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LSB ACADEMY PLAYER PROGRESSION PATHWAYS

HELPING PLAYERS & PARENTS MAKE BETTER INFORMED BASKETBALL PLANS & DECISIONS

Many players aspire to play professionally one day, or earn themselves an American basketball scholarship to experience US college basketball - or even make the transition over to play in Europe. However, a majority of players and their parents remain unclear about exactly what to do to purse their goals or where to go find out more information about the processes involved and the options available to them along the way. LSB Academies strive to inform and educate both players and parents around all of the options available to gifted and talented players who aspire to play at a higher level.

HOW TO GET RECRUITED

There are no 'secrets' to becoming a player coveted by coaches at the next level. Understanding the 3 basic steps you need to take to become a player who is recruited rather than overlooked will help you and your parents develop a plan that best supports your success.

GET IN THE GAME

You have to get yourself into a team, a league, a platform that coaches can see, so they can evaluate your talent against reputable competition. If you're not visible, no matter how talented you are, it's highly unlikely you'll ever be found.

BUILD YOUR NAME

Develop your skills to become a dominant player on your team, then across your league. Demonstrate how your talent and ability can help a team win. Work to be amongst the best at what you do and prove yourself each time you take the court.

MAX YOUR EXPOSURE

Once your game is ready for the next level, you must be proactive in maximising your exposure and ensure your talents are being well-marketed to as many of the coaches and scouts who can facilitate the opportunties you are looking for as possible.

HOW LSB ACADEMIES CAN HELP WITH THE 3 STEP PROCESS

LSB Academies compete in the ABL (Academies Basketball League), CBL and through our club linked partnerships, the EYBL (European Youth Basketball Leauge). In addition, LSB Academies regularly compete in international junior tournaments, across the globe. With 30-40 games per season, we provide ample opportunities for you to compete and test yourself against the best players in your age group.

LSB Academies provide 10-15 hours of dedicated coaching per week for players interested in developing their skills. Work ethic and dedication are one thing, but without good coaching, the results of all of that hard work are likely to be less than they could be. Our Academies place you with coaches who have been where you are striving to get to, with the necessary skills to develop your talent so you can be the best you possibly can be. With so many games on a typical LSB Academy schedule, you will have increased opportunities to showcase what you're learning in real competitions.

All ABL games are recorded and digitised and made availalbe to all of our players. New for the 2020/21 season, all of the CBL games and international tournament games are also being recorded (and in some cases, live-streamed). At a LSB Academy, you have the opportunity to build a major bank of game footage of you performing at your best, which is the medium coaches in America, Europe and the UK will request from you as soon as they are aware of you as a potential prospect. Player 'mixtapes' come from these games, which are used to increase your exposure online, both directly and indirectly. Top players from our Academies will also feature on college prospect player ranking lists distributed throughout our wide network of US college coaching networks. Once your game is 'ready' our goal is to let the world know aobut you.

'NEXT STEP' PATHWAYS FOR LSB ACADEMY PLAYERS

NCAA COLLEGE BASKETBALL

JUNIOR COLLEGE BASKETBALL

NAIA COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BRITISH UNIVERSITIES BASKETBALL

POST-GRAD PREP SCHOOLS (USA)

PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL

NCAA COLLEGE BASKETBALL

The NCAA (National College Athletic Association) represents the highest level of collegiate basketball in the world and is the widely accepted platform that the majority of professional players come from. NCAA universities offer undergraduate 4-year academic degree programs, where you study alongside training, competing and representing the school in high-level intercollegiate basketball competitions.

JUNIOR COLLEGE BASKETBALL (JUCO)

The NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association), often referred to as 'JUCO' (Junior College), represents an alternative potential entry route into a NCAA university. However, JUCO's are colleges in their own right. The biggest differentiator is JUCO's offer 2 year courses of study, which essentially prepare you academically (providing you pass your classes) for entry into a NCAA 4 year university. Keep in mind, the 2 years spent in JUCO will be deducted from the 4 years of eligibility you get a NCAA university - so if you spend to years in JUCO, you will only get 2 year of playing eligiibilty at a NCAA school, should you qualifiy for a transfer. JUCO's are often the route for players if they do not initally qualify academically for a NCAA school, or they have not been able to attract the scholarship they want from a NCAA school. NCAA schools heavily recruit from the JUCO ranks every year as it is filled with highly talented players at the top level, and is very competitive.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (NAIA)

