According to recent statistics, there are over 500,000 high school boys basketball players in the United States alone. Out of these half a million boys, only a minuscule number ever go on to play Division 1 college basketball. In this article, we will look at how many scholarships in D1 basketball are available and how to increase your chances for basketball college recruiting.
What are the Chances of Getting a D1 Basketball Scholarship?
In 2018-19, there are 551,373 high school boys plus 412,407 girls basketball players in America. That’s quite a large number, isn’t it? So, what are the chances of getting a D1 basketball scholarship? Honestly, it’s pretty slim. Let us break the subject down, and let’s do the math.
In the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball, each of the 353 teams may field 16 players. Out of the 16, only 13 receive a full headcount scholarship. That means there are only 4,589 scholarships available for men’s D1 college basketball. That’s a percent probability of 0.83% or a 1: 120 odds.
Unless you’re ranked in the 99th percentile in high school basketball, there is basically no way for you to get a D1 basketball scholarship. But here’s the catch: D1 basketball is not the only way to secure a scholarship. Before we go deeper into that, let’s first differentiate the two types of scholarship– the headcount and equivalency.
We have already mentioned the headcount scholarship in passing. What does that mean exactly? A player in a headcount scholarship implies the individual is getting a full-ride athletic scholarship. On the other hand, equivalency scholarship means the allotted scholarship money is spread among the players. Hence, it is a partial scholarship; it’s not a full-ride, but it’s better than nothing.
Now, as we have pointed out, D1 basketball teams offer 13 headcount scholarships. Unfortunately, if you did not receive one scholarship offer, it would be smart to take your chances in the lower division and even junior college. Between NCAA D2, NAIA D1, NAIA D2, and JUCO (Junior College), 42 equivalency scholarships are offered on each team.
We know it’s not as “glamourous” as Division 1 basketball, but junior colleges offer 15 equivalency scholarships per team. That means if you make a junior college basketball roster, you will receive partial scholarship money to advance your education.
How Many D1 Athletes Get Scholarships?
It has been previously noted that there are 4,589 scholarships available for Division 1 men’s basketball. In women’s D1 basketball, the number is even more since each of the 354 basketball teams can give out 15 headcount scholarships.
Now, how many D1 athletes across all sports get scholarships? We could not say for sure, but according to the NCAA’s official website, there are over 180,000 student-athletes with scholarships in Division 1 and Division II.
Another statistic estimates that there are a total of 176,000 student-athletes in NCAA Division 1. However, in the 24 sports being competed at, only six offer headcount scholarships. These sports are men’s and women’s basketball, tennis, women’s gymnastics, FBS football (formerly called Division 1-A football), and women’s volleyball. The rest offers a partial or equivalency scholarship.
How Many Scholarships Can D1 Basketball Give?
Division 1 basketball can give out a total of nearly 10,000 basketball scholarships for men and women. There are 353 D1 men’s basketball teams that can give out 13 scholarships, while the 354 D1 women’s basketball teams can award 15 headcount scholarships.
Actually, Division 1 men’s basketball can go with a team of 16 players. The three extra bodies are called walk-ons, but they do not have full-ride scholarships. They may be eligible for one the next season, but that is still not a guarantee.
Interestingly enough, several NBA players began their college careers as walk-ons. (Many aspiring basketball players turn down offers from D2 or D3 schools and take a chance of being a walk-on so they can play in a famous program.)
Some of them are Andre Drummond (he was a 5-star recruit at UConn, but circumstances forced him to be a walk-on because there were no scholarships available at the time he committed), Jeff Hornacek (Iowa State), and Scottie Pippen (a walk-on manager at Central Arkansas). Ben Wallace played at a community college while Dennis Rodman played at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, an NAIA school.
What Do D1 Basketball Coaches Look For?
Even though the odds of getting a D1 basketball scholarship are slim, there is no reason to give up on your dream this early. If you are still young, perhaps in the sixth or seventh grade, you will need to work on your basketball skills to put yourself on the coach’s radar by the time you are in the ninth grade.
Speaking of coaches, what do Division 1 basketball coaches look for in their potential recruits? After all, no matter how talented you can get, coaches still search for the “intangibles” or the “immeasurables” as they go about in the recruiting process. Here are a few things:
- Most college basketball coaches refrain from making a decision based on one live game. They follow their recruiting targets throughout the season. If you’re looking to get recruited, be consistent in everything you do. If you put on a show in front of Mike Krzyzewski one night and play disinterested against an unranked team the next, that’s not going to be good for your resume.
