30 College Recruiting Red Flags

There a literally thousands of kids who feel they have a legitimate shot at playing pro basketball and there are thousands of events that supposedly help kids along this journey. The more you know about the recruiting process increases the chance you'll have for a positive recruiting experience. Photo: Chris Hall

The travel/grassroots season is about to kick off and there is so much competition to get a college scholarship that players cannot afford to potentially lose out on one by their actions away from the court. Photo: Chris Hall

As the high school season comes to a close and the travel/grassroots circuit kicks off, we were inspired by a baseball story to produce 30 red flags scouts and college coaches notice at gyms that potentially hurt player’s chances at securing a college scholarship. Many of these are common sense, but it is still important to remind kids and their parents how their subtle actions could be viewed in a negative light by the important decision makers who are watching.

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Nate Trosky has been in the baseball world over two decades running his own company, Trosky Baseball, and working over 150 college recruiting events and professional scouting combines.

He recently contributed an article to StudentSportsBaseball.com and we felt his insight from the view of a professional scout is applicable to basketball. We modified his list below to be “hoops relevant.”

Trosky begins by explaining that based on the events he’s been to, “I have noted 30 recruiting red flags, complaints from the college coaches and scouts concerning high school prospects. I encourage prospects and their parents to read the list below and make note of the red flags. Being conscious of each will ultimately increasing a player’s odds of being recruited.”

As a coach and scout, I communicate to my players that, ‘the college coaches are in the bushes and the scouts are in the tree,’ meaning someone’s always watching them!” A player’s character is the true separator and definer of how far they will go in this game and in life, and character can be defined as what someone does when nobody is looking, or at least when they think nobody is.”


30 College Recruiting Red Flags

1. Addressing an email to a college coach by either calling him or her coach, without a first name and/or by spelling the name wrong.

2. Sending emails to college coaches that are lengthy, with too much information.

3. Getting in off-the-court trouble outside of basketball fostering a reputation that reaches college coaches.

4. Attending a college recruiting camp with an entitled attitude with body language that portrays you don’t really want to listen to what is being taught.

5. On an official visit, the first question out of your mouth is asking current players what the party scene is like.

6. During a college visit, acting rude to your parent(s) or family member and/or not engaging with other recruits.

7. Throwing gear after getting upset during a game.

8. Having an uncoachable attitude when a coach is advising or teaching. This could be subtle too but experienced scouts and recruiters notice it.

9. Looking unkept in your appearance, including in a uniform. College coaches want a player who understands how you approach the game is important.

10. Being seen at the gym more interested in socializing than working on the game.

11. At a game, showcase or camp, a player disrespecting his high school or travel coach in front of the college coaches.

12. Having a poor diet at a showcase or tournament, especially if the student-athlete appears to be struggling with weight problems.

13. Overly involved parents or family members. Parents that are too attached, controlling, or speak for their kids when a college coach asks the player questions is a tell-tale sign.

14. At a high school or travel ball game, a player asking his parents for drinks/snacks.

15. Lack of self control, revealing negative emotions through poor body language when things aren’t going right on the hardwood.

16. Complaining or disrespect toward referees or coaches.

17. Inconsistent effort or hustle getting back on defense. This is especially apparent when a teammate takes a bad shot.

18. Low GPA.

19. Low test scores.

20. Player’s dad or family member carrying his backpack, bag or equipment.

21. A parent trying to coach too much from the sideline. Unless your a Top 50 player, a college coaching staff really doesn’t want to deal with that.

22. Colorful language, poor attitude or inappropriate images on social media.

23. Showing up late, anytime.

24. Not being prepared at a college camp, forgetting sneakers, shorts,  etc.

25. Verbally committing early and then getting lazy and not improving or reaching one’s projection.

26. Player rolling his bag into the gym on wheels.

27. Verbally committing to a college, and then decommitting without a good reason.

28. Lack of commitment to a club or high school team. For example, playing on numerous teams at once and being unreliable.

29. Showing off, boasting, or other ego-driven actions that hurts a team’s culture.

30. Rounding up on GPA, test scores, and/or game statistics.

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