How I Got a College Scholarship

I did not have the ideal measurements (5’11”) that major college coaches drool over when recruiting, but I was able to collect a ton of Division 1 scholarship offers for the skills and traits that aren’t found in box scores. I was able to control my controllables… and put my focus on my attitude, effort, preparation, basketball IQ and skill level.

During the recruiting process, I always asked about 3 key areas:

  1. Academics: I knew the ball would stop bouncing at some point and wanted an educational program that challenged me and prepare me for the business world.
  1. Basketball: I wanted to contribute on a team that would help me fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in the NCAA tournament.
  1. People: I knew I would spend the majority of my college career with the players, coaches and staff members and knew if I chose the right school that these people would become family for the rest of my life.

Outside of those primary areas, there were two other important questions I always asked:

  1. What role do you see me playing?
  2. What do you see in me as a player?

Belmont coaches Rick Byrd and Casey Alexander were both straight shooters and gave me a super honest answer:

“We want you because of all the intangibles you have to offer. We think your work ethic will be contagious in our program, we think your IQ will elevate our team, we need a vocal leader like you that can hold everyone accountable in the locker room. We love that you come from a winning program (Webster Groves HS) because we want you to help us carry on our winning tradition.”

I was an All-State guard and they didn’t mention anything about my game!

They liked my work ethic because they knew I woke up at 4:59 A.M. every morning to shoot 1,000 shots before school.

They liked my basketball IQ because I was an extension of my coach on the floor and spent a ton of time learning and studying the game with my high school coach (Jay Blossom).

They liked the fact that I was a leader that huddled my teammates during free throws and held people accountable without being discouraging.

And they liked that I was willing to do anything and everything to give my team a better chance to win.

Looking back, I now realize that all the things they mentioned are in fact skills. Just like shooting, passing and handling the ball.

And it was those skills that were my separators and helped me fulfill my childhood dream of playing in not one, but two NCAA tournaments at Belmont!

Alright, time to get back in the gym.

Drew Hanlen