NCAA rulings force local players to delay hoop dreams
Making the jump into the NCAA from high school is difficult enough without having to cross the border that divides Canada from the United States.
Kent Ridley, head scout of Ridley Scouting, frequently deals with local athletes looking to transition their playing careers to the professional level.
"Basically the NCAA rule was stopping prep schools from enrolling a LeBron James type student that would pay (or have a booster pay for them which is legal at the prep level) their tuition (in many cases $15,000+) for a year that would basically be dedicated to playing ball rather than upgrading their marks," Ridley said.
"It's almost never that an athlete just shows up on campus and then makes the team without the entire preamble that comes with the recruiting process; although it does happen a lot more in Canada than in the US."
19-year-old Trey Hull of Calgary, AB, found out while attending Impact, a basketball prep- school in Las Vegas this past summer, that due to a change made by the NCAA in their eligibility policies for high school graduates he must wait another year before he is permitted to play.
"It's become more difficult now. I can't play and make a highlight video for anyone," Hull said. "So I can't make a reel that I can send to any schools. You can make training videos of performing drills but how many coaches are going to say, 'this guy does a drill really well, we're going to sign him.'"
Edgar Ndayishaimiye, 19, another NCAA hopeful from Calgary, says, "It messes people up because they think they can do certain things and then the NCAA introduces a new rule and that changes everything."
"Because of my situation being past the one year of post-graduate basketball the only thing I can do is train otherwise I would lose another year to be in the NCAA," Hull said.
Though it may be more of a challenge for Canadian born players to gain access to the NCAA, recognition for those who have made it is more notable today than it has been in past years.
"At first it was hard to make a name for myself. Eventually with other people signing in the NCAA it opened up a bunch of doors. Canadians are on the map and receiving the respect that they're due," Ndayishaimiye said.
"If the NCAA doesn't work out I could always play CIS in Canada but my main goal is to play NCAA."
Advice for athletes looking to compete abroad:
• Stay on top of your paperwork (Visas, application forms, transcripts, etc.)
• Keep updated on any ruling changes that the NCAA or CIS have made
• If playing in the USA make sure your SAT exams have been completed
• Always have a backup plan in the case that your first plan falls through
- By SUNJEEV PRASAD