#AskCoachB: To sign early, or late?

Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

When it comes to making a college decision, a basketball prospect has two choices: Sign early in November, or late in April. Since basketball is a two-semester sport there are two signing periods in which to choose from. After 18 years of coaching college basketball at the highest level as a head coach and as an assistant, my primary thought is not to play with the process, because if you do it will come back and bite you.

There are many advantages to a prospect signing early. You have your scholarship assured and you not only know where you are going, but who you are playing for and how you will fit in the program of your choice. You can focus on academics without the distraction of recruiting visits, phone calls and text messages, which now are unlimited. This only works if you have not rushed the process and had plenty of recruiting face time and interaction with a coaching staff.

The good thing with signing late is it gives you more time to improve your options, but there are no guarantees of a positive outcome. There are some players who blossom later in their senior year and need more time to figure things out. A player might wait to the April period because his academics are not in order, which can delay the process. But the pressure of making this important decision often weighs down a player’s performance. Unfortunately, some guys enjoy the publicity too much and keep the process going too long just for attention, which is a huge mistake.

There is not a perfect approach to choosing a future college. All you can do is do research, go through the process and make an informed decision when you are ready. If you take that approach it’s less likely you will be one of those 300-plus transfers in college basketball.