What it takes to play Professional Basketball

By Guest Author Lamar Hull

Becoming a professional basketball player can be a long journey, whether it is the NBA, overseas or other basketball adventures. Tons of kids dream of playing in the NBA. The journey to the NBA is filled with hard work and sacrifice. There are 30 teams in the NBA and only 12 seats per roster, meaning that only 360 players can be on a NBA team  at any one time. Only the most elite high school and college basketball players have a chance of becoming one of the 60 new professionals selected in the NBA draft each year. Read more about this topic on my site at Inspirational Basketball.

Many of the best basketball players started playing in grade school or earlier. Players should look to practice as often as possible, challenging themselves to battle against stronger, taller, faster and better opponents. I didn’t get the opportunity to play in the NBA, but was fortunate to play professionally overseas. I’m 5’9” and what it took was a lot of practice and hard-work. What also made me a better basketball player was playing in organized team practices; pickup games, going to basketball camps, and being involved in private coaching. Today’s NBA players and other professional basketball player are in peak condition for many months at a time. Being in this type of condition involves work on and off the court including brutal cardio conditioning and strength training.,

Michael Jordan always points out that it’s not enough to be a scorer; players who make it to the NBA also have to have great defensive and team player skills. A player needs to be well rounded in dribbling, passing, shooting, three point shooting, and free throws. For those who want to play college or NBA basketball, having a 60% plus free throw average by eighth grade is highly recommended.

AAU Basketball (Amateur Athletic Union) is a non-profit league organized for aspiring players. The AAU gives players an opportunity to play against the toughest students in their region. AAU players can start as early as second grade and go through high school. Basketball players and their parents need to actively be involved in managing their AAU “experience”, making sure that the player is on a team with good chemistry, coaching, and ethics. AAU basketball teams, even at the 7th and 8th grade level, are known for practicing as much as 25-30 hours per week as a team. Parents can expect to pay on average at least $400 per season per player in order to pay for general team costs and rental space at a school gym. College and professional teams scout both AAU basketball and high school teams. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of having your child play AAU or YBOA (Youth Basketball of America) basketball.

In my opinion, being a star on a high school basketball team is critical to making it to the big leagues. While a few incredible high school players are able to skip college level play, NCAA basketball is still the primary recruiting ground for professional teams. Most professional basketball players still spend some time at college. To have a good chance at making it overseas or to the NBA, players need to attend a college. If you think you have what it takes, here are some tips to earning a basketball scholarship that will be useful when trying to be recruited. Playing for a big basketball college program is also very beneficial when trying to make it professionally. Though playing for Duke or Kansas still won’t guarantee that a player makes it to the NBA or overseas, it will dramatically increase a player’s chance. Once in college, elite college players have the opportunity to face elite opponents in season play and nationally televised tournaments.

The NBA, D-League, or overseas may be a long journey but for those who put in the work it is a difficult but attainable dream. I put it in a lot of hard work and it paid off. As a short 5’9” point guard, I was able to earn a professional contract overseas. Through perseverance, hard-work and determination my dreams came true and so can yours!


Author: Lamar Hull is a former Davidson College basketball player who had the opportunity to play alongside of Stephen Curry and play professional overseas in the United Kingdom. Lamar currently is establishing a youth basketball website called Inspirational Youth Basketball. The purpose of his site is to provide professional and college drills and tips for parents, players and coaches. You can follow Lamar @lamarhull20.

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