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is a college athletics association for small colleges and universities in America. Most NAIA schools are private colleges, with many providing scholarships to international students. Often overlooked by English players, NAIA schools have produced a vast number of high-level professional players who have excelled at the top levels in Europe (and some, in the NBA) as players are often given larger responsibilities on court than they may get if they go to bigger schools. These increased responsibilities lead to wider development of skills, which ultimately produce better pro's. Many NAIA schools also offer an excellent education that serves players well in their post-playing careers.

BRITISH UNIVERSITIES & COLLEGES SPORT (BUCS)

The British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) are the British Universities sports pathway for players who want to stay on home soil and combine their athletic and academic careers at the next level. The BUCS basketball programme runs throughout the university year, with teams competing regionally and nationally against other universities split across a tired division system (Premier League through to Division 5). For talented academy players, some universities offer scholarships that pay for some (or in some cases, all) of your tuition and housing fees, in return for you representing the university in BUCS competitions.

POST-GRAD PREP SCHOOLS (USA)

Prep Schools in the US provide Academy graduates with a 'post-grad' year, typically in a private boarding school setting, where players compete and study for a single season as they acclimatise to America while increasing their exposure to potential college coaches. Prep School participation does not count against your 4 year eligibility window for college, making this option attractive for a number of players. However, scholarships at this level, for post-grad students, are rare, and tuition and board are often prohibitively expensive. That being said, if this option is financially viable for a player and his/her family, it can be a worthwhile investment if it results in securing a full-athletic scholarship to a good college.

Capital City Academy partner with the LSB in hosting the Capital City Titans, based in North West London.

The College Of Haringey, Enfield & North East London (COHENEL) partner with the LSB in hosting the COHENEL Warriors - based in North London.

West Thames College partner with the LSB in hosting the West Thames Tigers, based in West London.

FAQ'S ANSWERED FOR GIFTED & TALENTED PLAYERS

Courses of study vary from college to college, but typically include A-Levels and BTECS across a wide range of subjects and also GCSE re-takes for those who require.

 LSB Academies are also introducing SAT preparation classes for players who aspire to play in America to best prepare for the Scholastic Aptititude Test exam, which is a pre-requisite for all players intent on playing college basketball in the US.

Our staff and teachers at each Academy work with each and every Academy student-athlete in mapping out your academic profile and assessing suitablity for the university level you aspire to reach.  We then put a plan in place to help support you through to achieving academic eligibility for your desired university*.

*Our staff can put in the framework and teachers provide the teaching - but it is up to each player to do the work and apply yourself fully to the tasks asked of you to achieve your desired level*

Academy games are recorded in full and made availalbe to all players for the purpose of performance analysis.  These games are then used as a tool to market players to coaches who may be interested in you, at the next level.  For the standout players at our academies, we will also help in the production of player mixtapes and have skilled editors in place to manage production.  

We work with each player on helping identify and match the right level he/she should focus in on  post-academy and then put a player development plan in place that gives each player the best possible chance of securing a place on the right team after you graduate from the academy.

Our coaches and staff have extensive links with coaches across the US, UK and Europe to help place players at the level your ability allows.

In addition, top players from our Academies will feature in talent showcase events to further profile you to coaches at the next level.  Our aim is to help players get the attention and profile their skills deserve so you can find the right college or post-Academy opportunity that matches your ability.

LSB Academies currently compete domestically in the ABL, AoC and CBL leagues.  However our teams also compete in European tournaments and the top players from our Academies will also travel to America to compete against other prep schools and AAU competition, to give players first-hand experience of the level of competition in both America and mainland Europe.  In addition, we also place talented players from our Academies into EYBL (European Youth Basketball League) competitions and National League teams linked to our programs.   

No coach or academy should ever 'promise' any player a guaranteed scholarship to America in return for attending their school or playing on their team.  Ultimately, scholarships are granted to student-athletes who best fit the criteria a US college coach is looking for.  This is never just one talent, but invariably a mix/balance of suitable skills and characteristics that fit the need.  

