Social Media Has Changed The Game
Social media has transcended high school sports - and basketball is no exception
Back when MJ was in high school, could you imagine him scurrying through his Twitter inbox to read a fan’s hate mail, further motivating him to advance his game? What about hearing Magic Johnson’s college commitment through a Facebook update? Or maybe an update from Bill Russell about how his team did in an AAU tournament that weekend?
It’s no secret that social media has forever changed the landscape of high school basketball. Scouts, analysts, coaches, college fans – anyone and everyone can see the thoughts of a high school athlete in real time when their status is updated through Twitter or Facebook, whether they upload a photo to Instagram or compile a 15-second clip for Tout.
As such, high school stars are learning that social mediums provide the means to show their friends and followers about their skills and life while maintaining a positive reputation in the process. For the kids who are already highly regarded, status updates become something that have to be thought through and read out before simply hitting the send button.
That being said, as a result of how prevalent social media is these days – in both computer and mobile form – it is easier for athletes to communicate with other recruits, friends and strangers.
It’s as simple as Kansas commitment Brannen Greene saying “What up” to his buddy Wayne Selden up the Atlantic coastline or Sam Dekker using Skype to connect with his adidas Nations pal and current UConn star Andre Drummond. It’s Kyle Anderson and Goodluck Okonoboh having inbox requests to sign a photo for a fan and mail it back, or a request to go to a particular school so that they can leave their mark on that program. It's Rodney Purvis forever remembering the reason he plays this game.
Things have changed, and the youth are developing habits to conform to the constantly shifting and openly communicative world around them.
Kyle Anderson, @KyleAnderson5, 2012, Committed to UCLA: “Just for people to get to know me and my personality; so that they know I’m not just a basketball player and that I’m a good people person. I like to have fun, I like to be funny sometimes and it’s just so that people know me off the court too.”
Rodney Purvis, @RPurvis_5, Committed to North Carolina State University: “I have 'Rest in Peace Big Rodney' up there because he will always be in my heart – I play ball for him. I have #teamdreamchasers up there because I’m chasing my dream and Meek Mill is my favorite rapper.
“Through the social you get to communicate with your friends and talk about whatever. You see each other at different camps and stuff like that and Twitter is the best way to keep in contact.
“I definitely do [understand that my Twitter account is my own personal brand] – that’s why I try to keep it clean, respond back to everyone I can and just keep that in mind.”
Wayne Selden Jr., @WayneSelden23, 2014, Tilton School: “I’m on Twitter just trying to be me. I don’t really try to do anything. I put quotes up every now and again to show how I really feel. I just have fun on Twitter and talk with my friends back and forth.
“Twitter has become a big part of basketball recruiting I think, personally. You have players across the country and you can basically look into their lives and see what they’re about. It gives you a good idea of what kind of people they are, what kind of person they are."
Sam Dekker, @SamDek1, 2012, Committed to Wisconsin: “I’m on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m on Twitter more – I have a lot of fun on there. I Skype with friends from other places also. I have to kind of think about what I’m saying. I can’t say anything dumb because I know that people could be looking, so I can’t say anything that will shoot me in the foot or give me a bad rap."
Goodluck Okonoboh, @Goodlucko_12, 2013, Tilton School: “I’m just smart with what I do, with what I put up. I have a lot of kids looking and a lot of college coaches so I just try to say motivational things because I know a lot of people are watching. The way I see it, you have to treat what you do on Facebook and stuff with what you do in life – you know a lot of people are watching.”
Brannen Greene, Twitter, @B_greene14, 2013, Committed to Kansas: For me it’s like entertainment to socialize. I try not to use curse words or anything like that. I try to keep it as clean as possible…
“I know as a player we meet at camps and stuff and we talk on social media about schools and the possibility of teaming up, who likes who, and different stuff. Its cool. I feel like when I commit [end of calendar year] I’m trying to recruit players that I want there myself. I don’t want to go in there not knowing anybody and I think it would be fun to have a couple friends come to school with you.”
PS: For a little nugget of advice, keep in mind the power of social media through Temple sophomore shooting guard Aaron Brown’s note below. When Brown was in high school just a few years ago, he was barely “fluent” in communication through social media – now he is followed by Big Sean and communicates with former teammates daily.
Aaron Brown, @2ABeezy2, Sophomore, Temple: “A recruit can say ‘I’m getting looked at by here’ so that people can see and they don’t need to go to another website. The whole world knows within seconds.”