I have seen a lot over the years in terms of recruiting. I have seen schools do great recruiting jobs. I have seen schools sign players above their so called level of play. These programs all have something in common. They think differently and therefore their programs are different. That why I was not even remotely surprised when Maddie Hartnett of Chatham High School gave Scranton University and head coach Nick Dipillo a verbal commitment.
Four Years ago a quite girl showed up at NBS. She had very little to say and in many ways tired to hide from the spotlight. Maddie Hartnett was like many kids at NBS, she was just trying to get better and play against some competition. But Maddie Hartnett had something different than many kids. She had a burning desire to become a better player. She never said much but seemed to be around more and more each year. So much that I actually learned her name. I once made the mistake of telling her she had to become a better shooter. So soon I found her getting up at 7 am to shoot before NBS every weekend. She noticed that many kids had a heavy vest on and shot with a heavy ball. So the next thing I know she was wearing a heavy vest and shooting with a heavy ball. She wanted to get better and she wanted any edge you could give her to achieve the goal of getting better. It’s why she is now one of the best deep shooters in the state. It why today she is one of the best players in New Jersey. It’s no mistake she wanted to play with the best…and why Scranton University just hit the lottery!
When you see Maddie Hartnett’s handle just remember, it the product of hard work. You see Maddie spent hours in the gym with Elijah Allen. Elijah Allen is the best ball handling coach on planet earth. Maddie Hartnett and Elijah are a team. Together they have made Maddie Hartnett into an elite ball handler against any level of competition. The amount of work these two put in the gym together is a blue print for any kid trying to get their ball handling skills to the next level. Maddie’s ability to change direction and speed is breath taking but it took lots of work. More work than most kids would be willing to take on a everyday. She has mastered her ball handling and moved it to games. There is no level of pressure defense she cannot adjust too… she is that rare combo guard that transitions to either guard spot with no drop in production.
When you talk about recruiting the great ones believe they can recruit anyone. They have this inner confidence about there programs. Nick Dipillo is the new the head coach at Scranton University. He played for me at FDU and was a true program kid. You knew he was going to be a college coach one day. Before he was an asst coach in the WNBA or a an asst coach at Seton Hall. Nick has gift and that gift is his ability to make all those around him feel at home. He is a teacher and student of the game, always had been. So when he told me he was going to recruit Maddie Hartnett, I told him “that was a reach”. He just smiled because Nick Dipillo has had to out work people his entire life. He had to do it as a player and as an asst coach. Now as the head coach of one of the best programs in the country, he must do it again. Scranton University measures it programs by banners on the wall. They were 5th in the country last year before losing in the final eight. Nick Dipillo know the standard at Scranton University is higher and more is expected. The only way to live up to that standard is to recruit D1 players. After all Scranton University is D3 in name only, everyone knows Scranton is a D1 program in everyway. The pack the area, they have first class facilities and more than anything else a tradition like none other. Maddie Hartnett is the big fish that Nick Dipillo needed to open eyes… and it appears Scranton University appears to be in good hands.
Maddie Hartnett was a quite unassuming kid, when she arrived at NBS. I don’t believe she knew any of the kids in the program. Today she just may be the most popular player at NBS. She is still arrives everyday and shoots before NBS and then does 4 hours of training. It’s just taken for granted these days. It was not long ago when I went to watch her as freshman and she barley played. Where as today she the face of the Chatham team. Last season Maddie Hartnett was named 1st Team Group 3 ALL STATE. It really didn’t surprise me because I know the work ethic. I have seen her in the gym vs the best of the best. Her talent and game speak as loud as she does these days. Maddie Hartnett is the NBS resident comedian these days. She is lighting quick with a quip or comeback line. I am mostly her target and she takes great delight at making me her target. Scranton University is getting a player that like Coach Dipillo makes people feel good whenever she is around. You seen it’s impossible not to root or like Maddie Hartnett.
Scranton University is the loudest gym I personally have ever played in. When NCAA time comes rolling around, the gym will be sold out. The have won the landmark Conference 4 years running. They have won a National champion. They have won over 100 NCAA games, something very few teams at the D3 level can say. Scranton University is the gold standard in womens D3 basketball. I knew at the Top 100 two weeks ago, it was a wrap for Scranton. The eyes don’t lie and when she was talking to a Scranton asst, she let something slip. She used the term we in her conversation and had a tinkle in her eyes. Maddie Hartnett is getting ready to step in the loins den and that’s exactly what she wants. Just like when she tired to single handily beat Top 10 RFH on the road two years ago. I often tease Maddie about how the Shore Conference is over her head. She used to laugh when I said such things…now she come back at me and reminds me she can play against any level of competition...and on November 14th the Scranton University faithful are getting ready to know what we know…MADDIE HARTNETT IS A SPECIAL PLAYER AND TALENT.
YOUR NOT IN THE GYM ENOUGH…I LOVE YOU MADDIE …GET YOUR SHINE ON!