Preparing Aussie kids for US college basketball - The Pick and Roll
by Damian Arsenis
One of those also trying to make their mark as a coach in the NCAA is Western Australian Michael Clarke. After spending the 2013/14 season with Division I program Virginia Commonwealth, Clarke was most recently an Assistant Coach with Division III school MacMurray College, Illinois.
Clarke provides his suggestions for Aussie kids in preparing for US college.
Preparing for US College: Start early
There is an opportunity in the US for most committed Australian junior basketball players, if they want one. From the three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) divisions and two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) divisions, to the multitude of junior colleges, preparatory schools and high schools. There are literally thousands of roster spots but, for a variety of reasons, most young Aussies do not adequately prepare for the opportunity of a lifetime.
Steps need to be taken as early as Year 9 by prospective student-athletes. Basketball is serious business in the US, and there are many hoops to get through apart from those on the court. Eligibility to play is determined by several factors including high school courses taken, grades, test results and amateur status. Then there is the challenge of being recruited, hopefully with a scholarship offer, by catching the attention of basketball programs on the other side of the World. In my experience, there are lots of Australian juniors who want to play in the US, but they are not in a position to do so because they have not done certain things or they have left it too late. In the hope of reducing the number of disappointed kids in the future, I want to provide a rough outline of what they should be doing to maximize their prospects of playing in the home of basketball. Read on here.