This year, college coaches have basically been forbidden from attending events like the Charlie Weber Invitational. In the past, tournaments like the one in College Park last weekend have been fertile grounds for assistants to look at perspective seniors and underclassmen, but no so this fall.
Under the new NCAA guidelines, recruiters are having to spend more time in high schools gyms trying to evaluate prospects in their high school settings. As you'll read, this can be an arduous, expensive and often times futile task. We spoke with one Division I assistant and got his reaction to the new set of guidelines. His quotes pretty much speak for themselves.
On Trying To Evaluate Players At High Schools: "The competition in the gym doesn't allow the kid to be exposed. You go to the Charlie Weber and watch a kid for three days and you get a read on how good he is and if he competes."
What It's Like Trying To Watch A Kid In Open Gym: "I went to an open gym and the volleyball team was using it. And then I had to watch him play against a 5-7 kid. I follow the rules to a "T," report to the main office and all that. There's 40 or 50 kids playing and by school rules, all the kids who are there have to play. Most of the kids he's playing against are underclassmen. There's only three seniors there and none of the other kids were Division I players. Then, to make matters worse, you can't get good evaluations and then the other kids are wanting to commit early."
Trips To High Schools In The Fall Can Be Wastes of Time: "If you are in the school you can't talk to the kid. So what do you do? You talk to a coach. He tells the kid the school stops by, well great. I didn't get an evaluation in at all."
On Cost Effectiveness: "I paid $800 for a ticket to do what? To talk to the high school coach? I spend three or four days in a city and I may be able to see three or four open gyms and the same number of players. In the past, I used to be able to watch a weekend tournament and get much more done and see maybe 50 kids."
On How The Rules Encourage Illegal Bumps: "If I pay $800, I'm going to talk to the kid. I know the NCAA says that's cheating but that's going to go on. At the Charlie Weber, you are going to watch games, maybe go out to dinner with an AAU coach and go to bed. That's it."
Getting More Done With The AAU Guys: "This one AAU coach gave me more names in 45 minutes than any high school coach in a week. I got more accomplished sitting talking to him then I did with any other high school coach. He told me what high schools to go to and where I needed to be. That's the funny part about it. Not to mention, just like there are bad AAU coaches, there are bad high school coaches and the kid suffers."
Is More Contact With High School Coaches The Answer? "They act like the high school coaches are the answer. Hell, for some of them that's the last thing they want to deal with. What happens when you have a good player and a disinterested high school coach? So now, if I have a son in Baltimore, my son's going to DeMatha. At least I know that the college coaches will come see him play."
On The Difficulty of Making An Evaluation In Open Gym & Exposure For The Kids: "Take JJ Redick. He's a great player but without Boo Williams does he go to Duke? Maybe. But, if you have to evaluate him in Roanoke with his high school team I don't know. It's a lot tougher."
Cost vs. Time: "You talk about money well spent. You go to the Charlie Weber for two days, that's money well spent."