So You Want to Be a College Basketball Player?

By Tony Miller

Some quick advice on what it takes to be an impact college basketball player from a Division III basketball coach. 

“There’s a difference between being a college basketball player and being an impact college basketball player.”

Every spring, I enjoy scrolling through my social media feed looking at all the college commitments by graduating student-athletes and the congratulatory replies by friends and family. There’s so much hard work and sacrifice represented in each of those posts. If you’re fortunate enough to be one of those athletes, you really should feel proud of your accomplishment.

But, if you will, allow me to give some words of advice: Don’t become complacent.

Chances are, you were the best player, or at least one of the top two or three, on your high school team. You led the team in multiple statistical categories. You probably even were one of the best players in the state (or at least the region) at your school’s level. But none of that matters now.

You can’t expect future success based on past accomplishments.

If you’re going to make an impact this season, you must put in the work now! What you do the next four months will go a long way towards preparing you for October.

A few “Do’s and Don’ts” for this off season:

  • Don’t mistakenly think playing 5-on-5 pickup for three hours is a “hardcore basketball workout.” Do get high volumes of reps on skills you will actually use in games.
  • Don’t try to be great at everything – you’ll end up average at a lot of things. Do focus on 2 or 3 things you can do to contribute at the next level.
  • Don’t sacrifice quality (i.e., performing skills correctly) for quantity (i.e., practicing for hours at a time). Do go hard for short amounts of time.
  • Don’t go half speed in workouts. Do push yourself to go faster and faster in your skill work.
  • Don’t eat like the average teenager. Do commit to a nutritional plan and stick to it.
  • Don’t avoid the weight room. Do strength training involving movements used in basketball.
  • Don’t act entitled. Do have the mindset every time you step on the court that you need to prove yourself.
  • Don’t take anything for granted. Do be grateful for every opportunity to play the game you love.

So there’s my advice. Now it’s up to you to follow it or not!

Check out FMS #PlayerDevelopmentWeek content for drills to build skills this off season.

More content from Tony Miller: 4 Keys to Developing Mental Toughness

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Tony Miller

Men's Assistant Basketball Coach at Bob Jones University Bruins
Dr. Tony Miller is the men's assistant basketball coach at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. In addition, he serves as the director of BJU's sport management degree program.
January 16, 2018: South Carolina Gamecocks guard Hassani Gravett (2) defends the drive by Kentucky Wildcats guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) in the SEC Basketball matchup at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC. (Scott Kinser/Cal Sport Media)(Credit Image: © Scott Kinser/CSM via ZUMA Wire)

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