INSIGHT: Staying Behind To Get Ahead: How Highschool Basketball Players Get An Edge []

Blogger’s Note: I’d like to shout out Jalen Rose & David Jacoby for having a discussion on this “Marketing” phenomenon

Competition for a college scholarship is fierce for a high schooler. Parents, agents and coaches are all trying to find an edge to put a prospect over the top.

There is a practice that is not very well known, but it has become accepted in the ranks of high school basketball: Holding a potential prospect back a year to repeat a grade just finished.

So how does this help the prospect? Let’s look at a scenario of what will generally happen. A 13 year old that is held back is now a 14 year old in the eighth grade. More than likely this kid has gained playing experience, physical & emotional growth and developed his/her skills for the upcoming season. This prospect is now bringing everything gained and using it against competition that generally would not have the edge of the held back individual. The result? Domination of the competition.

Now what happens at the next level when a high school baller dominates based on always having a year ahead of the competitive field? Post secondary schools come running to see the new phenom. Scholarships come pouring in. Agents befriend parents, other relatives and friends of the potential goldmine.

Just to give you an idea of how common this practice has become, here are a few names that you may recognize that have used this method:

  1. Andrew Wiggans
  2. Nerlens Noel
  3. Wayne Seldon
  4. Dakari Johnson

Each of these players added another twist. Reclassification. Once it is determined they were good enough to move to the next level, they reclassified. By being reclassified, they are all moved to their original grade while in high school, to graduate on schedule.

It used to be that collegiate basketball players would stay another year in school to prepare for the rigors of the NBA. In today’s recruitment world  parents are willing to go ahead with this practice to provide their child an edge on the competition.

Let’s be reasonable. Not everyone using this practice will make it to the collegiate level or even the pros, however it does not hurt to have an advantage that is not illegal or frowned upon.

Bob Hurley, coach at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. who has amassed 26 state championships and more than 1000 wins in 39 years as a coach had this to say about holding prospects back a year:

“It’s a microwave society,” Hurley said. “Everybody wants something, but they’re not necessarily ready to work for it and earn it.” (NJ.COM)

What would you do?

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