Top 5 Basketball Prep Schools in the US in 2023
Most NBA players begin their basketball careers in high school. However, very few people notice them until they’ve gotten to college. That makes it difficult for people to appreciate the impact of high school prep schools on the professional lives of basketball players. In fact, high school is a very crucial phase in the career growth of a basketball player. Talents are spotted there, and players get to understand how to develop their skills and rise to stardom in one of the most popular sports in the world.
Why is it important to attend a prep school for basketball, especially in the US? Are there any special advantages that prep schools offer more than normal public and private high schools? What does it cost to attend a prep school for basketball? What are the best prep schools for prospective basketball players in the US? These and many more are questions you might have when contemplating the right school to attend or send your kids to.
This article answers these questions and discusses everything else you need to know about basketball prep schools in the US.
What are basketball prep schools?
Basketball prep schools are schools where high school students or graduates go to be prepared for college basketball. Although some people go there to finish high school while preparing for college basketball, others begin and complete their high school there.
Basketball prep schools are predominant in the US. They are valued as highly as normal high schools in terms of academic performance and other extracurricular activities.
Why should you attend a prep school for basketball?
Though attending a basketball prep school is not compulsory, it increases your chances of playing college-level basketball. It would give you an advantage over those who didn’t attend one.
Attending a basketball prep school does not automatically mean a college placement. But it would give you the advantage you need to get a college basketball placement, as most colleges work with prep schools and often send coaches there during the open gym season.
Another advantage of attending a basketball prep school is that the classes are smaller, with a smaller student to teacher ratio. The teaching and classes are better than what you would get at a normal public school.
You would have better access to your teachers and this would help you achieve your best scores in ACT/SAT, giving you the opportunity to have a lot of colleges to pick from.
Prep schools do not just build and work on your athletic prowess; they also focus on bringing out the best in you academically.
What to look out for when picking a basketball prep school
While trying to choose the best basketball prep school to attend, there are certain things to look out for to help you make the perfect choice.
It’s important to look out for the number of students that have gotten college basketball placement from the prep school. Also, research the coach and the affiliations the basketball prep school has with colleges.
Most basketball prep schools have recruiters that write to college coaches to come and watch their students play during their open gym periods. So, if you have the potential, and you work hard enough, there is a likelihood of getting picked. You wouldn’t get such exposure in a normal school.
You can also visit the prep schools you are planning to apply to, get a feel of what the school environment is like, ask questions, and meet other students. If you end up picking that particular school to attend, it would make you feel more relaxed and the environment familiar.
Top 5 basketball prep schools you should consider in the US
These are some prep schools that should be part of your top picks if you want to attend a good basketball prep school in the US and to get a better chance for college basketball placement:
1. Oak Hill Academy
Oak Hill Academy is a co-ed prep school in Virginia, the United States. It has a strong reputation as one of the best basketball prep schools in the US. Having produced about 27 NBA players, Oak Hill is one of the best stops for college basketball scouts in the US
In academics, Oak Hill Academy equally stands out. The school provides a comprehensive academic curriculum that prepares students to perform well in college. With an average of nine students per classroom, Oak Hill ensures students receive the best education in the 80 courses it offers. The facilities, academic structure, and curriculum are designed to bring out the best in students by helping them refine their talents and develop greater skills. You can visit the school website for more information.
2. DeWitt Clinton High School
DeWitt Clinton High School clearly stands out as one of the best basketball prep schools in the US. With notable NBA players like Dolph Schayes, Barney Sedran, and many others being graduates of the school, there’s no doubt why DeWitt Clinton High School is highly regarded among prep schools in the US.
DeWitt Clinton High School isn’t left out in academics, either, as it prepares its students to be exceptional in all their courses. It’s the norm for students of DeWitt Clinton to win scholarships to attend the best colleges in the US. The most recent is Anne Sajous, who bested approximately 3,000 other students to win a $200,000 scholarship to attend Wheaton College.
DeWitt Clinton High School is in the Bronx, New York, and you can visit the school website here for more information.
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3. DeMatha Catholic High School
Having produced about 14 NBA players since its inception, DeMatha Catholic High School has established its place among the top basketball prep schools in the US. It’s known for drafting talented basketball students to great colleges through scholarships.
For any student who is looking for a basketball prep school with a religious setting, DeMatha Catholic High School is the best option.
