Yesterday I came to the realization that too many kids playing high school basketball have their priorities a little mixed up. When I hear a young lady misses a scrimmage because she chooses to watch a college play and therefore coming up short on the required number of practice days in order to play…something is wrong. When I hear of kids missing fall workouts with teammates in order to visit a college, something is wrong. When I hear of kids missing summer workouts because they are hanging out with family and friends at a BBQ party….something is wrong. You see, I believe when a young person commits to a team they should do just that. No question there are times when a sport takes a back seat. Like when academics or family tragedies are involved. But what is wrong is when a kid makes a decision to skip when they know their teammates are working hard.

This fall I had a conversation with a sophomore who I hope one day will be a great player. She had told me she was skipping a workout at NBS to go watch a college game. I told her to enjoy the game, but in my mind I could not stop thinking, shouldn’t her focus be on getting better. By the time this young lady is a senior most of the players and maybe the coach on that college team will be gone.  I felt the young lady was putting the cart before the horse. I also felt the young lady was playing a political game and trying to butter up the staff, or worse, trying to give the impression that she is being recruited…kids buttering up coaches never works…trust me! You simply need to rely on being good enough and that means getting in the gym and improving.


Jill Faverly decided that development would lead to a scholarship…she was right!

Many young kids today spend so much time trying to play the political game. They choose AAU teams based on how much they think the coach will take care of them. They don’t ask a more important question…how much will they improve and what level of competition are they facing? I watched kids play games all fall every weekend and I couldn’t help but shake my head and say why? I watched kids skip high school fall workouts to attend AAU practices, this to me is insane. I watched kids with an opportunity to play against top competition, choose not to do so…WHY? Politics and bad advice.  Since high school coaches can’t coach their teams in the fall, for some reason kids think this all is good.  This is all part of a political game that kids and parents are playing today.

There are times when these kids and their parents who are playing the political game of buttering the coach back fires. Both the parents and kid believe because they have done everything the coach has asked and more it will lead to playing time. But when the player rides the bench and doesn’t get time the parents and the player are upset. Why you ask? Did your child challenge themselves and prepare themselves by practicing and being a real part of the team in the fall. The answer in most cases is that my child worked very hard…I can tell you for a fact every parent I know says this! When you say, “Did your child work on their weakness?” They say yes, but in fact in most cases they only worked out with people in their inner circle.  The truth of the matter is most kids would be better served on focusing on improvement and sometimes that means getting out of your comfort zone and understanding not everything can be about confidence building. Sometimes you simply must let the chips fall where they may!


Christina Antonakakis and members of the Mansonsious Wildcat team visit Wagner College and see former Shore stars..Jackie Dluhi and Sam Sullivan

I see many young players visiting colleges in the fall, missing practices and workouts. This to me is laughable. A freshman or a sophomore for example visiting a college and missing a high school workout or any type of workout is a joke. Unless you are a mega recruit, there is never a reason to put your development or workouts on hold to visit or watch a college game…NEVER!  Let me give you a great example. Faith Masonious is an 8th grader and her recruiting will be on a national level. She will need serious guidance and somebody to keep her RECRUITING SITUATION under control. There is no way her recruiting process can last 4 years or she will be a basket case. She will need to get out in front of her recruitment early and meet coaches, teams and schools, WHY? So she can be part of her high school team WITHOUT BEING DISRUPTIVE.  She will have tons of offers and enormous pressure from day one from college coaches.  I can tell you right now with the exception of Kimi Evans no other player in the Shore falls into this category. Most players have a pressure free recruiting experience until their junior year….SO WHAT’S THE RUSH? 


The heavily recruited Morris needed to make a decision

No question, at some point future college plans must be addressed. For example juniors Nicole Morris and Kelly Campbell both made recent college decisions. I believe in the case of Kelly Campbell the level of play was very important to her. In the case of Nicole Morris whose parent graduated from U-Penn and Columbia, education was going to trump everything, including ACC schools. Both young ladies had multiple, and I mean multiple offers. The key word here is OFFERS…NOT LETTERS.

Kids believe a letter or even more deceiving a hand written letter is a sign that a school wants them or have a serious interest in them. Kids – coaches write hand written and typed letters to hundreds of kids.  These letters should not be a reason to skip a high school practice or workout with teammates. Morris and Campbell had real scholarship offers and time was of the essence and they needed to make hard decisions. So visiting a colleges or skipping a workout or practice made sense…scholarship offers were on the table, they had proven themselves to college coaches. But in the case of most kids there is tons of time to visit a college and to improve. In fact almost every college has an elite camp these days.  Kristen Somogyi for example brought her entire Cardinal team to a Division one practice. I don’t want to be a know it all, but I can tell you that I have a pretty good handle on where most kids stand in the recruiting process with college coaches and in most cases there is no reason to put their high school teams or development on hold.


Kelly Campbell’s decision to attend DePaul allows her to focus on her season

I believe high school coaches should take a stand when kids skip out on practice or miss team workouts. These kids should go to the back of the line, and be forced to understand that being part of a team means showing up …regardless of their talent. I believe athletic directors should make it clear to kids…your high school commitment comes first… Not your future plans and endeavors…THE FUTURE CAN WAIT YOUR. YOUR DEVELOPMENT AND TEAMMATES CAN NOT!





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