How To Play Basketball Overseas From NCAA D2 or D3 School

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Short Answer: Yes. I’ve done it.

Practical/Reasonable Answer: Probably not. But if you think being practical or reasonable (or thinking in this way) is going to get you from a Division III college campus gym to a professional basketball contract, you are on the wrong website.

If you didn’t know, I played at a NCAA Division 3 (also referred to as D3 or DIII or NCAA3) college. D3 schools do not offer athletic scholarships and, as you can probably surmise, are the bottom of the totem pole in terms of talent and exposure and pro players produced. These are realities of D3 sports.

Your personal realities, however, are 100% your decision.

Let’s start from the top.

When I was a junior in high school and had my first tastes of basketball success (sign up for my WOYG Update list below to receive a free copy of my early-basketball story a day later), I decided where my life was going: I was going to play basketball for a living. I had no idea where I was going to college yet or how I’d get on the basketball team at said school (since I was not even on my high school varsity roster s a junior), but the decision had been made. That decision played more of a role in everything that has happened since then, than anything else — my ability to dunk, a jumpshot, any camps I played at, a crossover move.

playing professional overseas basketball coming from a ncaa d3 school dre baldwin dreallday.comIf you are at a D3 school and want to play ball professionally, there may not be many people who will be able to relate to your ambitions; some may even discourage you (I had no shortage of this). You are entering the professional world, which means you are fully responsible for your actions and fully responsible for the results, and just the same for the lack of either.

Here are some pieces of information that will make things clear for you.

Whether You Can Play At Any Level Is Like Having Sex With A Girl: If You Have To Ask, The Answer Is Probably “No.” Do you believe you? Not many people are going to jump on your bandwagon until you turn the damn key and start driving it.

Players ask me dumb ass question sometimes. Such as, “how good do I have to be to __________ (play some level of basketball)?” Are levels of basketball “goodness” definable by words? Not in my estimation, no. What do you expect me to tell you? You need to be 85% of Lebron-Level? Just slightly worse than Jeremy Lin?

At this point in my life/career, the question concerning any player is simple.

Can you play?

I don’t care about you assessment of your skills, your physical measurements, or your stats. It’s a yes or no question. Nothing to add. No qualifications. Yes or No. This is something you need to answer for yourself, not to me. 

Many NCAA D3 Players Have No Ideas Or Aspirations Of Playing Basketball Beyond College. That Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be One Of Them. I know this first hand. Many of my college teammates looked at D1 players as some sort of demigods whom they could not see or touch, only talk about. Many of my teammates saw themselves as basketball minions who just wanted to play their years at our D3 school then put the basketball down forever, completely satisfied with a career that ended in obscurity at a school that garnered no recognition nor respect.

Just that very thought made me sick.

Most people are reasonable. They stay in their place, don’t overstep imaginary boundaries, are happy with whatever they receive, and want everyone around them to behave the same way. And since this is their reality, they have no choice but to advise you to have the same reality — they don’t know any other way of thinking. It is very important that you understand this. Re-read the previous two sentences again if you need to. Hell, copy+paste them to some location where you’ll see them daily if you need to.

You have to make the decision on what you are going to be about, what you are going to do. Coming from an environment where you may be the only one thinking how you are thinking, your resolve must be twice as strong.

People Who Don’t Know You And Have Never Seen You Play Will Judge Your By Your Resume. Your Only Goal Needs To Be To Have Them See You On The Court. Then Things Can Change. At the end of my junior year of college I was soon to be home in Philadelphia and I remembered what my since-fired sophomore year coach had told me: If you haven’t gotten destroyed on the court (or crossed over badly or dunked on), that’s because you ain’t playing against anyone who can play. With that in mind, I made a call to the organizer of the Del-Val Pro-Am held at Drexel University in Philly. He asked the usual questions — are you in/from the area, where do you play, etc. I told him the D3 school I was at and he was instantly not-so-interested in me. He told me I could come down to Drexel when the games started and he would see what he could do (which did not sound like much).

Long story short, my car was out of commission by the time I got home for the summer so I missed out, but the point of all this is simple:

As soon as you leave that D3 campus where you’re The (Wo)Man because you’re one of only 12 on campus with a basketball team uniform, you go back to being Nobody. You have to prove yourself all over again, and your resume of being a D3 player won’t do much for you. Your goal at this point is to get yourself on the court, where everything is equal, and you can make your point that way. Once you step on a court, there are no stats or trophies or pedigrees or any of that other shit. It’s just a court, the ball and the players. On the court, you are the player your performance says you are. This is why players attend exposure camps: to show that they can play on a level which their previous experience and results does not say they can.

So in conclusion, D3 player: Yes, you can play professional/overseas basketball coming from where you’re coming from. Let this post be the last time you have to look outside of yourself for the answer to that question.

