Every star gets their start somewhere. For some, it could be just another opportunity, for others it could be a life-changing decision.
Regardless of the decision, however, many people don’t know where one comes from before they were nationally exposed. The people credited with finding these prime players are a school’s recruiting team.
While this may seem like a simple thing to do to the average person, anyone with a background in recruiting can tell you it can definitely be a tough task to find people they think fit the program.
Many people in fact don’t know where a recruiter would even start to begin their process. According to Rick Karius, the University of South Dakota’s director of basketball operations, one of the biggest ways to recruit in college basketball is the Amateur Athletic Union season.
“It (the games) is basically college level All-Star teams going against each other,” Karius said.
The AAU, has open periods in the spring and summer for both men’s and women’s basketball; however, the women also have a period for recruitment in the fall.
Members of the coaching staff will attend these games and find a few select players to focus on. Once chosen, they will visit them more and more and eventually set up visits. Upon the visits, the staff hopes to be able to help the recruit feel at home and fitting into their program.
If the visits go well, a recruit is often offered a scholarship and may also fully commit on their official visit.
This may seem like a lot of work already, but that is only a part of the day in the life of a coach that helps with recruiting.
“For the head coach and the assistant coaches, it is nonstop,” Karius said.
While there used to be much stricter regulations on recruiting, staff are now able to call or text a player an unlimited amount of times, but only if a recruit is above the age of 18.
Once they’re above the age limit, along with everything else, the staff may even have a social media presence with them. Starting this year, they may even retweet any of the recruit’s tweets that are made on Twitter. This means teams can spend a lot of time just interacting with potential recruits.
“An old coach told me that recruiting was like shaving; you have to do it every day or you will look like a bum,” Karius said.
Along with “looking like a bum,” people may never know what they’ll miss out on if they aren’t doing everything they can to put in the effort. The next superstar for the Coyotes or even NBA/WNBA could be in sight, but the effort has to be made to recruit them otherwise they may end up elsewhere.
This is especially true as every day, many teams across unveil new, eye-catching ways to recruit students.
While those big attempts at recruiting may be very attention-grabbing, that isn’t necessarily what matters. The biggest thing about recruiting is to make a player feel like they’re where they’re supposed to be and a great fit to the program, Karius said. Showing the effort and being creative are not to be discredited, but reaching out to a recruit and creating a connection with them are much bigger.
“You have to have a relationship with the person, their family, their inner-circle, to really connect with them and create that ‘at home’ feeling,” Karius said. “Those big things are going to ‘wow’ kids, but having that comfortable relationship with a coach and the staff are what matters most.”