The basketball season didn’t go as planned for Ft. Myers (FL) Bishop Verot star, Ricky Doyle. A stress fracture in his foot sidelined the talented power forward for 22 games. With him out of the lineup the decrease in recruiting attention from some schools wasn’t surprising. At the same time, there chose to turn up the heat. None were more persistent than Michigan, so when it came time to taking visits the Doyle family decided the first stop should be Ann Arbor.
“Colleges have been asking us to visit, but we decided that Michigan would receive the first visit with the way that they have been pursuing Ricky,” Doyle’s father explained. “They have been after him pretty hard now for a year, even when he was injured. That is why we are visiting them first. Coach Beilein has been down here twice to see Ricky. (So have) assistant coaches lavall jordan, Bacari Alexander, and Jeff Meyer. They have interacted with us the most with letters and phone calls. It’s just not talk with that staff.”
The point man in Michigan’s pursuit of Doyle is LaVall Jordan, but he collaborated with his fellow assistants to help convey just what a priority the class of 2014 standout is.
“Coach LaVall Jordan… I am really impressed with him,”Mr. Doyle stated. “He likes Ricky’s body development and his skill set. He has great communication skills. I like how comfortable he makes Ricky feel. They talk about academics and he has a good way of keeping in touch without trying to do too much. Coach Bacari Alexander is a great communicator as well. We think a lot alike in terms of hard work and discipline. Bacari’s main thing is to get his core strength better. He thinks Ricky could really fit well and wants to toughen him up.”
John Beilein has made a strong impression as well, and it’s in part because of a policy that has kept Michigan from extending a scholarship to this point.
“I really like the fact at how direct Coach Beilein was with us about an offer for Ricky,” said Mr. Doyle. “He told us he would not offer Ricky a scholarship until we came to the campus to visit. Coach wants Ricky to look at the campus and Michigan’s program to be able to see it all and for them to get to know him as well. I really respected that about him. No one has been that direct with us.”
While the high regard that Doyle’s parents hold Michigan in is important, it’s Ricky’s opinion matters most. Fortunately for Beilein & company, they’ve scored high marks with him as well.
“I like the staff a lot,” Ricky said. “They are pretty good. They are great to talk with and they are very knowledgeable. Coach Jordan talks to me about life. We don’t talk basketball all the time. And I like Michigan’s offense it is the same offense we run in high school. The players work very well together the always are cheering on their teammates. I like the enthusiasm of everyone on the team and I like the atmosphere that they have there. During this recruiting process my dad just wants me to keep an open mind about with colleges.”
As high on Michigan as he is, Ricky has done just that. With sixteen offers already on the table from teams like Boston College (Ricky’s first offer) Stanford, Virginia, Purdue, Penn State, and Miami… there is much to still evaluate.
“All the schools are great and he will get a good education, but I also want for him to be able to get along with his teammates,” Mrs. Doyle said, describing her son’s criteria. “I want as a mom to have a good feeling that he chose the right place and I want him to have that feeling as well. I want the college he attends to really want him there and I want to know that he is going to be in a family atmosphere.”
Key for Mrs. Doyle is program that will continue to cultivate the growth that she has seen in her son over the past year.
“This has been a little overwhelming, but he has worked hard for this,” she said. “With the recruiting process it has forced him to grow up faster. On the court he has become a leader he talks to some of the junior varsity kids about what to expect when they get to varsity. He now has conversations with his coaches it is good to see him express himself more.”
Both mom and dad are stressing patience during the recruiting process, but the entire family knows they’ll eventually need to start focusing on a select group of favorites.
“We would like to get the number (of schools) down so we can start deciding on colleges,” Mr. Doyle stated. “An answer this summer would be good for him. That would go a long way towards him knowing where he will be attending college. Ricky is going to pick the school that is best for him.”
Stay tuned for part two of this feature in which Bishop Verot coach, Matt Herting breaks down Doyle’s game and discusses how he might fit in the Big 10.