Recruiting Model: Coaches weigh in

Following the approval of the new basketball recruiting model, talked to eight head coaches to get their feedback on the new rules and regulations.

Thad Matta – Ohio State

What are your thoughts on bringing April back?
First off I think giving us April is awesome. That allows us an opportunity to see guys. It's so hard to recruit during our season. Having April gets us out and gets us an opportunity to see guys before we get into the July period. Having an opportunity to see those guys in April gives us a formidable opinion of who you really want to recruit.

Communication is really being opened up. Did you think this was a positive?
I think it's proactive. What you're doing is staying with the changing culture of America. I'm not a guy that likes to talk on the phone a ton or that sort of thing. Texting to me appears to be the way most kids communicate these days. If you have to get a kid because you call them 75 times in a week or you have to text them 500 times, is that they type of kid that you really want? I think you are going to be able to really establish more of groundwork. I think it's less invasive.

What did you think about allowing juniors to take official visits with a parent/legal guardian
The bigger thing to me is recruiting has expedited to such an early age for these kids. If they opt to do that in my opinion the thing that it may do is allow them to focus on their academics during their senior year, which is so important.

Archie Miller – Dayton

What are your overall thoughts on the new model?
From a recruiting standpoint the unlimited texting and the unlimited calls are great. I think it needed to happen. It was moving in that direction. They took a lot of input from coaches and you can tell the coaches have a footprint on it. April is so important and it helps us make decisions moving into July. You don't waste time and you don't lead on kids and kids aren't doing the same to you.

Recruiting Model Coverage
* NCAA approves rule changes
* Recruiting Model: Recruit's Perspective
* Recruiting Model: Analyst's Perspective
* Recruiting Model: Coaches weigh in

With the phone calls and a contact standpoint, keeping up with electronics is impossible. We can be able to call kids and text them and do the things that you need to communicate and to build the relationships rather than work around everybody.

Steve Masiello – Manhattan

What are your overall thoughts on the new model?
I think it allows coaches to outwork people again and it takes the excuses of why we don't get players out of the equation.

What did you think about bringing the April period back?
I think it's great from a standpoint of schools when someone gets a job late. My concern is going to be is how the events are run and how organized are they. One thing the NCAA has made clear is it's a very short window of 48 hours and the events are going to need to be extremely organized for us to get the maximum amount of evaluations out of them. That's my concern. Does the AAU side know how organized they have to be for that to work and that's for July as well. You're basically cutting down everything drastically. Think of how many times we are at an event where a book isn't ready until day two or we don't know the schedule. Those things can not happen anymore from an evaluation standpoint because our time is so valuable.

Darrin Horn – South Carolina

Overall what did you think of the new model?
Its just good to see some things being done that make sense. In terms of the contact rules, to me that just makes sense. The best opportunity for a student athlete to make a good decision and for coaches to make good evaluations and feel like its good for everybody involved is for there to be contact, understanding and relationships. It's hard to do that when you are limited. I think just some of the simple stuff with phone calls and when you can talk to them and all that kind of stuff just makes sense. I think it's good. With technology today, don't answer, don't return a text or don't answer your Facebook or whatever it is and then eventually we will all realize we aren't involved with that guy and we will move on to the next one. It's just kind of good to see that they are addressing some things that make sense and appear to be in the best interest of everybody.

Did you agree with bringing April back?
I think having April back is really important because of the need to see and evaluate so you aren't going into things blind. The way things have been structured the last several years you go into July and they don't really know and you don't know and sometimes you're making quick decisions off a couple of games or because the way the process is going and you feel like you have to with the way the kid is being recruited. I think sometimes that isn't in the best interest of everybody.

I think bringing April back just helps the process a little bit more. [It gives us] a little bit more feel a little more understanding and better evaluations. I think all that helps. The July thing is kind of like the calls. I think if you have April it's probably better to shorten July and get better quality over a shorter amount of time, but will that be good? I think we will have to go through it when we have April and a shortened July before we know if we like this or say we thought we really liked this but it turns out this is happening.

Scott Drew – Baylor

What did you like best about the changes?
Having April and cutting down July. I thought that was super. I think that is something everyone agrees. The other stuff was good, but I don't know if everybody agrees with it. But those were no-brainers, unanimous.

I think with the communication and the phones and texting, if you call and bother a kid too much you are going to lose him so you're going to be discretionary. At the same time if you don't want to take someone's calls, we all have caller ID and coaches will get a handle on who doesn't take their calls. If you call too much they won't take them. So I think that's all super.

What are your thoughts on early official visits?
I think that's another good thing just because unofficial visits have been a hot topic with the NCAA and with this I think it will help alleviate some of those issues.

Josh Pastner – Memphis

What are your general thoughts on the new recruiting model?
I think it's important that the NCAA wants to put the responsibility on the coaches on making sure the prospects coming in understand about the new academic requirements, amateurism and all the different requirements with the NCAA and the only way to really educate the prospects is to be able to communicate with them. That doesn't even have to mean face-to-face, but that just means verbally or not verbally and the only way to do that was to lift the restrictions on the amount of time you can do it. Now you can really go right to the source and explain.