Furthermore, the connection DeMatha offers its students is unrivaled by any prep school in the US. One of the former coaches at DeMatha Catholic High School, the late Morgan Wooten, had a spectacular relationship with NBA coaches and players. He made DeMatha a first-stop prep school for basketball coaches and scouts. Prior to his retirement in 2002, he became the first high school coach to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
DeMatha Catholic High School is located in Hyattsville, Maryland. You can visit the school for more inquiries or visit the school website instead.
4. Overbrook High School
Overbrook High School is a top-rated basketball prep school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school has produced players who have made names in the NBA. One of them being the famous Wilt Chamberlain, who ESPN ranks among the top 10 NBA players of all time.
Overbrook has a strong reputation in both sports and academics in the US. You can visit the school website for more information.
5. Laurinburg Institute
Located in North Carolina, Laurinburg Institute ranks among the top basketball prep schools in the US. The school has produced about 12 top-rated NBA players, including Sam Jones and Charlie Scott. This makes it one of the top choices for NBA coaches and scouts when searching for young talents.
Laurinburg Institute also has a strong academic reputation, making it an all-round high school for both sports lovers and academicians. You can visit the school website for more information.
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Are basketball prep schools for both male and females?
Yes, there are basketball prep schools for both males and females. There are also co-ed basketball prep schools, especially in the US.
What to expect in a basketball prep school
Just like most schools, attending a prep school brings a new level of experience. It is usually your first time being away from home, and it is normal to experience some form of homesickness.
You should expect to meet and socialize with new people: your fellow students, teachers, coaches, and other instructors.
In a prep school, the workouts are usually more rigorous, the games are tougher, and the competitions are stronger than in a non-prep school, so you should go with your mind prepared that you will definitely be working very hard.
How does prep school help basketball players with their academics?
Basketball prep schools offer a smaller class size than the normal public or private high schools. Students have easier access to the teacher in a student-teacher ratio of 8-to-1, which is what’s attainable in a prep school.
Students also live in the school, along with the teachers, which gives them more time and opportunity to lay a strong academic foundation.
Furthermore, as a boarding school, students take part in extracurricular activities that help sharpen their brains for academic activities.
Is a basketball recruiting website necessary?
Having a basketball recruiting website is not compulsory, but very necessary for a basketball player looking to get a placement in college basketball. It can be a very basic site with all the necessary information a recruiting coach would need, like your sex, age, height, weight, and achievements.
You can always update the site with videos of yourself playing basketball. Upload your good and improved test scores and games that your team wins.
The advantage of having a recruiting website is that you can send the website link to any recruiting college in the US. While this could be a long shot, there is no harm in trying. A coach might just respond to you.
Can international students attend basketball prep schools in the US?
Yes, if you are not from the US and you are thinking of attending prep school in the US, you can.
Most prep schools in the US boast at least one student from another country. Most of the time, students from other countries attend basketball prep schools for the experience, exposure, competition, to learn English and to get a college placement with one of the colleges in the US.
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How much does it cost an international student to attend a basketball prep school in the US?
The tuition for an international student falls within the range of $39,000 to $90,000. Although there is financial aid available to families, it is given based on academic or athletic performance, value added to the prep school by the player, and if the country is not represented in the school.
Usually, after some financial aid, international students pay between $5,000 – $70,000 for tuition.
Basketball prep schools are the talent hubs of professional basketball players. Colleges scout their players from those schools and offer their top picks scholarship opportunities to college.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with all you need to know about basketball prep schools in the US.
Frequently asked questions about basketball prep schools in the US
Is prep school the same as high school?
Prep school is the same as high school. The same academic curriculum and programs are available in both schools. However, unlike normal high schools, prep schools are usually boarding. And they have a smaller student-to-teacher ratio with more competitive athletic activities.
Are basketball prep schools worth the money?
Basketball prep schools are definitely worth the money. Apart from preparing students to be excellent basketball players, they also dedicate time and resources to helping them excel in academics.
How much do NBA players earn?
According to Basketball Reference, the average salary basketball players earn per year is $7.5 million.
What’s the duration of basketball prep schools?
Basketball prep school takes four years to complete, the same as normal high school. However, most prep schools offer an extra one year for full athletic preparation.
Do prep school basketball players take part in professional competitions?
No, prep school basketball players are not professional players, and hence they will not take part in professional competitions. However, they take part in competitive high school championships.