How Can I Tryout for an NBA Team?

By Ty Wright

Putting a round leather ball through a hoop is harder than it looks. The National Basketball Association pays young men handsomely to perform this task. The NBA also is highly selective about the people it employs. The tried and true method for joining the NBA is to get drafted by a team. Other methods involve a more circuitous route. Ultimately, it boils down to skills on the hardwood. If you can really play the game, you need to catch the eye of an NBA scout who will decide if you’re right for the world’s premier basketball league.

Step 1

Play high school varsity basketball and excel at your position. Earn all-league, all-state or All-America honors to attract national recognition. Colleges and NBA scouts track the best high school players, especially tall ones.

Step 2

Earn a basketball scholarship to a four-year university, preferably one with a national reputation in the sport and a well-respected coach. Become a standout player in whatever conference the university plays in, or become one of the national leaders in statistics, such as field goals, rebounds or 3-point shots. Success at the collegiate level could lead to getting drafted by an NBA team.

Step 3

Ask your college coach to talk to NBA scouts about you. Assemble a highlight reel of your best plays to submit to an NBA scout, along with your coach’s recommendation. NBA scouts sometimes hold individual tryouts, but these require the strong recommendation of a respected coach, professional player or another scout. An NBA team that is interested in you might place you in the Development League and monitor your progress.

Step 4

Earn an invitation to an NBA tryout, such as the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. NBA scouts evaluate players during the four-day tournament. The Portsmouth Invitational is as close as you can get to an NBA franchise tryout without being a recognized draft prospect.

Step 5

Contact the NBA Development League through their website. Information concerning national tryouts for the league will be posted on the site's homepage. The D-league, as it is called, functions like an NBA minor league. Each D-league team is affiliated with one or more of the NBA franchises. Players who excel are “called up” by the affiliated franchise to play in the NBA.

Step 6

Contact the International Basketball League to find out when they hold open tryouts. The IBL is a minor league unaffiliated with the NBA, but it is known for being a resource for scouts and coaches from professional teams all over the world, including the NBA.

References

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Ty Wright has written professionally since 1993, working primarily in film and television. His articles have appeared online at MadeMan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and electronic arts from California State University, Long Beach.

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