Who Makes the Team, Who Doesn't

Now, many of you coaches especially at the lower levels are going through player tryouts right now. I posted earlier on some of the things to consider when running a tryout. I wanted to get you all to start thinking about when the time comes to make the cuts and make those hard choices, what are some possible scenarios to consider.

In a perfect world, we'd just keep all the kids or form another team. But most if not all of us don't live in that perfect world, we have to make cuts. So, I just wanted to throw in a hypothetical situation that will hopefully get the brain thinking some more about your team, your players, and what you hope to accomplish for the season.


OK, say you're the head coach of a JV team (frosh and sophs) and you've had your tryouts and 12 or 13 spots have been decided by you and your coaching staff. That was the easy part. Now, there are 5 kids leftover and you have to choose just one (remember, this is a hypothetical, in a real world, we probably pick 2 or 3). The profile of the remaining kids are as follows in no particular order:

A. Kid A is a phenomenal athlete. Star running back for the football team and can run like the wind, football coaches say he has a great work ethic. Problem is that Kid A has never played organized basketball in his life. Couldn't tell you the difference between a box out and a close out.

B. Kid B is a really smart and nice kid. Top 5 student in his class. Kid B picks things up very quickly and has decent skills, but unfortunately he's only 5-foot-3. He maybe able to play point for you this year, but problem is that you already have too many guards on the team and Kid B may not play much.

C. Kid C is one of the best shooters on the team and a real basketball fan. Problem is Kid C is overweight and has trouble getting up and down the court. Kid C maybe able to contribute later in the season but at the beginning will need to focus on conditioning.

D. Kid D is probably the best basketball player of the 5 but is diagnosed with ADD and has problems concentrating in the classroom. Kid D has the height to possibly play varsity but you're not sure if his attention problems will affect his ability to learn.

E. Kid E is one of the tallest players on the team at 6-foot-4. Problem is that Kid E is on academic probation and won't be able to play until January. You have plenty of guards and could use an extra forward or 2, especially as playoffs approach.


There really aren't any right answers here. The point here is that coaches have some real tough decisions to make when it comes to making cuts. It's a tough thing to tell a kid that they aren't good enough to make the team. I remember when I missed the cut for my Freshman team many many years ago, it was devastating to me.

If I had to pick only 1 player, I would probably go with Kid E and possibly Kid A as those kids probably have the best chance of making an impact at the Varsity level and you want to pick up players that potentially will help the Varsity team down the road. But you can easily make a justification really for picking any of the 5.

If you or your son/daughter happen to be one of those players that did not make their respective team this year, there are some great videos to look at that will help you become a better player and hopefully make the team next year. Take a look at 5Star's DVD on the Individual Improvement plan. As I've said before, let's not forget the famous case of Michael Jordan, who was cut from his Varsity team his sophomore year but made it as a Junior and led them to the state title. If MJ can do it, so can you.

If you're looking for tryout stuff, I have plenty of notes so be sure to check them out at the X's and O's of Basketball Forum.