November 21, 2012 in Division II
Anyone around young basketball players has certainly heard an inordinate number of them express that they are going to play Division I college basketball. At a young age, kids have a tendency to be naive about how difficult it is to get to a Division I school and many also tend to tune out the voices who express to them how unlikely it actually is to make it.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, of course, but if kids become to fixated on the status of playing at a certain level, they could miss out or not be informed of great opportunities at Division II, Division III, NAIA or even JUCO levels that allow the chance to continue playing the sport while getting a free or partially free education.
Ryan Majerle, who started out at Division I Wisconsin-Green Bay, then transferred to Division I Toledo and has now ended up at Division II Grand Valley State, had a fantastic quote in the Grand Rapids Press about the ‘Division I’ dream:
“I suppose coming out of high school, there was a certain ego attached to it and wanting to play Division I,” Majerle said. “But I’ve learned it’s not just about basketball. This is a great team I’m part of, and there’s much more to it than even that.”
Something that adults don’t always do a great job of imparting to kids — and one of my main goals in launching this site and covering all levels of college basketball in the state — is the fact that non-Division I schools often offer great opportunities to play for good, winning programs and develop on the court and off. In fact, there are plenty of examples of Division II, III and NAIA players who go on to have professional careers as well. The most important factors for players to consider over ‘level’ are fit and how well the program you are joining is equipped to help you succeed on the court and in the classroom.