In the competitive business of predicting the next basketball prodigy, recruiters are casting their eyes on ever younger players. But critics say the practice of ranking Grade 6 students sets the bar too high for kids who, by the time they reach college, could easily fade into the background. While some players can take the pressure, others can suffer anxiety and depression if they fail to make the cut. Despite these concerns, this year the N.C.A.A. lowered the school year that players could be viewed as prospects from Grade 9 to Grade 7. The move was an attempt to protect players from college recruiters, who had been luring middle school kids with private training camps.