17 Comments

  1. I am a senior in high school never played high school ball because of bias coaches but I am planning to play for the city team. With nothing to my name will I get a fair shot at DII maybe D3 college because im a under size defender with hard work attitude.

    • You’re blaming someone else for your lack of HS results. And hoping someone else makes it fair for you in college. You’re setting yourself up to lose.
      Your game + mindset determines what’s “fair” — you’re starting off bad with this BS excuse about high school. That same mentality will provide convenient excuses for you in college as well. So you should start with the truth and lose the weak story. You can tell the internet anything you want; tell yourself the truth. And own your situation 100%.
      As soon as it’s someone else’s fault. you’ve lost. Take responsibility for your past and your future. Life isn’t fair. So if “fair” is what you need to make it in basketball, you should quit now.

      Good luck.

  2. Dre,

    I am right now in doubt on whether I should go for DIV I and II or to go for DIV III, I have aspirations to become a basketball player and although I don’t live in the US I am planning on going for college sports. At the moment I play for my high school team and I am in the top 3 best players. I also play for a club out of school that I have joined recently but I joined during an off-season so no matches played. I do train and/or practice everyday by myself and I go to the gym and etc… The only doubts I have about DIV II and I are that I have to pay about 135 dollars for the eligibility center and I’m not sure if it’s worth it. I have already been in touch with some DIV III uni’s and I have discussed things but nothing really concrete. I would like your opinion on what I should do…

    Thanks
    David

  3. Dre,
    I am currently a junior at a D3 college. I’m a point guard and I’ve played in every game since my freshman year, I’ve won several awards, have been selected as1st teams for school tournaments, I’m in the top 10 of several stat categories, and I work out and train every day, etc. I’m not saying this to puff myself up but I wanted you to have some background of where I currently am in my career. It’s always been my goal to play internationally after college. My question is, do coaches care about your resume, which would include the things I’ve listed above, or do they just mainly want to see me play on tape and in person? Are they even interested in what you did at a D3 school? Also, when do I start going to exposure camps and showcases? Do I wait until my senior year or should I start this summer? I’m not sure if there are some type of restrictive rules for someone in my position.
    Thanks,

    • Kelvin, I’ll be covering this in my book coming on March 2 which you can preorder now (DreAllDay.com/Blueprint). To answer your first question -- yes, your accomplishments do matter, though they would be weighed against those of other players. But if you really did it, it never hurts to make it known. As a note, your resume = what you’ve achieved. Working out every day, being a hard worker etc are not accomplishments because every player does that. Winning awards, stats, all-conference teams -- these are accomplishments and should be touted.
      As for camps -- if you attend a camp now and get an offer would you leave school a year early to take it? If not, then there is no reason for you to be at a camp. If yes, then you could go to a camp if you feel you’re ready (and would be foregoing your eligibility should you accept that contract).
      Since you’d be paying your way through the camps you won’t compromise your college eligibility (if the camp doesn’t work out and you choose to return to school).

      • Thanks for your feedback. I want to finish out college and obtain my degree. I was just wondering if it was beneficial to start getting looks now since I have the stats and experience, and at least get on someone’s radar for the following year. But I I think I’ll wait until my senior year to go to camps. Thanks again.

        • Overseas ball is not like the NBA where GMs watch you and wait for years on players; there is no radar. Every year is a new year and most contracts are for one year at a time. Teams focus on the players available now and think about next year when the time comes.

  4. If a player didn’t play high school and college basketball but continues to work on their game, can they defy the odds and play professional basketball? Would an exposure camp be beneficial to them or not in your opinion? Seems like it would be an uphill battle due to the politics of the game and how coaches and scouts seem to judge you off of your resume.

    • I assume you’re asking for yourself -- question is do you want it or not? You ask about defying the odds, then make an excuse for failing before you even try.
      How do you know how pro coaches and scouts judge players if you haven’t been in the exposure camp situation? You don’t.
      Nothing is impossible, and nothing is black and white guaranteed either. The only way you will know is to take action and see what results. So, you can be one of the many who talk about it and never do it, or you can go and find out.

  5. I am currently a senior in highschool and all I am getting is Division 3 calls. I always try to contact division 1 coaches but always either get a voicemail with no call back or a “We have enough Guards” response. At this point I don’t know whether to keep pushing for division one or settle for division 3. I feel that I would be a great division 1 player.

    • Any player could say the same thing. Saying it and proving it on the court are two different things. Show it in your performance. If they’re wrong then your game will prove it, not your talk.

  6. I haven’t played college ball at all. But I workout with some of the players on the team. Im trying to go overseas to play basketball. How do you think I should go about this?

  7. I’m playing at DIII too, and everyone said I can not go to DI nor professional…except my parents. It’s my dream, and I don’t want to give up…thank you for giving me the answer. I’ll work harder than anyone else…thank you! M.

  8. Wow . You have no idea how this fought against my personal doubt … searching for answers that i should look for within my self, thank you I hope you continue to hoop

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