Now these days 95-percent of these kids don't really want to talk on the phone. They want to text. That's just the way it is. They want to text and they don't really want to verbally talk. I think it will save schools money financially because they will be able to get right to the source and find out if they really have an interest or not and you don't waste time.

Do you like that you can now bring in kids for official visits beginning their junior year? I would rather go from five official visits to three. I would like to see that one day instituted just because usually kids need just three visits to determine. On that I think it's a tossup because you could bring a kid in early and he commits but that's a long time for him to commit until he signs 10 or 11 months later depending on the time frame. You have to be really methodically with how you want to use that.

Chris Mack – Xavier

What were your overall impressions on the new model?
I thought the changes were very well thought out. I think they really applicable to the times we are in with kids making earlier decisions. I think it was time. For the most part the things that were passed are great for college basketball and specifically recruiting.

Was there anything you particularly disagreed with?
No. I think like most coaches. I was ecstatic when the two weekends in April were passed. The reduction of days in July I think is such a powerful thing. It gives back time to our families as coaches, but at the same time it gives a great instrument for watching a kids development over the course of a year rather than a few weeks in July. We will be able to see high level kids in April, get in on them early and recruit them really hard for a few months and then watch them again in July. You can see kids develop and building relationships in that time. I think it will help us make better decisions on who we bring into our program.

Tad Boyle – Colorado

The NCAA just passed several new recruiting rules, what was your reaction? The only one I have a little bit of a problem with is the April evaluations but that's more of a philosophical thing for me personally. I think it's good for our business but I'm not sure it's good for kids in high school.

Why do you say that?
I come from the old school and I like when kids have the ability to play multiple sports in high school. I think one of the things I don't like about the April period being open is that kids have to make decisions about whether to play a spring sport or travel and try to get exposure as a basketball player.

Philosophically I don't like that, but I understand that it allows us to get a head start on the recruiting process and gives us the opportunity to see kids in April so our recruiting is much more in order as we get into July. Whereas, recently, there's been a lot of mistakes made in July.

Is there anything about the new rules that you do view pretty favorably?
I like that these rules allow more communication between coaches and prospects; I think that's a good thing. Hopefully in the long run that will cut down on the transfer situation and allow kids to make more informed and intelligent decisions.

Kevin O'Neill – USC

What are your thoughts on the new rule changes?
I think it's good that they're we're going to have more contact with the kids so we'll get to know them more, especially with the huge amount of transfers there's been in the past couple of years. I agree with a lot of the stuff, I think they're trying to go in the right direction.

I don't agree with the academic rules. I think what they're doing is limiting opportunities for kids that deserve the opportunity to experience college. I see it lessening the pool of young men that maybe haven't achieved at the necessary level when it isn't their fault and all of the sudden they're not going to be able to play at the highest level. I don't like the academic rules but I do like the new recruiting rules.

The new stipend rule, they want a hero biscuit for giving these guys $2,000. Okay, $2,000 in Los Angeles vs. $2,000 in Knoxville, Tennessee or Oxford, Mississippi or East Lansing, Michigan? It doesn't help. They need to give these guys as much money as they can.

All these places need to stop aligning their conferences and start taking care of these kids. They're not getting enough to eat, they're not getting enough to live on and they're not able to be human beings.

Rob Senderoff – Kent State

What do you think of the rule changes overall?
I think having April back as a recruiting period is good. It is very important for both the student-athletes and coaches. I also think lessening the amount of time on the road in July is good for both student athletes and coaches. For us coaches being able to work with our current players in July is great, it is really great. Those two things I think are really positive.

I think having unlimited texts and unlimited phone calls, I think it is in theory a good thing. However the negative is as coaches, we work hard all the time. We are competitive people by nature. If it comes to the point of me doing things from making calls every day or texts every day just for the purpose of out working other coaches, it could get to a point of being overbearing on the recruit, myself, and my staff. I can also see where a staff or a coach does call and text a student athlete daily and it work against them in their recruitment.

I think there definitely could come a point where unlimited texts and unlimited calls could become overbearing on everybody, so that is something that would be a concern.

How do you think different coaches will approach things with kids knowing it can be overbearing?
When I coached at the highest level, even though it was for a very limited period of time, at that level, i know that I felt an immense internal pressure to communicate as often with these kids as often as possible. I felt like I needed to out-work everyone in order to have a chance with those hi-level recruits. I think at that level it is going to be really difficult for the assistants at most programs in terms of how much they are going to work. This is a very demanding job and a high pressure job and having the ability to call and text unlimitedly just adds to the demands on everyone involved.

At our level, the mid-major level, it is a little different because kids want to hear from us later in the process, and there is a much larger pool of kids for you to recruit from. It may not change as much for us as it will for those at the highest level. But, as with everything, time will tell how much it will affect coaches at our level.

*Josh Gershon and Brian Snow also contributed to the report

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