Sunday, August 23, 2009

In it for the kid!

During a recent conversation with one of the best trainers in San Antonio, he mentioned that he just left an important meeting. The purpose for the meeting was to help one of the best boy basketball players in the city narrow down his numerous college choices. What I found interesting was that the participants and agenda had no other motive than coming together in an effort to help this boy make the most important decision of his young life. The attendees included:
  • The Boy- An outstanding basketball player with a dozen basketball offers at the Division 1 level.
  • The Parents- Very involved and knowledgeable parents who brought all these parties together in an effort to help give them guidance.
  • The High School Coach- One of the best coaches in the city. He has led his squad to Austin and has a plethora of talent in his program. Very good young demanding coach.
  • The Club Coach- Successful club coach that has put this boy in showcase events and helped his stock go through the roof this summer.
  • The Trainer- One of the better ones in the city. He knows his stuff and has worked with this boy since he was a pup. He has helped develop this kid into having one of the best skill sets on the city.

The main agenda of the sit-down was to narrow the boys' options down to 5 schools and to plan his official visits in the fall. The pros and cons list included criteria such as:

  • Location- Proximity to family. Weather and city demographics. College town or big city.
  • Conference- The offers range from Big 12, Big West, Southland, Conference USA, and Big East.
  • Style of Play- Teams range from run and gun to highly structured controlled systems. They tried to narrow down systems in which the boy could utilize his talents best.
  • Returning Players- They analyzed the roster for returning players playing the same position as the boy. They also looked into the star players already on the roster and the likelihood of the boy getting playing time and shots around the current star.
  • Coach- They dove heavily into the coaches resume'. They were interested in how long the coach was at his current school and the length of his contract. They also paid attention to the coaches aspirations. One coach of a mid-major is young and has recently led a cellar dweller into a probable NCAA Tournament bid this upcoming year. They questioned what happens when a major school comes knocking at his door with a fat checkbook. Is he going to stay with this boy or run for the money? Also, they wanted to eliminate the schools that had offered through the assistant coach. They felt that the head coach should offer if that school truly wanted him.
  • Graduation/Transfer Rate- They scrutinized the graduation and transfer rate of the school. They wanted to know how these programs graduated their kids and are seeking to speak to former players who have transferred.
  • Academic Reputation- Is the school a basketball factory or a respected institution of learning?
  • Alumni- When this young man hangs up his sneakers, will he have access to a very successful cooperate alumni base to help kick off his professional career? What type of jobs can he intern for and will he have the opportunities to learn from the alumni big wigs?
  • Professional Basketball Connections- Do the current coaching staff have overseas connections to help this young boy eventually play pro ball? The NBA is a known long shot but an internationally connected coaching staff can facilitate a boys' dream of getting a pay check playing the game he loves.
  • Recruits- How hard are they going after players who play the same position as this boy. And, is the kid their number #1 recruit. Also, are the going to try to recruit over his head in the future by going after more highly ranked players who play the same spot as him?

This sort of meeting and agenda helped the process immensely. The session left the team with two front runners out of the 5 remaining schools. What I respect is that, the parents chose to surround themselves with the people who had their child's best interest in mind. In a day where club/high school coaches constantly seek to further their professional careers(especially on the boys side) off of the backs of their players, this was obviously not the case. There was no uncle with his hand out promising to deliver or daddy asking for a relocation job from the schools. No SAT's were manipulated. There was no club coach getting coaching fees at camps or negotiating the kids future without clarity and full disclosure with the parents. This meeting was about the kid; because all involved were truly IN IT FOR THE KID!!!!