A lot of local student athletes have been siging scholarships with area and out-of-state teams.
There are also some of those hustle athletes who don’t make many mistakes and are good role players. A lot of times, those hoopers get overlooked for the ones who can score 20-plus points per game or who dish out 15 assists a game. I know there are some of you out there who aren’t getting calls from college coaches, but who still want to try and play at the next level.
As a former college athlete, here is my advice for you:
I was homeschooled my whole life, but I wanted to play college ball in the worst way. My plan was to practice extra…more than anyone else. I didn’t have a gym so I went to John Slidell Park and did my conditioning workouts every morning on the fields outside. Then I did my school later that morning and worked out at night at Cross Gates lifting weights and shooting and playing pickup with the guys.
So first you should work harder than everyone you know to get better every day.
Then you should contact college coaches. Tell them you are a very hard worker and want to play at the next level. By the time of your senior year, you’ll have an idea if you are going to get any scholarship offers. If you haven’t received anything by the signing date, find out when the walk-on tryouts are at the colleges. They usually will hold them to see if there’s anyone they have missed.
No one knew about me since I was homeschooled, but I walked on at Southeastern and made the team. One way that you can stand out is by becoming a really good shooter. I am only 5-foot-7 so I knew I would need to be an above average three-point shooter to make me stand out. That’s what got me on the SLU team. I redshirted my first year there and then they offered me a spot on the team with a jersey. They didn’t have scholarship money for me, though, so I had to quit and work for a year. Then I tried out at LSU-Shreveport and made that team. I earned a scholarship there.
So just work hard — harder than anyone. Get to practice early and stay late to shoot. Do pushups every day, squats and lunges. Get stronger. And contact coaches now.
Also, keep making good grades. If you try to walk on a team but don’t have good grades, they won’t even bother. To be a walk-on, you’ve got to have more than talent.
(Chrissy Smith is Sports Editor of Tammany West, and a former college athlete. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)