Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Players Recruited

I PERSONALLY believe, as a high school coach, that you have a duty to your players to help them the best you can to play college basketball if that is what they want to do. I've heard stories about high school coaches not returning calls from college coaches, and I think that is crazy stuff. All the great coaches I know are always doing what they can in order to help their guys to the next level. Here are some of my personal ideas on how to help your guys do this. Now none of this is going to wow you, but at the same time I think that you can pick a little something up here and there.

1. Start Early.
I think it is paramount for you to start building interest in a player as quickly as you can. Now usually you can't start when he's a freshmen on the JV team, but I think all of your players on the varsity team can be helped out. I think you can do this in a number of ways. First, I think you can e-mail local college coaches to come take a look at a player during practices or games. Heck you can just tell the coach that you have a few players on your squad that he might have interest in and I am sure he will send an assistant. If you can start the dialogue between coach and player early, there is a better chance that something good will come of it.

2. Be realistic.
Unfortunately, ever kid is not going to the Big 10 to play, regardless of what they/their parents think sometimes! The best thing you can do is be honest with them about their talent level and the level they can play at in college. For some kids, being a role player or bench player at the local community college for two years is about as much as they are going to get. Also, you should try to be honest (and have the recruiting coach be honest) about their level of playing time at the collegiate level. For some kids, their dream may be to play D1 basketball even if they ride the pine. For another kid, he would rather go D2 or D3 and be a three year starter.

3. Send tape. This is a no brainer, but at the same time I think you have to send as much tape as possible. Some coaches like to send highlight tapes, but from what I have heard you are better off sending full game tapes. This is because you can make a highlight tape of a lot of players and make them look great. What coaches want to see is what they do when they are not on the highlight reels, how do they play a full game? So maybe send 1 highlight and then a copy of one of their better overall games.

4. Make a recruiting packet. I don't know if this helps or not, but it is something I would like to do for my guys when I become head coach. I would like to put together a packet with the following information:
*Basic Info Sheet: name, height, weight, address, phone number(s), e-mail, parent/guardian name(s) and contact information, AAU team, choices of major, grades, ACT scores, interests, etc. Stuff to make life easier on the coaching staff so they have some ammo to use when having those opening conversations.
*Stat Sheet: A basic page with their statistics by year and their accomplishments (All-Conference, etc).
*Schedule: I think sending a schedule of our games and practices is helpful because again it makes it less work for the college coach. And the less work he has to do, the more willing he may be to swing over and at least check a guy out.
*Game tape: just like above, at least one game where they played well.
I think the basic reasoning behind doing this is what I stated above. If the college coaching staff has a lot of information on a guy, it is easier to come over to at least watch him play. And it saves time having to have them call/e-mail and get info.

5. Invite coaches to games and practices.
I especially like college coaches coming to practice because I think it raises the level of intensity and also gives a lot of your guys some exposure. If you are at a bigger school an NAIA or D3 coach might come and fall in love with that 6-3 athlete who is your 8th man. They may not see enough of him in a game, but may be able to evaluate him (and everyone) in practice on an equal basis in terms of the time they are watching them.
But either way, as long as you are putting your guys in front of coaches, you are doing what you can!

6. Help player get on an AAU team to get exposed.
Some coaches may cringe when they read this, but there are some AAU programs out there that do a great job of getting kids exposure. Just make sure your guys are spending the summer concentrating on the fundamentals too!

7. Make sure the school fits the player.
This is one that a lot of people don't look at. Does the school have the right major the player wants? Does the school have a history of producing players that are successful after basketball? What is the graduation rate? Do they have a high rate of transfer, if so why? All these are questions that should be asked BEFORE any basketball ones. For basketball ones, does the style fit the player? A guy I played with in middle school went on to be 6-10. He was not the fastest guy in the world, but choose a school that played a very up tempo style. He did not fit in and was not happy.

8. Use your contacts.
Talk to every college coach you know about his thoughts on your guy. What does he need to improve on? What level do you see him going at? If your college contacts can but his name into the hands of other college coaches that is even better!

9. Get the team to camps.
As I said above, anytime you can get your guys in front of college coaches it is a good thing. At many camps, the counselors are coaches who are there to coach and network, many of them are college coaches. I am not a college coach but I worked a D1 camp a couple of summers ago (brought a player of mine there) and ended up seeing a few players there that I liked. I in turn send their names on to some of the college coaches I know. So you never know where the opportunity is going to come from.

10. Have the player contact the coaching staff early and often.
When a player shows the college coaches that he wants to be there, they are often more intrigued. Everyone likes someone better that WANTS to be there. I know a couple college coaches who have taken much harder looks at players because the player was constantly calling and initiating contact with the school. So if your guy is serious about playing at college X he should be contacting the coaches also to get their attention.

Well, there are ten things I think are important. I want to mention that I don't think as a HS coach getting your players to college is a mandatory part of the job, but at the same time I do think that if you really care about your players it is something you will do for them. Once again, the ten things listed above are kind of "yea duh" things, but I posted them because maybe 1 or 2 will be simple things you have not thought of! Thoughts? Other suggestions? Leave a comment or drop me a line!


Coach Jacobs said...

Very informative. Good job.

JohnCarrier said...

Thanks, I appreciate it Coach! Any ideas to add?

Joel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joel said...

This is a great posting and I really like a bunch of the stuff you said in here, but I think one huge part that is overlooked by many coaches is the academic side of things. When kids get good grades it gives them so many more options. I can't tell you how many friends I have that had it basketball wise to make it to college but didn't have it off the court.