Today’s rant will not be filled with pictures just words. Today’s rant is about truth, it’s about honesty and people’s livelihoods and kids futures. Today I am going to talk about a uncomfortable topic. It’s a topic that is talked about in quiet moments when nobody is around. It’s the topic every high school coach, trainer, AAU coach and parents dread talking about. That topic is THE COVER UP.
College recruiting is not a science. In a lot of ways it can be a crap shot. That’s because the truth of the matter is college coaches simply do not see players enough anymore because of NCAA limitations on watching kids play or getting to know them. So colleges rely on their eyes and the people in a kids inner circle to learn all they can about a player and this is when the problems can start… THIS IS OFTEN WHEN THE BIG COVER UP SO OFTEN BEGINS
Justine Pissott, the Liggio sisters, Georgia Heine, Olivia Shaughnessy, Cracklings Rosie, Megan Cahalan, Ashley O’Connor, Isabella Asencio, ABBY FERGUSON are all examples of gym rats. I can give you a long list of gym rats, currently and in the past. But that is not the point today, that’s because their is a long list of kids who fall into the category of gym rats. They are kids who simply love basketball. They can play all day everyday and simply cannot get a enough of it. Basketball is where they often get their self esteem and identity from. In a lot of ways gym rats lack balance at times. But the truth of the matter is, it may be the very reason why they continue to always improve and can play a level above their ability and why they are always coaches favorites at the next level. Yes, Rarely if ever have you heard of a gym rat not being successful at the next level regardless of where or what level of school they attend.
Because a kid is not a gym rat doesn’t mean they are not a great player or hard worker. Hard workers are the most common players there are in D1 basketball for example. That’s how kids get to the highest level of D1, D2 or D3 is by hard work. When hard workers get to the gym. They give you everything and more. They show up on time put a honest days work in and go home. I like to call them lunch pale workers. They give you exactly what you ask for, a honest days work and that is usually more than enough for just about any coach blowing a whistle. Hard workers also in my opinion seem to have more balance. They also must pick the right school and fit. Hard workers usually are exactly what you expected them to be when there recruited, no more or no less. When thard workers pick the right school in most cases both both parties end up extremely happy .
Gym Rats and hard workers are easy to get behind. When a college coach calls and ask how that kid is doing, developing or playing. It’s easy for a coach to go into supportive mode. Now in most cases it a discussion about a kids ability. Sometimes that college coach and that high school coach, AAU COACH or TRAINER may disagree. One may feel the kid is good enough and sometimes the college may not feel the kid is good enough. This is when the recruiting dance begins. It’s a honest dance. Nobody is hiding anything and both parties are truly fighting for their programs. The college wants the right player and doesn’t want to make a mistake. The advocate is trying to convince the college coach his player is that right player. All is above board and done in good faith. But there is another side to this. It the dark side of recruiting that nobody wants to discuss, certainly not in the open…THE COVER UP.
First let me say this as a former college coach at all three levels. You must remember, everyone who has ever coached or trained a kid trying to play in college has participated in the coverup. That’s because it’s human nature. You have been part of a COVERUP weather you know it or not. Now you may be asking what is the cover up? It’s simple, do you know that kid who is being recruited by a school or has been offered by a school, that you know simply cannot play there? Do you know that kid who is lazy and not dedicated who is being recruited by a school that has a coach whose job is on the line? Do you know a kid who does not like basketball but has verbally committed or signed at a school. Do you know a kid who parents are totally out of control and that school recruiting a kid has no idea? Well if you know any of these players and have not brought it to the attention of a college coach asking you about that kid, Like it or not . YOU ARE PART OF THE COVER UP
Now understand nobody wants to hurt a kids chance to attend a college, especially for free. Nobody wants to take away a kids chance and opportunity. Like wise nobody wants to see a coach get fired. That’s why there is a dance that takes between college coaches and high school coaches for example. The high school coach is in a impossible position. They know if they lie to a school they lose there credibility down the road. They will have other kids who may want to attend a school, so there creditably is everything. But that coach also knows the Ramifications of being honest and a player losing a opportunity. They also know they can cause a college coach with a family a job. That why high school coaches often stay out of the way and leave it up to a college when they see a train wreck coming… but the truth of the matter is they are part of the COVER UP BECAUSE THEY KNEW THE END GAME…they are in the worst position of all. It takes a confidence coach to tell those parents a mistake is being made.it’s the fastest way to ruin a relationship and bring drama into your program.
Now trainers like myself are in a horrible position for one reason, we know more about a kids work habits, social behavior and ability We know the family dynamics. I can say with 100% certainly when a kid is picking the right school or the wrong school. I can tell with 100% certainty when a school is making a mistake in recruiting. Now you can call it bragging, Arrogance or whatever on my part. I call it a fact! And here is a another fact, I see them when there are as young as in 2nd grade. I’ve seen them at their worst and their best. I have seen how the parents react to truth and failure. I know the parents, their motives and their agenda. That’s because you cannot hide that behavior over 8-10 years. College coaches never see this stuff over a long extended period. In most cases their relationship starts when that kid is identified as a prospect. That often is in high school.
I also will ever recommend or call a school about a player I believe cannot play at the college.. ever! That’s because I know a kid will end up unhappy and a coach can get fired. But I also will never, ever let a school know if they are making a recruiting mistake. Before Ginny Borggess arrived at Monmouth University, I watched the previous Monmouth staffs make recruiting mistakes, one after another and I never said a word. When they finally hired James Young and righted the ship, it was too late and it caused those coaches their jobs. Why do I tell you this? Because I TOO HAVE BEEN PART OF THE COVER UP.
Now I also believe college coaches have to take some responsibility as well. There is a reason over thousand kids were in the transfer portal. It’s not a kid or families fault for wanting a free education. Coaches often don’t want the truth about kids. So they don’t ask right questions. They see a kid is a great shooter and their program is in need of shooting and that all they care about. They don’t ask if that kid works hard, likes competition or is a unselfish teammate. They see what they want and that’s all that matters…. that is until that kid arrives on campus. They see that post player with size and skills and don’t care if she lacks motivation. They fully expect that kid to change when they arrive on campus.. well here is another fact… THEY DON’T CHANGE… ever. They are who they are!
Now understand we are all part of the cover up. Parents know when there kids are lacking desire and commitment. They just hope a kid will turn the corner at some point. It’s what parents are supposed to believe. High School Coaches, trainers and those around kids know when a mistake is being made. But who are they to tell a coach a kid cannot play for them. Coaches make 100’s of thousands of dollars to do a job. Who are we to tell them who not to recruit. Why should we be forced to get in the middle of such things.
Recently I called a AAU coach and told said, her player could not play at the school she was going to commit too. She said she loves the school. I said she won’t play. She said the kid doesn’t care, she loves the school. That’s great for the school and not so good for her future coach. But here is a message for all college coaches. If you truly want the truth about a kid. Then speak to the following people. 1st their teammates because kids are Brutally honest to a fault. and not sophisticated when it comes to recruiting. Next speak to their teachers because if there is one thing I discovered about teachers, they never cover for a kid who is not working. Finally and this is big … be honest and ask that kid are they prepared to give their life away for 4 years. Because that’s exactly what they will be doing. It’s important that everyone sees the BIG PICTURE and COVERING UP FOR KIDS WION’tT HELP ANYONE IN THE LONG RUN