How NBA Draft Scouting Has Evolved in the Digital Media Age

It is crazy to believe how a highschooler catching a dunk on someone can end up as top 10 play on ESPN. This was the case when 2017 number one ranked point guard Trevon Duval dunked on his defender during a high school basketball game. That video would have not made it to ESPN without it going viral on YouTube first.  YouTube has been the modern home to where mixtapes are posted. Different channels like Ballislife, Hoopsmixtape, Slam, and Overtime are home to some of the best mixtapes that have helped put some players on the map. Although the mixtape era started way back with AND1 today, the mixtape era has evolved

Humble Beginnings

The mixtape era began with the street basketball league AND1 in the early 2000s with people such as Skip To My Lou, Hotsauce and The Professor would play in the league and make tricky dribble moves, and the highlights would get taped and put on VHS for people to watch. The AND1 tour started began gaining traction, and ESPN began to pick up on this and began airing segments under the term “streetball.” The AND1 mixtape era did not have YouTube to popularize it. The last AND1 Mixtape was released in 2008, but by that time, YouTube was becoming popular, and a new wave was on the rise.

Enter The New Wave

In 2006 Ballislife posted one of its first videos of then 11th grader Derrick Rose dunking on a defender. The video exploded and went viral gaining about 20,000 views, and it made Derrick Rose an overnight sensation. This is just one example of a basketball player becoming popular because of a mixtape. Ballislife started posting more and more mixtapes of future NBA stars. One of the best mixtapes posted on Ballislife and Hoopsmixtape was the mixtape they posted on John Wall in highschool. Made the hype around the future number one pick much more fitting. Today’s mixtape tries to showcase players all-around talent. Sometimes a player does not make it to the pro scene, but the mixtapes become popular. Players like Marcus Lovett Jr and Aquille Carr gained so much popularity from mixtapes that their names are synonymous with basketball mixtape.


Social Media Influence

With the rise of social media, it is easier to put out content out and bridge two or more outlets together. Nowadays, you still see mixtapes from up, and coming players but the rise of social media has helped put these kids on the map. Some of the players will post a mix on their social media page nothing crazy just a one-minute highlight clip of them going crazy. Overtime has really grown as a brand and have done so with their social media presence by regularly posting clips on the Instagram page. They have featured some of the top prospects on their page from clips of them doing something crazy in-game or doing the overtime challenge.


The Future

The media has helped these young kids gain exposure. The media has made some of these kids legitimate stars. SLAM had a game in Dyckman this summer with some of the nations best players like Zion Harmon, Josh Christopher, Jalen Green, Dior Johnson and many more. The game brought the community out to see these young guys ball, and after the game, the streets were like a parade. Players like Christopher and Johnson really blew up this summer thanks to their performance in the travel leagues. With a good tape, you can put your name out there, and now you see more channels putting out mixtapes and having some kids blow up. Take a look at what Zion Williamson did the mixtape made him famous and look at him now being billed as the next LeBron James.