Go Pro: From Graduate to Professional Basketball Player
All university and college graduates are confronted with one big question upon graduation: where to from here? It is a moment often tainted with a glimmer of uncertainty – will you succeed in the real world? Nowhere does this ring more true than for the aspiring professional basketball player.
So you have finished college or university, either in the US or on home turf in Australia. You were good enough to get into your college or university on a basketball scholarship, and you’ve improved your skills over the past three of four years. But, where to from here?
Michael Oakes, Australian athlete manager and accredited FIBA agent, asserts that it is important to objectively and realistically assess your talent. Only a small number of college graduates make it in the professional arena: only 2-3 rookie spots are offered each year in the NBL and WNBL, and only 60 players are drafted each year for the NBA and WNBA. So what steps can you take to assure that you have the best chance possible of success?
1. If you are eligible for dual citizenship anywhere within the European Union, apply now. There are restrictions on the number of imports that a team can take, plus, your position on the team as an import is always volatile. Playing as a European Citizen has benefits in terms of your job security, pay and competitive edge.
2. The NBL and WNBL are often the launch pad of a career in the NBA/WNBA or in Europe. Landing a position in the NBL/WNBL provides you with the opportunity for intensive training, and puts you in the spotlight for a future position in the USA or Europe. Prior to landing a spot in the NBL/WNBL, consider joining a senior state league and competing in SEABL. Although the training is not as intensive, and these leagues often to do not strength and conditioning training programs, it may provide you with a springboard into an NBL/WNBL position.
3. The NBA and WNBA are renowned as the best leagues in the world, and boast an international array of players. If this is your end-goal, training in an intensive draft prep camp, or summer development program, can increase your chances of being drafted for a team. Similarly, obtaining a position in the NBL/WNBL or a European team will increase your recognition within the US market.
Regardless of where you want to end up as a professional basketball player, whether it be as a player for the NBL/WNBL, NBA/WNBA or Europe, it is important to strategically plan your next move, straight from college or university. Stay focused, keep your goal in mind and grasp onto every opportunity within reach, on an international and national level. If you truly believe you have what it takes, then push to go pro after your basketball college career.