Jack of All Trades: The Importance of Versatility
June 16, 2011
A look at what college coaches are looking for: versatility.
Once upon a time, a frontcourt player’s job was to rebound and score with his back to the basket, a point guard’s job was to control and distribute the ball, and a wing player’s job was to shoot. These days, 7’0” Dirk Nowitzki has among the silkiest jump-shots in the game, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are their teams’ crunch-time scorers, and most NBA wing players would look as comfortable with their backs to the basket as they would leading a fast break. A basketball player’s position no longer implies a finite set of necessary skills, and this new demand for versatility means hopeful recruits can improve their scholarship chances by demonstrating to coaches that they have well-rounded games
A quick survey of some of the most highly-prized recruits for the class of 2011 reveals how much coaches and scouts value versatility. Whether it’s a 6’10” power forward with shooting range (Quincy Miller) or a 6’6” wing player who can line-up at any position (Michael Gilchrist), players are finding that they can separate themselves from their peers by transcending the traditional position-by-position roles. According to NCAA Athletic Recruiting Network, coaches now value broad skill-sets as much or more than they do mere statistics. It’s important to remember that statistics can be inflated or deflated depending on the level of competition a recruit faces in high school, whereas a terrific jumpshot is a terrific jumpshot at any level.
A center lacking elite size, for example, can improve his scholarship chances by demonstrating the ability to score facing the basket or the athleticism to run the fast break. A wing player with mediocre shooting range can raise his stock by showing himself to be a capable ball-handler and gritty defender. Although recruits are still generally categorized by position – typically based on size – there is also now increased differentiation within each position category.
From a recruiting perspective, it’s more valuable now than ever for a recruit to give a coach visible evidence of the type of versatility that can’t necessarily be reflected in statistics. A coach can simply read about your size or strength, but numbers can’t show what you’re capable of doing with that size. While every recruit would prefer that a coach attend his games or tournaments, that often isn’t a realistic possibility, so demonstrating versatility is best accomplished through a carefully and professionally produced highlight video that shows off your broad skill-set. A video needs to show not only your best skills, but also the unique skills you possess that help you stand out from the other potential recruits at your position. To learn more about how to create and distribute a great highlight video, visit NCSA Athletic Recruiting Network.
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