When I first began evaluating high school basketball recruits in 1997, you’d see a prospect a handful of times if you were lucky. There wasn’t the kind of access to players and coaches that today is almost instantaneous.
As time has passed, if you’re so inclined, the ability to be a basketball spy has gotten easier. Information on players exists everywhere. And if you have the proper network, obtaining information is one cell phone call away. Basically, we know more about these guys than they realize. I follow guys on Twitter, for example, to delve into their character and see what they’re made of beyond the court.
For myself and a lot of the talent evaluators on our staff, there’s the physical component to an evaluation that encompasses a player’s abilities -- and that’s certainly important. But personally, what’s equally important is getting to the root of who players are as people. If the homework is done on a specific player, you then have to be confident in what you’ve learned. That’s where the separation in terms of rankings should be most noticeable. If we’re going to spend the time on the inner evaluation, we’re going to use what we’ve learned -- both good and bad.
See, there’s more to the player evaluation than how fast they change ends, how well they handle the ball and how many shots they make. Peeling back the layers to create separation in evaluations -- and in turn rankings -- is what it’s all about. Getting to the core of who prospects are and who they can become is an integral part of our jobs.
So with a new update to the ESPN basketball prospect rankings on the horizon next week, it’s the perfect time to look into what goes into a player evaluation and how those rankings are determined.