How to Choose a Travel Team
Tuesday, February 5, 2013  |  In Recruiting Tips

The offseason has becoming increasingly more important for the recruitment of a college prospect. Many would argue that despite the fact that there are exposure opportunities available during the high school season, most prospects make a name for themselves during the travel team season.

While there was a time when summer camps and clinics dominated the offseason, travel team tournaments are now the best opportunity to play in front of college coaches and scouts in an effort to reach your goal of playing at the next level. For that reason, choosing the best travel team for you is extremely important. Here are some factors to consider when making that decision.

1. Playing the "Right" Events: Make sure the team you chose is playing the "right" events for you as a prospect. While it may be fun to travel the country and play in big name tournaments in big name cities, those events are usually not the best opportunities for the majority of prospects. Being in the same building as Coach K or John Calipari might be a cool story to tell your friends, but playing in a back gym or at an offsite location during the majority of the event does not do much for your recruitment.  Make sure your team in playing during the NCAA "Live" Recruiting Period and look for events with multiple courts under one roof to give yourself the best chance to be seen by college decision makers.

2. Playing Time: While it is the goal of most prospects to play on a "high profile" or "sneaker sponsored" team, these teams are not always the best situations for every prospect. Make sure there is an opportunity for your to play and to perform in front of coaches. This does not mean that you need to find a team where you can play 32 minutes per game, but it does mean that playing behind 9 high-major prospects is probably not the best situation.

3. Development: Many prospects look at the travel team season as strictly an exposure opportunity, but please realize that you will likely be spending 5+ months with this team and it is an important time for your development. Do your research and make sure the team has enough practice time, experienced coaches and a development plan in place for you.

4. Recruiting Relationships: Playing a good schedule and marketing their players is the job of a travel team job, but it also helps if the coaching staff has existing relationships with college coaches. This can come from past success, program alumni at the college level, or from the coaching staff's past experience as a coach, but either way, your best chance to receive the best guidance and exposure to college coaches is to play for a program with existing recruiting relationships. 

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