San Antonio has seen a dramatic increase in national exposure over the past few years. Many of the players that have received national acclaim have at some point been ranked or rated by different basketball entities. What do these rankings mean and are they significant in terms of recruitment? The answer is a resounding yes and here is why.
Recognition- When speaking with a club director of one of the most prestigious clubs in the nation, he gave me interesting insight. He explained to me that playing in exposure events is not the secret of being heavily recruited. He went on to detail how getting respected recruiting services to rank a kid in the top 250 is a sure way to create major college attention. He went on to say that with between 1000-1200 or so Division 1 scholarships being given out on a yearly basis, it is understandable that the Top 25% of the players will have multiple options come decision time. Most respected recruiting services rank close to a 1000 players in each class.
Some may conclude that if all it takes to get heavily recruited is to get ranked highly by one of these services, it is easy to manipulate the system. While this may have some truth, the respected ranking and recruiting services must have integrity to remain credible. Consistently ranking kids for the sake of club affiliation or some other bias would eventually erode credibility among colleges. Most ranking services sell their reports to colleges coaches seeking to keep an eye on national prospects. If a particular ranking service repeatedly manipulated its player rankings, colleges would stop trusting its integrity. While the nature of ranking players is in essence biased, most services are very close in terms of ranking the top players.
San Antonio is an increasing hot city in terms of girls basketball because of recent and current players that have been and are ranked. No where was this more evident than with Tennessee player Meighan Simmons. At some point, Meighan Simmons was ranked in the Top 15 by Hoopgurlz, Blue Star, and All-Star Girls Report. This recognition of being one of the nation's best players helped catapult her to great levels nationally. Of course her ability as a player demanded this recognition but the rankings helped solidify her status as a national star.
In a recent conversation with a writer from one of the main girls basketball publications, I asked him why one one the best shooters in the state of Texas was not garnering more college attention. He explained that she had yet to play in front of the recruiting services and it is the recruiting services who tell the college coaches who they should be paying attention to. The old saying of "If you are good, they will find you" is probably true but being ranked will help more of them find you. Is a gold nugget worth anything while still in the ground? Yes it is but its true value goes unrewarded until its discovered. Ranking services can help players get discovered by colleges that value them. The key is to be worth something first.
Smithson Valley star Danielle Blagg is spending this weekend with her parents and club coach narrowing her school choices down to a dozen. The group spent a marathon session of Friday night into the early morning reducing a list that numbered in the thirties. Every knowing person in the San Antonio basketball community had to figure that Blagg would have numerous offers come her senior year but her status as an elite prospect went off of the charts this past season. Part of the reason for her skyrocketing status was due to fit. Blagg switched clubs and became the "go to" player and the results were tremendous. With her new found star status and a schedule of major events, Blagg went from being unrated on Hoopgurlz to being rated as a 90. This is the same rating that San Antonio star Erica Donovan received by Hoopgulz. This is the second highest rating of San Antonio kids, behind Sune Agbuke's 92. While the rating did not make Blagg a great player, it certainly help spread the word among the schools on a national level. Blagg has improved her ranking in a number of major ranking services and obviously colleges have come to pay attention.
(A side note: Blagg was given a very favorable rating in the Dan Olsen Report(very respected among college coaches) but not ranked within the Top 300 players nationally(Erica Donovan is ranked #125). Even though she was not ranked in the Top 300, she still has over of 30 firm Division 1 offers. This represents close to 10% of Division 1 programs wanting Blagg to play for them. This illustrates how heavily recruited the Top 25-50% of the players nationally can be.)
San Antonio will continue to makes waves nationally for years to come. The players in the city are increasing playing, training, traveling and getting exposed at an earlier age. The result will be an influx of great young stars getting rated and rank by the national services. All-Star Girls Report, one of the nations most respected services, recently ranked two of the brightest young stars in the city TOP 10 NATIONALLY! 2014 players, Recee' Caldwell and McKenzie Calvert were ranked #5 and #10 respectively by ASGR. While they both have a very long way to go as basketball players, they are doing their part to keep the spotlight on San Antonio for years to come.