Many players think that scholarships are won on just basketball talent alone, but this is never the case.  All players who aspire to play in the US college system must be academically eligible for the level they are applying to, so committing to your studies is a 'must' if you want to pursue a US College Scholarship - even if the actual scholarship is an athletic grant.  Before coaches really get to assess your basketball talent, they will first ask and do their homework on your character.  Coaches want players who add value to their team, high character players who can be relied upon to be where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there and ultimately being 'coachable' (that means, being able to follow instructions with a positive attitude and excellent effort).  

Ultimately coaches are professionals who are in position to help you continue to develop and be the best you can be, however in order for them to be able to do that (which ultimately will benefit their team) you have to be someone who is ready, willing and able to work hard, follow instructions and be a positive person both on and off the court.  With so many thousands of players worldwide, now in pursuit of college scholarships, coaches do not have to accept players who do not fit their criteria, as there will always be others who do.  Your job is to make sure you put as much work into the development of your character, focused work ethic and positive personality as you do your basketball skills and academics, to put yourself in the best position for our coaches to help you reach your goals of a US Scholarship.

For those who understand the requirements and are able to meet the criteria, we are well-positioned to be able to profile you and introduce you to coaches who can help facilitate scholarships to US colleges.

Many players dream of one day playing professional basketball in the NBA or WNBA but very, very few will ever realise that dream.  It's not impossible, as a small handful of British players have proven in the modern era (Luol Deng, Joel Freeland, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Temi Fagbenle).  However, statistics show that the chance of a player from the UK making it all the way through to the NBA or WNBA are very slim.  

However, professional basketball does not begin and end in just the NBA/WNBA.  There are many hundreds of professional teams worldwide who offer qualified players professional playing contracts. While the salaries are not as high as the NBA (side note: WNBA do not pay the highest womens salaries), leagues such as the Euroleague, Liga ACB (Spain), CBA (China), Turkish Premier League, HEBA A1 (Greece), Israeli Super League (and others) all offer lucrative contracts for qualified players.  

There are also a wide number of leagues across Europe and South America, outside of the aforementioned leagues,  where professional players can earn signficantly more than the UK 'average' salary. 

That being said, the competition for jobs, at every level, is very competitive.  So, just like any competitive industry, your chances of going pro will be directly related to your qualification and ability to positively impact the organisation you are trying to get into.  You will need to be amongst the best as a player and have proven that, or be able to prove that, to your prospective employer.  Proving you are amongst the best is achieved by developing your 'body of work', your basketball CV.  Where have you played? What did you achieve?  What are you capable of doing?  Have you proven it already?  If so, where?  Do you have references?  Do you have quality game footage (evidence)?  What level have you been successful at so far?  All of these questions, and more, will be asked of you by your prospective employer (pro team).

In order to best prepare yourself for the intense scrutiny, your goal should be to learn, develop, refine and sharpen all of your basketball skills, physical and mental abilities towards being the very best version of yourself you can be.  Then you must play (and prove) yourself as you progress up through the 'ladder'.  For a British player, there isn't just one route to the pro's anymore however the traditional ladder looks something like:

(1) Make you local team and establish yourself as a dominant player

(2) Make your national team and establish yourself as a dominant player

(3) Earn a scholarship to a US college/university and establish yourself as a dominant player

(4) Earn your first professional contract and establish yourself as a dominant player

(5) Move up the professional ranks in line with your ability and evidence of being a dominant player

These steps are not set in stone, but give you a general idea of the trajectory you need to follow in order to achieve a high-level professional contract.

The common theme throughout the steps is establishing yourself as a dominant player.  In order to do that, you need the right information, coaching, access to facilities to practise as much as you'll need to in developing dominant skills and of course, competition.  LSB Academies can help develop your skills and also put you into competitions and situations that enable your game to be assessed by coaches at 'the next level', once you are ready.   There should never be any promise of 'professional basketball contracts' from any coach, as ultimately that will come down to your work ethic, attitude, talent and ability - however, the choices you make around surrounding yourself in the right environment can dramatically help (or hinder) your chances of one day fulfilling your goals.

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