Before departing for business in Charlotte North Carolina, I wanted to write a little bit about college basketball recruiting. many do not know that my background includes many years working at college's and many more working with and watching young basketball players develop. I also had an opportunity to play on the college level many years ago as well as coach in college for a few years. So though I might not be an expert, I have been around. Having a son who was fairly highly recruited also gives me parental experience.
So here is my take and I really wish HS players would read and understand. Even the super star players need to understand some of what I am writing. But those who are so called 3-4 star players and below should pay particular attention. There are many 4 star kids who now work for minimum wage or seeking assistance that has not been there for them.
Besides what I have written below, I also think kids should look at playing style of teams recruiting them, personnel on roster by year in school and position, history of recruiting, player development from year to year, workout facilities, teaching ability of coaches, coaching demeanor during games, fan base, and attendance and support since no one wants to play only in front of friends and family.
1. HS Star players are commodities to large universities who often do not even care about them
away from basketball. That's why it is so important to choose schools by what you would get
as a student academically, who the coaches REALLY ARE, and not be drawn in by the
glamour associated with a program.
2. Make sure when you choose a college or university you choose a school the LOVES YOU and
YOUR game as opposed to just liking you. Too many kids accept last minute offers not
understanding that big university is taking them because another kid they really wanted
rejected them. Being 2nd or 5th choice could workout, but often they will go and recruit over
you the following year. Especially if you have a non-impressive 1st year.
3. Make sure you choose a school with GREAT ACADEMIC support and a Alumni network to
assist you with career choices after graduation. Right Now that Super Star Women at SHU,
Robin Cunningham, is as valuable as any Assistant Coach in my eyes. She is that good!!!
Rutgers also has a great support staff and even has a guy on the bench to help with personal
issues. Also, my ex player and one of the great guys on the planet, Mark Peterson works
for the RU Academic Support Program.
4. Make sure you sign with a school where the Head Coach wants you as much if not more,
than the assistant coaches. many of the far west and mid west schools allow asst. coaches
to make the decisions on recruits. The head coach might not even see a potential player
than when he shows on campus and the HC does not like him its all down hill.
5. Is a repeat of 4 because it is that important. Make sure the HEAD COACH is recruiting
you!!!! Even with home visits. If the head coach does not come, how serious can they
be? When my son was being recruited and large schools wanted to send Assistants for
home visits, we turned them down to see schools like Siena or FDU (FHJ) because
we did not want to waste time with schools not really serious at that time. But even we fell
victims to what I am saying here when the final decision was made.
6. Do not get fooled by slick video presentations and jersey hangings with your name! Watch
the movie Blue Chip for more on this. Schools will wine and dine you to get you. Nothing is out
of the question. From great parties, to ............... (fill in the blanks), everything goes. And
Big time NCAA hoops is about making big dollars. You are as important to them as car
designs are to GM.
7. If possible visit schools un-announced. Just go to the school on your own and look around
and talk to people. Buy a ticket to a game and sit up top with fans and get the real deal.
The coaches who are recruiting you are not necessarily the coaches you will see when you
arrive on campus, though the outer bodies will be the same. That nice personable HC
could turn out to be a crazy control freak with a huge ego. I have heard stories about
coaches threatening players with bad press in the newspapers. Sean Banks the ex
Memphis player never recovered. Maybe he will soon since he is doing well in the NBA
development league. But the Press he received from his coach hurt him.
8. Ask for graduation lists and what the graduates who played basketball are doing now. Be
sure to look at the non basketball playing careers. Still remember one local BE stand out
graduating and working at a community center in Brooklyn as a security guard. Had my
man Jim Couch (Dyckman Program) call the ex head coach who promptly got the kid a much
better position for a college graduate. Best success stories in this area has always been
IONA College. Every ex basketball player I know from there has done exceptionally well!!
And I know at least 25. Unfortunately most kids think they are going to the NBA and
this area does not really concern them. Maybe that's why Walk-on's at high D1 programs
do so well. There is a former walk-on from St. Johns that is like the Prince of Wall Street and
making royal dollars. I would bet he has a few ex stars working for him lol.
9. Do not allow other's ego get in the way of what is right for you. Relatives and advisers
often love the spot-lite. I know because I was like this at one time lol. Great knowing
people you see on national TV. But folks have to do what's right for the player and advise
him with their best interest in mind. Trust me when I tell you, coaches know how to stroke
people to get results. I have watched some of the top coaches in America hang with some
of the biggest crack dealers in America including having lunch, etc. to get a player. I have
seen assistant coaches date aunts, moms, and other relatives to get players. trust me!!!
But the sad part of this is when the recruitment is over, they barely speak to you again.
Might not even return phone calls. FHJ, Gonzo, Jay, Norm are nowhere like this. Neither are
most of the other area coaches. Quick Story. I worked with a 6 ft 9 kid being recruited by
Penn State and alot of others. Thought Penn State would be a good fit. Went to a game on
my own with kid and parents. sat up top away from Court. Went down and saw asst. Kurt
Kanaskis who was ex head coach at Drake and person who impressed me when he recruited
my son. He would barely say hello and brushed me off before I could say who was with me.
He was soooooooo rude. But that is what happens. Remember the Women who really did a
wonderful job with Lenny Cooke. She had him going in the right direction until others got
involved. She was the darling of the AAU circuit while Lenny played. Folks kissed her butt
all the time. Once Lenny was done, she became invisible. And she was a nice person!!!
10. If a coach is on the hot seat. Commit and sign in the spring. Stupid NCAA rules will hurt you
if a coach leaves for one reason or another. Ditto if you are interested in a powerful mid-
major school. Coaches are at mid major schools to get promoted to the big-time. Trust me!!
If Kevin Willard wins at Iona for 3 years straight he is leaving. Even guys like Tom Green
at FDU attempt to move up despite being at a particular school for 20 years.
When you next go to a game look for the kid who were stars before you. Check out what they are doing now. Ask them about experience. Maybe it's the reason you should speak to more than basketball people about your recruitment.