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.JOIN A LSB ACADEMY +
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.
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.
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.
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.