Monday, August 11, 2008

6 Questions: Recruiting

#2 posting 8.11.2008
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Coach Thorpe has been retired in Florida for the past few years. He used to get on a soap box, but now he answers a few questions. Today's focus is on recruiting.

Question 1: How did you help your players in the recruiting process?
I would emphasize the importance of attitude when being recruited. Coaches watch more than just basketball. How do you relate to teammates? Do you still hustle when you are down by 20 points with a minute to go? Do you give teammates credit for a good play? How do you warm up and prepare for the game? How well do you listen at time outs? These may seem like small points but coaches have a lot of people to choose from and they know about the basketball skills. If they are going to spend the next four years with you they want not only a good player but a good person. Also I would help always communicating with coaches by returning phone calls, sending films, and in general being a good PR person for my player.

Question 2: What did you look for in a college coach or a potential school for your player?
I would try and point out the positive and negatives of each program and try and be objective. In the end it will be the player and her family’s decision. There were times that I did not agree, but it was their choice. I would try and make players familiar with what I knew about the program and the coach’s philosophy if I had the information. I would try and ask questions at the home meeting the player might be uncomfortable asking like: Are you offering her a full ride tonight? If she gets injured this summer will you honor the scholarship? Is she required to be away all summer? How do you travel? Does she have to room with members of the team? etc. As a high school coach you get to know your player as a person not just an athlete. Some kids just do not fit into some programs because of personality, systems run, etc. Also it seems like all players get hung up on Division 1 and their ego gets in their way of making a decision to go division 2 or lower that would be a much better choice for them. Division 1 is a great choice for many players but far too often it is the wrong decision for many others.

Question 3: What type of player makes the transition to college?
To make the transition to college I believe being a good athlete is very important. You are going to face bigger stronger and faster players. You also need to be strong mentally. It requires a lot more time and effort. You don’t get a full ride and not expect to get anything in return.

Question 4: What should players look for on their college visits?
College visits are set up to show the best of the college. I told my players to try and get alone with players on the team that were not assigned to show you around and ask them questions. Find informal times with fringe players and ask them questions. It seemed as though every time a player visited a school that was the school they wanted to go to. Colleges do a good job in impressing kids. Remember regardless of what they say it is a business. College coaches need to win to keep getting paid and you are looking out for your player. I found most colleges coaches to be sincere and good people who care about their athletes but like I said before they need to win to keep their job.

Question 5: What did you look for in putting together your team?
I looked for kids that were athletic, aggressive and had a passion for the game. Skills can be improved on a lot easier than the previous characteristics. You don’t get style points in basketball so I chose to go with tough kids. All coaches look for players that fit their systems and of course we would have all liked to have kids that have all the characteristics to make a perfect player. However this rarely happens and you have to make choices. Coaches usually pick players they feel comfortable with and ones that fit their system.

Question 6: What is your view of the Ohio/Elofson situation?
I think Ohio was wrong. As a coach you represent your school. When your school makes a commitment to a player you should honor it. I realize a new coach may not think that this player will fit into their system. However you still honor your word. By taking a scholarship away it may benefit your team in the short run but you gain a nickel and lose a dime. Coaches and players create a rumor mill and word gets around what coaches and programs you can trust and which ones have little or no credibility. It is going to hurt your recruiting in Minnesota and beyond for some time to come. I know I said recruiting is a business but it is a people business. High school and AAU coaches help colleges that recruit their players. If one of their players are not treated fairly you are biting the hand that feeds you.

Thanks Coach Thorpe for taking time to answer these questions.

Next up: when news breaks or tomorrow morning..whatever comes first.