfortable with all the schools, the coaches and my potential teammates. Ultimately, I wanted to remain close to home but not so close that I felt I had never left. As it turned out, the two-hour drive to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore seemed to be a perfect fit. My decision was made easier by the fact that I felt very comfortable in Baltimore, my teammates were great, and the commitment level was right in line with what I was looking for. I am very thankful for the life experience I received from the recruiting process and my time as a student athlete at Johns Hopkins University.
Map out exactly what you are looking for in a school and an athletic program as soon as possible.
Always be upfront with coaches. It is not rude to be honest and coaches will appreciate you telling them the truth.
Your decision is more then just choosing an athletic program and you should bring academics, location and your general happiness with the school into your decision.