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What NBA scouts look for in basketball players 20 and younger

NBC Basketball Camps interviewed former camper and camp coach, Ryan Carr, director of scouting for the NBA's Indiana Pacers.   Carr is an outstanding judge of basketball potential and talent and we want to know how he assesses basketball talent in those who are 20 years old and younger.

First, I focus on skill level. I watch to see where a player’s skill set is in proportion to other athletes the same age. I also look for athleticism. By athleticism, I not only mean their physical size but also what they are able to accomplish with that size. Athleticism is speed, quickness, strength, as well as potential. Another key factor I look for is basketball IQ--I want to know if they really understand the game.

What does basketball IQ mean?
I believe the best teams know how to limit mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen in basketball, but the best teams work to make fewer mistakes then their opponents. For me, Basketball IQ is a player’s ability to limit mistakes. He knows how to make the right play at the right time without forcing. A player with great basketball IQ plays with poise and understands tempo. He can take what the game gives him and make the most of each situation.

What role does sportsmanship play in your scouting?
Great athletes are cool under pressure. They never allow themselves to be emotionally taken out of the game. They may get angry at a call but it is very brief and they are immediately refocusing on what they need to do for the next play. I look for players who can handle adversity with dignity. I watch how someone responds to a bad call—does it take him out of the play or can he move past it. Refs are going to make bad calls which can affect the play but an athlete’s response to that bad call can perpetuate the negative momentum or stop it from affecting the team. Sportsmanship to me is the ability to remain cool under pressure and never lose composure. It is dignity in adversity and composure in a crisis. Compound mistakes kill team success. The great athletes eliminate anything which keeps them from doing what needs to be done. Unsportsmanlike play results in mistakes, bad decisions, loss of momentum and poor judgment. Remaining cool under pressure is a crucial skill every athlete, coach and parent needs to work toward.

If your son or daughter was getting recruited to play Division 2 or 3 but had a really strong dream to play Division 1 what would you encourage?
First, I think a free education is so valuable. I would go where I can play for free. Next, I’d ask how my child defines success. Would he or she like to just practice for a Division 1 program and never get playing time or would he or she rather be the main player for a smaller program? My personal opinion would be to take the biggest role you can, get a great education and make whatever experience you can special. For the vast majority of college athletes, competitive basketball ends after their senior year of college. I would encourage my son or daughter to have the best experience possible and play for a program where he or she could make a major contribution to the team.

What was your experience at NBC Basketball Camps like for you?
To try and capture what NBC means to me in preparing me for my career in the NBA and my roles as husband, father, and friend is nearly impossible. The ability to solve problems, to trust God through adversity, to be disciplined, and to love authentically are all things that have been imprinted in my DNA and guided me in every situation I encounter.  The basketball at NBC is world class, but the lessons aren’t just life long, they are eternal.

CHECK out other tips by NBC Basketball Camps-- the largest, most successful basketball camp program in the world
• Four Active steps to propel you to the front of college coach’s recruiting list
• 5 ways to be a top high school player
• Play at the college level: ways to improve your options
• The power of self-control
• Play your best in the big games
www.nbccamps.com/tips


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NBC Basketball Camps is part of the US Sports Camps network, operators of Nike Camps.

"NBC Camps are about excitement, passion, sports improvement, life skills, friends and fun!  If you choose NBC your expectations will be exceeded and you’ll receive a lifetime experience."
Steve Pence CEO – NBC Camps; President – Nike Sports Camps

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