You’ve been called up among a group of guys or girls for a basketball team trial, tournament, or game targeted at selecting the best players for a particular cause or sporting opportunity. What do you do? How do you prepare? What exactly should you look out for and how do you know precisely what the scouts are looking for?. Things can get pretty intense and nerve-racking pretty quickly. How you approach these circumstances will determine how successful you will be.

In this blog, I intend to elaborate on 5 things you should keep in mind when you’re being scouted; all based on my personal experience from observing, playing, training, and coaching basketball both locally and internationally (Camps). Let’s get right into it.

  1. Attitude:  When I started my business (waterpark sports), I remember making a custom t-shirt with my terrible screen printing skills which read “attitude is everything” on the front of it. I still have that shirt today. I have always been a big believer in a person’s attitude. Your attitude determines your body language and your body language speaks louder than your words. To have the right attitude for a particular task is half the job done. Regardless of how well you play, your attitude, and how you feel towards the things and people around you will determine if scouts are going to give you a thumbs up or down. How do you respond to plays, how do you feel about your teammates, how concerned and invested are you in the game? This is very important. Coach Feranmi once said, “if you don’t know how to do it, that’s one thing, but if you don’t care, that a whole different issue”. No scout will scout a player who just doesn’t care and has a bad attitude. Always come to play, always be invested, always be ready to respond on and off the court. That’s how you get the scout’s attention.
  2. Leadership: Everybody wants a leader. Leaders are champions at heart. Leaders see what no one sees. Scouts see themselves as leaders and they want to associate with such. Leaders do not always have to be the captain or the best player. It simply means you care the most about the team and you’re willing to do everything legally possible to win. Draymond Green, Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Opera Winfrey. All these names regardless of what they do or did, are champions who are willing to sacrifice their comfort for a greater goal. A Leader knows when a teammate needs motivation, a leader knows how to communicate to his/her pack to get them to respond at their very best. Scouts lick their fingers at the sight of such characters. As to whether leaders are made or born is another conversation for another time. 
  3. Play Making: This is the most underrated role/skill in all sports. All Scouts love playmakers. These players are not the top scorers, neither do they have the best of athletic abilities but you cannot do away with them. These players somehow know where everybody is and will be on every freaking play. They have great instincts and mostly are very good leaders. They know how to control the tempo and hue of a game to get the best out of their teammates. Again Draymond Green is a classic example of such a player. Usually, players at the sight of scouts want to be the ones to score all the points with the hope of being noticed. Scouts usually make conscious efforts not to look in the direction of such players. However, they understand that it takes a greater deal of skill and understanding to make winning plays and get your teammates involved. 
  4. Time Consciousness: This may sound a little off but trust me, the time element is very essential. “Time is money” and scouts love their time. If a scout arrives at a workout before you do, know that you already have a strike. This is also an attitude issue. It may not always be the case, but being late to a workout or a game hints to a scout that you do not care or want this opportunity as much as you say you do. Always make sure to be early. Not on time, but EARLY! Because if you’re on time, you’re late. (think about it)
  5. Work Ethic: Finally, this probably is the most important quality of any good player. Your credibility is closely tied to this. Everybody loves a hard worker. Scouts usually go with the hardest worker in the room. These are not players who pretend to be doing all the heavy lifting when eyes are watching and then turn around to do absolutely nothing when no one is watching. Scouts do play that psychology game. They can appear to be uninterested in a particular player who in actual fact is the one player they came to watch. They simply want to know who you are when no one is watching or the spotlight is not on you. They need to know how tough you are mentally.

In conclusion, it is my hope and prayer that every player gets the opportunities they desire but the fact of the matter is, many will be called but few will always be chosen. Make a conscious effort to be among those few by internalizing these 5 points among others. I “guarantee” (Charles Barkley’s voice) that you will be called up most of the time.

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