Lash Helps Keep Five-Star Stocked
Five-Star legend Howard Garfinkel can't do today what he did in 1966. That's why he's enlisted the services of Stu Lash, Five-Star's recruiting and marketing director. In the past, Garfinkel assembled the talent for the legendary camp all by himself. Enter Lash.
The 25 year-old graduate of UMass hits the road 5-7 times a week during the season in search of talent for the legendary camp. Recruiting is essentially the most important part of his job. Gene Keady once said that if you don't recruit everyday, you look like a bum. That won't happen to Lash.
"I do so much more recruiting and scouting than is asked of the job," Lash said. "At the same time, I'm just a young single guy out there working. I just try not to get outworked than anybody." His task is simple: make sure Five-Star is stocked with the best talent possible, even in an ever changing, competitive market.
Five-Star isn't aligned with a sneaker company. Lash says that can be a big advantage in making a pitch to a prospective camper. He says the opportunity for kids to match skills against the best prospects in a neutral sneaker setting, can often be the pitch that gets it done.
Lash also relies on Five-Star's deep, established roots in the high school basketball community. "We have a strong high school network because we've been around so long. The Five-Star name helps get me into the door with a lot of kids." Those weekly trips up and down the east coast are Five-Star's way of showing support to those pockets of high schools that help keep the talent pool deep for Five-Star's camps.
This year, Lash has gotten some recruiting help from another Five-Star staffer. Former Virginia Commonwealth assistant Kevin Brooks is lending a hand in the recruiting effort. Brooks, a native of Richmond, Va., is another pair of eyes on the circuit. "Kevin's been a huge help too. He comes from a different area; he comes from the south."
Sometimes, it's funny how things work out. Lash was offered a job at Five-Star basically by accident. When Five-Star's Leigh Klein first called Lash six years ago, Klein thought he was calling someone else, someone who a friend had recommended. It was only when Lash showed up to manage the camp store that Klein realized his mistake.
"He thought he was calling somebody else as a favor," Lash said. Since then, Lash has been a part of the Five-Star Camp. From a summer of managing the store to a summer on the road recruiting talent, he's worn many hats. "People don't realize I do a lot of other stuff. I handle all the marketing. I do anything from recruiting LeBron James to answering the phone and telling an 11-year old kid how many pairs of underwear he should bring to camp."