There is a lot of information out there about the agent selection process for college Seniors becoming professional athletes in basketball and various other sports, what to value, and what to look for when picking someone to work with.
With the college basketball season coming to a close and many college Seniors exploring their options, these topics become more prominent for many players and their parents that are new to this whole process.
I want to use this post to share a couple of my thoughts on questions that we have been hearing a lot in the past and even today.
Should I Sign With Someone Unless They Have A Pro Contract For Me?
I can see how the sentence, "I will go with the one agent that gets me the best contract" is tempting and it may work out for some who make the transition from college to professional basketball, but most players I know who went that route either quit quickly or didn’t get the jobs they probably could have gotten if they had made an educated commitment to an agent/agency.
Most legit agents will not give you their full amount of attention, talk to all their contacts and use their relationships, if they have the risk of doing all the work for nothing for you. All of us know how much misinformation is out there and that’s why many professional agents are apprehensive about working without any commitment from the player.
Sure, some jobs can/will fall into the lap of an agent if a name is "floated around" enough by multiple agents, but it’s not how you will most likely build a successful long-term career and/or establish a positive professional reputation about yourself.
If you want full commitment from a respected and credible agent/agency you will have to put your eggs in that basket, have faith and trust in the ability to build a lasting relationship.
Do I Need A US Agent Or Do I Need A European Agent?
This is a tricky one to answer, because the idea basically caters to the need of the individual person. It's about personal preference. However people/players can be swayed by those within their circle of influence causing that player unnecessary stress about whether a person/agency abroad can be a viable option when it comes to making business decisions within basketball.
I believe that players need a hard-working agent that you feel you can trust, build a relationship and career with. Your agent should be genuine, have a long-term plan, be connected around the basketball world, and should have "real" proof to back up those characteristics.
Where that agent lives isn’t the key anymore in the world we live in today and this goes for NBA and overseas opportunities. The argument holds no weight whatsoever. With technology and people being able to travel quickly and easily around the world it really isn’t a concern -- or at least should not be a concern for the person/player.
The truth is, NBA personnel respect the way we work at Scorers 1st and the same goes for teams in Europe when it comes to agents from the US. And it is that reputation that allows us to overcome questions about being an internationally based agency.
Me personally, while I live in Europe and split time throughout the year working and conducting meetings in the US, I spend even more time communicating and networking with people within the business of basketball regardless where I am in the world day in and day out. Being driven and dedicated in your work about people isn't about location.
Players: Be Aware Of Empty Promises
If you hear all the things you want to hear you should look at that as a red flag and really follow up with in-depth questions and extensive research from your side before making a decision about your future.
Just look at the past 3-4 years and check how many college Seniors have been drafted in the 1st and 2nd round of the NBA draft. You will quickly see that the numbers are low, especially compared to the amount of Seniors each year.
Of course every player should have lofty goals and should work hard to achieve those. But those goals should be balanced with realistic expectations. Getting too comfortable in being buttered up is never a good sign and most likely doesn’t lead to the best decision. In the end, it is more likely to have you feeling unhappy. Be realistic in where you are at as a player, have goals and work hard at your profession. That will get you to the top and hopefully open doors that you can only dream about.
There is so much more to picking an agent, gathering information and learning about the misinformation out there, making an educated decision and we're happy to discuss with you further and help you and your family throughout the process, if you have questions or thoughts.
That's what I am here for. That's what Scorers 1st is here for.
Gerrit Kersten-Thiele is the CEO of Scorers 1st Sportmanagement and an NBPA & FIBA certified Player Agent. He can be reached via email or on Twitter: @gkts1st
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