Is your high school son or daughter showing major potential on the basketball court? Are college coaches starting to take an interest in your child's skills with letters, visits or even scholarship offers?
The recruiting process--especially for high-profile prospects--can be a confusing and stressful time for families who have never been through it before. Who can you turn to who has experienced a hectic recruitment, when only the elite talents are exposed to it?
iHoops.com reached out to the parents of several highly recruited basketball players from years past. These parents lived through the phone calls, emails, hundreds of letters and multiple in-home visits and can now shed insight into what they did right--and what they might do different.
Each question was answered by three different parents in order to provide raw, diverse and honest insight into what they went through as the parents of a highly touted basketball prospect. Their quotes are below:
How Did You Handle Being a Parent of a High-Profile Athlete?
• "My husband and I have done a good job keeping our son grounded by not letting him have a cell phone or using the Internet for reasons other than doing homework. We also constantly talk to him about continuing to work hard and keep learning. We relate that to the work ethic to keep improving their games. We also stress that basketball isn't everything and that his education is always going to be the most important."
• "I pray all the time; people often have to be reminded that this is our child and we love him even if he never picks up a ball again. My son often carries the burdens of the success or failure of the entire team on his shoulders, I try to encourage him and shoulder as many of his burdens as possible. I constantly remind him that because he is a student/athlete that he is held to a higher standard and things that would not matter if done by others will make headlines if it happens to him. I urge him to choose his friends and associates wisely and to limit his social engagements, for instance, house parties are definitely forbidden; he is limited to school activities, movies and certain friends/relatives homes. It may seem a little drastic, but there are those that dislike student/athletes for no reason other than jealousy and will put them in difficult and sometimes harmful situations simply out of jealousy."
• "It is tough when you have everyone looking at you and some trying to tear your son down and find faults or change what you say or don't say around them. I try to be strong and firm and protect my son from things that I do not have control over. I am still learning to not take things too personal and I think that is the toughest part."
How Did You Nurture and Guide Your Child as an Athlete?
• "I remind him to always pray and seek God in all things; I remind him that everyone is not his friend and that there are some people that will intentionally do things to harm him. I inform him that we love him and that the rules and guidelines we impose are for his good and because we love him. He may not like them and may not understand them at this point, but when he is older he will know that the measures we took were for his good and with his well-being in mind."
• "We have always supported our son in the things that he wants to do. He works very hard at improving his game. My husband works out with him at least three to four times a week (strength training). He also gets out on the court regularly and gets shots up daily. He understands the importance of being a strong offensive and defensive player in order to dominate on the court. A lot of guys are just offensive or defensive players, but not both. We also relate that to everyday life. The following quote is what we preach to him everyday: 'You must do what you have to do to do what you want to do.'"
• "We always encouraged him and are there for him. He can count on a firm home foundation with love and support."
How Did You Help Your Child Be the Best Student They Could Be?
• "We make certain he studies and his high school coach, which just happens to be his dad, checks his grades every week to monitor his process and make certain that he maintains his grades and core classes."
•"He wants to be a good student, but we have always emphasized the importance of getting good grades and giving it his all in school. We tell him that without good grades, basketball means nothing. He can't get into the schools he wants to go to without good grades, and he needs that great education for when basketball is over. Basketball is not promised. We tell him he could blow out his knee tomorrow."
• "We preach that education is the starting point of your success. Not everyone will make it in basketball and you have to have your grades right starting as a freshman. Don't wait because it could be the difference from a Division-I scholarship and a junior-college scholarship."