Diane Scavuzzo: For the elite players, what recommendations do you have?

VJ Stanley: I would first ask the question, what is your definition of an elite athlete? I would then ask who is telling this athlete that they are elite. About 80% of a college coach’s time is spent on recruiting. College coaches have access to many different ways to find and evaluate elite athletes. They have assistants who go out and watch athletes play every day.

The pool of athletes for a Division I scholarship is truly global now. So you may think you are an elite athlete when in fact you are only a big fish in a small pond.

There are a limited number of scholarships available athletically. There are 77 times MORE non-athletic scholarships than athletic ones and very few full athletic scholarships to college, so I would say emphatically, STUDY! Hit the books! It is very unlikely that any athlete cannot be found if they have talent.

Now, if a Division I coach has told you that you can play at that level, and not your youth coach, any relative, a “wanna be” scout or a scouting service, my advice for you would be to keep your grades up, get plenty of rest, make sure you are having fun playing your sport, and to balance your athletics with academics.

Don’t get caught up in the hype of having to play on this one specific team. Find a team that encourages a positive attitude, modeled by the head coach, with humility, accountability and sportsmanship. If you combine talent with that paradigm, a college coach will find you. In the very odd chance that you are not found and have talent, there is a thing called “walk-ons” in college sports, and you can try out when you show up to the college of your choice.