With America not having a grip on the Coronavirus Pandemic as it hoped it would by this time, the 2020-21 school year is beginning with online learning and many states have modified their sports calendar for the school year. We offer three things that will likely happen as a results and three things hoopers should do to prepare.
As of earlier this week, at least four states have pushed back football to calendar year 2021. New Mexico was the first to announce on July 9. The Virginia High School League (VHSL) will have football in the winter, as will Nevada and California. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) will begin its basketball season on March 12, by far the latest start date so far that’s been officially announced. (Coaches react to CIF start date in our latest “In The Paint” podcast below)
Fifteen states, so far, have pushed the start of their 2020-21 sports calendar back. Expect a vast majority of them to be altered in some fashion. And when we say altered, we mean if our government gets some control over the spread of COVID-19 because of it doesn’t, these announcements regarding the 2020-21 school year will be a moot point. Below are three things likely to happen as a result of the sports calendar changes and the first three things you should do to prepare to put yourself in the best available position to have a good season and earn a scholarship.
3 Things That Will Happen
1. Things Will Rapidly Change, So Have Proper Attitude
Many state associations have announced their calendar, but things could change depending on the availability of a vaccine. Either way, your gym time could be curtailed this school year and everybody will be adjusting to getting back into a classroom setting for the first time in over nine months. It’s important to have a good attitude and expected the unexpected. Be prepared for the worst possible scenario when it comes to practice time or game conditions (no parents allowed, etc.).
2. Colleges Won’t Evaluate Live This Fall
The Class of 2021 is clearly behind the eight-ball when it comes to recruiting opportunities and the pandemic could also affect the 2022 class as well. Already student-athletes missed the spring live period, any scholastic-based June live events that the NCAA planned and the summer live period. Some colleges coaches have already mentioned to Ballislife it’s highly unlikely the NCAA will have a live period this fall or allow coaches to travel by plane on school time. This means student-athletes will have to be pro-active in the recruiting process more than ever.
3. There Will Be a New Normal
You’ve probably heard this before, but you have to know what this means. What is going to change about your education or campus experience? There will also be a fallout from the pandemic that we haven’t reached yet. Many people will be uprooted or lose their jobs, if they haven’t already. Many student-athletes will have to adjust to a new situation, may have to make some hard decisions about secondary sports they play or be more realistic than ever about the scholarship opportunities that will be available to them. Since the transfer portal became such a huge part of the college landscape, the true freshman has become a bit less important to colleges plans, and that will be especially true for the 2021 class.
3 Things You Should Do To Prepare
1. Be Proactive With Your Own Recruitment
Just because there were no live viewing periods in the spring and summer and likely none in the fall doesn’t mean you can’t be on the radar of a college coach. Take the necessary steps to reach out to college coaches on your own. The first thing I would do as a 2021 high school prospect is create a list or spreadsheet of email addresses of head and assistant college coaches. This information can be found with a simple google search of college men’s basketball programs. Take down the full name of each coach, where they coach and their email address, which leads into my second preparation tool.
2. Gather Your Film and Send It Out
And by film, I mean actual game film, not a highlight reel. Once you’ve amassed a list of college programs that interest you, the next step would be to compose a well-written email, include links to your film and send if off to the respective coaching staffs. In the email make sure to include your vitals: full name, the high school you attend, the club or travel team you play for, your graduating class, height, weight, position, and, most importantly, your uniform number in the film you sent. Having all of these small details included in the body text of the email will make it more likely to catch the eye of a college coach.
3. Stay Sharp On and Off The Court
There’s no doubt that gym time – both for hooping and weight lifting – is and will become much more difficult to come by, but there are still plenty of ways to keep game sharp and stay in shape during this time at home or at a nearby park that still has its basketball rims up. Another way to stay sharp in a basketball sense is by watching and breaking down your own game film. Watch yourself on film and be honest about what you see. Write down strengths and weaknesses of your game or even write down specific plays that you thought resulted in something good or something bad. Self-evaluation can be a valuable and humbling tool. Off the court, make sure you’re keeping your grades up, because while you may not be in the classroom because of distance learning, universities still have grade and GPA requirements to attend and earn scholarship money.