- Basketball coaches look for somebody who plays hard and with an endless motor. This trait gives them a window into your mentality as a basketball player. Why? Because playing hard is something that you can entirely control. Whether or not you’re hitting your shots, playing hard is all about self-discipline.
- Coaches evaluate recruits differently, but every single one of them values character highly. They want someone who will positively represent the school or community. A coach is, well, a coach, and they will lose it if they’d have to babysit their players because someone can’t control their party ways.
- You also need to be coachable. To be coachable means, you can be taught or trained to do better. That is why part of the recruiting process is talking to your high school coaches about your coachability. If they don’t see that in you when you’re 13 or 14, they would probably look in the other direction. How do you show that you’re coachable? Be willing to change bad habits and be open to honest feedback. And don’t forget to thank everyone who’s giving up their time to help you improve your game.
- You need to excel academically. Of course, your coaches will probably put out a good word for you, but having good grades is a clear indication of your work ethic. It shows that you hold yourself to a standard.
- Coaches are very interested in knowing your attitude and character, but all of that is for naught if you don’t have the skillset. You need to develop the fundamental basketball skills to a high level such as shooting, ballhandling, passing, and overall decision-making,
- Speaking of decision making, coaches often value a high basketball IQ. Having a high basketball IQ means you have the ability to read defenses, react accordingly, and be a step ahead of the opposition. That level of intelligence is sought-after since it tends to elevate the play of your teammates.
7 Tips on How to Get a Basketball Scholarship
1. Play against the highest quality of opponents possible. As the famous adage goes, “Iron sharpens iron.” One way to fast-track your development is to test yourself against the highest level of competition. This ultimately depends on your circumstances, but don’t hold out playing against the top teams in your age bracket as much as possible.
2. Do your homework. Unless you’re a phenom like Zion Williamson, the chances of some college coach knocking at your door and offering you a scholarship are remote. Make yourself get noticed by contacting the coaches via email or phone. Research about a particular college and see if it’s the right fit.
3. Make a highlight film. Mixtapes or highlight clips will give the coaches an idea of your skillset. Since you won’t meet these coaches in person, this is an excellent way to make a nice first impression. Another thing to keep in mind when creating a highlight film: Ditch all the fancy editing and confounding music. Keep it clean and simple.
4. Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. This is a straightforward but often overlooked process. This registration is done to certify and validate that you are an amateur athlete. Many missed their chance to play college ball just because they neglected this step.
5. Take care of your body. Be careful of what you eat and drink because, at some point, it’s going to bite you hard. Staying in top condition is hard enough, but you are not doing yourself any favors if you’re consuming junk food and soda all the time.
6. Stay out of trouble. Coaches and schools do not want distractions, so never provide them one. Staying out of trouble is also a testament to your discipline and work ethic. Many talented student-athletes are left out in the recruiting process because they make one wrong decision after another, primarily if it becomes publicly known via social media.
7. Build on your strengths, improve your weaknesses. There is always room for improvement. If you continue building on the things you are good at while at the same time cracking down on your weaknesses, you are making yourself quite an unstoppable force.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Scholarships are There for D1 Basketball?
The chances of securing a Division 1 basketball scholarship are very slim. Statistically, there is only a 0.83% chance or a 1:120 odds of that happening.
There are 353 D1 teams and only 13 headcount scholarships available for each team. That means only 4,589 scholarships are up for grabs in D1 men’s basketball. From a recent statistic, there over 500,000 high school boys basketball players in the country. You do the quick math, and it leads you to the magic number– a 0.83% chance of landing a coveted D1 basketball scholarship.
To be honest, that’s not much. That’s less than 1 in 100 student-athletes. Realistically speaking, unless you’re some high school basketball phenom, chances are, you’re mail is not going to be flooded with invitations anytime soon.
Still, you don’t need to fret. If you are still relatively young, perhaps in the seventh to eighth grade, you can do a lot of things to improve your game and put yourself on the map for college recruitment.
One way of doing that is by developing your character and attitude. Coaches like disciplined and mature young men because it implies that they are coachable and know what it takes to win. Of course, basketball skills will always be at the forefront of basketball college recruiting, but good grades, impeccable character record, and mental fortitude are also factored in heavily.
Whatever the case, may it not bother you knowing how many scholarships in D1 basketball are available. If basketball is really your passion, you can always go to college basketball tryouts or opt for Division 2, Division 3, and even the Junior College route. It’s not the smoothest of roads, but if it means you will play basketball and secure a scholarship, maybe that’s not so bad after all.
Did you find this helpful? Then also check out other basketball FAQ articles here.