This basketball coaching article was written by University of Pikeville Assistant Coach Tigh Compton.
Ask any college basketball coach, and they will tell you that successful recruiting is critical if you want to have a successful program. Often, success is less about the X’s and O’s and more about “Jimmy’s and Joe’s.” As a coach, finding a talented player for your program may not be enough.
How a player “fits” into your school, program, and even community can be just as essential. I believe in using the basketball recruiting ABCs (Academics, Basketball, Character) to help identify how a basketball player may or may not be the right fit for our program.
The Players Academics
It should be every basketball coach’s priority to make sure their student-athletes are willing and capable of handling their business in the classroom. It should be every athlete’s priority to uphold the student’s commitment to being a student-athlete. However, it is not always that easy.
When recruiting a basketball player, it is important to make sure that each player can succeed academically at YOUR institution. In the same way that each player and their abilities to perform in the classroom differ, each institution and their academic resources and academic assistance also differ. Make sure that your respective institution and program can meet the need of each student-athlete you recruit.
This is the easiest of the basketball recruiting ABCs for most coaches to evaluate. What are your team’s needs? What positions do you need to fill? It is vital to have a vision for your basketball team, and if you are an assistant coach, your head coach’s vision for the team.
Are you recruiting players to your program that fit your team’s vision or the vision of your head coach? Will the recruit be successful in your team’s style of play? Is the recruit a good teammate, and will their personality give them a chance to succeed in your program, school, and community? Talent alone can certainly get a player on the board, but it must be a good overall fit for both the player and the team, or else neither will reach their full potential.
The Character of the Player
A basketball player’s character may be the last point on this list, but it is certainly not the least important. Evaluating character can be a very tough thing to do. However, with so much social media available today, it is easier than ever to see into the day-to-day lives and actions of a potential recruit. Can the recruit represent your basketball program, school, and community in a manner acceptable to you or your head coach?
This must be one of the first questions you ask yourself. Making sure a player’s character fits into the vision you or your head coach has for the program is crucial to achieving success. Does the player have the mentality on and off the court to handle the coaching style he will be receiving at your institution? How does the player handle adversity or pressure?
The Basketball Recruiting ABC’s Conclusion
As it is with any evaluation process, it is impossible to always get it right. There is always a bit of guesswork involved in each decision. Program priorities change from time to time, as well as the wants and needs of the student-athlete. However, one way to make the evaluation process easier is to make sure you know what you are looking for.
Once you know what you stand for, it is easier to make the tough decisions necessary for a coach to make. Decide what is essential for you and your program, and find basketball players who have a great chance to succeed in all aspects program, school, and community. Hopefully, these basketball recruiting ABCs will help you when it comes time to narrow down those recruiting lists this summer.