An invitation to an exclusive camp from a college coach is a tremendous opportunity and accomplishment for any recruit. I was being recruited by Pomona-Pitzer College in Claremont, California and was invited to their Elite Camp. I had exchanged a few emails and phone calls with the coaches prior to the invitation. I drove down with my dad the day before the camp started. The camp was a one-day showcase that lasted for about six hours. As an excited and anxious recruit, I could not help but smile and I had butterflies in my stomach the whole car ride.
I’ve waited months for this day to happen so that I could prove myself and my skills to the coaches. I took a few steps into the gym and felt utterly overwhelmed. Before the workout started, my dad and I had a few words with the coaches. I was about an hour early, so I decided to go through my warm-up routine with sharp precision. My shots were feeling great, my ball-handling felt smooth, and my legs were as fresh as possible. Then, the whistle blew. All the basketball recruits headed to center court. I was feeling great, and I felt like it was my time to shine. I had the mindset of a cheetah, right as it hunts for its prey. It was time to show the coaches what I was made of; it was go-time.
We went through a few warm-up drills which featured shooting, passing, and defense. I started off the workout with ease. All of my shots were falling, I was playing solid defense, and the coaches used me as an example for the other athletes to follow. As we progressed into more scrimmage type drills, the coach had us go through three-on-three drills. Everything was going my way, and I was on cloud nine. An hour passed by and then everything started to fall apart. The worst possible situation for a basketball recruit happened, and it happened to me. I was cutting through the lane and all of sudden, “AGHH!” I rolled my ankle. I could not walk, my ankle started to swell, and I had to limp off the court and walk straight to the trainer’s room.
I sat on the trainer’s table. I was in shock and I started to feel sorry for myself. I wondered how this could happen to me, why me and why now? With a determined mindset, I told the trainer to tape me up so I could get out there and show perseverance and determination to the coaches. I was in a lot of pain, but I knew if I wanted to play for this school I would have to get out on the court and make the best of a bad situation. I finished the rest of the workout, but playing through my injury was a terrible decision. I was missing shots, I couldn’t run full speed, I had turnover after turnover, and I was slacking on the defensive end. The coaches were not impressed; their attention turned to the other recruits.
I felt so low and defeated but was able to chat with the coaches after the workout. They were very kind and concerned about my ankle. I felt like they understood, and that they were impressed that I tried playing through my injury. My performance after the ankle roll was terrible and I knew in my heart I was off the coach’s radar. As a recruit, it was a frustrating and confusing. Since many colleges were not recruiting me, I wanted to make the opportunities that I did have count. As my dad and I drove back up to Northern California, I had to accept what had happened and had to look forward. To this day, I would say that I couldn’t have any worse luck on that day. But today I play basketball for Emory and I could not be happier.
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