PICTURED: The opportunity to secure US Athletic Scholarship is a great one but you must be fully prepared to be eligible through High School.
We are in the midst of a very significant point in time for South Australian basketball, Australian basketball for that matter. More and more athletes are currently on active, Division 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball scholarships than ever (History made in South Australian Basketball - FOUR Athletes Commit to NCAA Div 1 Men's programs in the 2017 class | https://goo.gl/obmHPl), proving that the goals and dreams of South Australian athletes participating in major college basketball in the US is a reality. This is probably the same with other states but SA is batting well above our weight in this regard at the moment.
In decades gone by every minute was spent with a ball in your hands. If you dreamed of playing basketball at the highest level it meant practicing to be better than the next player, sun up till sun down.
There was no time made for anything else and the obsession of making sure you were putting in more hours than anyone else dominated your life with little regard for anything else- except to perhaps catch a game when the tank was empty. Looking back, we were largely naive, as a nation, to the requirements of what it took to play basketball beyond our own shores, particularly college basketball.
We all know about the great commitment and sacrifice athletes in SA and around Australia make to focus on reaching their goals; hours on the court, hundreds of shots a day, individual workouts, strength/agility training, endless travel, financial strain, team and state commitments. Likewise, also significant, are the commitments by their support group in their families and mentors.
If you coach, mentor or work with an elite athlete (or someone striving to be) you know all to well just how jam packed their timetable really is. But, unlike in years gone past, in the mix of this schedule of early morning workouts and late-night practice, it is evident that time is always set aside to meet the needs of their academic work.
Persuing a college basketball career is not for everyone as Paul Mesecke described in his blog ‘Lessons on College Pathways’ (https://goo.gl/mRoonJ ) but, if playing college basketball is a goal of yours or your child’s’ there are important factors you need to consider in planning a pathway and it requires more than just being an elite dedicated athlete.
College recruiters look for hard working, high character people who take pride in the classroom not just students with glowing basketball credentials. One of the first questions a college coach will ask us when they are seriously interested in the athlete are in relation to academics. Will they be a qualifier? Have they done their SATs? Can we please have their academic transcripts?
To be eligible for NCAA registration and recruitment, you must meet minimum academic standards in a strict subject criterion from years 9 throughout 12 in Australia. Admittedly for most young adult’s year 9 is far to early to truly recognize what direction they want their future to go. But, if you cover these bases along the way you will be putting yourself in good stead should you decide that playing ‘college ball’ is a goal.
To meet eligibility to compete in NCAA Division 1 conferences you will need to undertake 16 "core subjects" which run from years 9 throughout 12:
• 4 years of English
• 3 years of maths (algebra I or higher – algebra I is usually a Year 9 course in the US)
• 2 years of natural or physical science (including one year of lab science if offered by your school)
• 1 extra year of English, maths or natural or physical science
• 2 years of social science (this would include subjects such as geography, history, psychology, sociology, government, international relations, economics and legal studies)
• 4 years of extra core courses (from any category above, or foreign language, nondoctrinal religion or philosophy)
It is worth noting the following subjects are NOT recognised:
• Physical Education/Movement
• Business studies
• Graphics Performing/Visual Arts/Drama/Music
• Technology classes
• English as a Second Language (ESL)
So in short during years 9, 10, 11 & 12 your study plan should include 1 of each of the following subjects; English, Maths, Science & Social Sciences/Humanities.
To add to this, a minimum standard must also be met in your Grade Point Average (GPA) results of these aforementioned ‘core’ subjects. The minimum GPA is 2.3 which in Australian High School translates to somewhere between a B (3.0) and a C (2.0). Considering this, aiming for B’s in your subjects will comfortably see you over the line.
Here is an example of GPA calculations worksheet formulated by Janx for one of our male featured athletes (all grades and subjects have been changed to be de-identified). This should be a great help for families trying to get an idea if their athlete is looking like being eligible or not, and if there is a problem they can seek expert advice to get on track. Worksheet here: https://goo.gl/jq3Cdw. We suggest you down load a copy and use the sheet to help calculate GPA and also 16 core subject requirements.