Invisible Players

August 20, 2008

A lot of young players think that if they play well enough, recruiting offers will magically pour out from the top colleges. The reality is that college coaches aren’t picking up the local paper every day to see the box score. Getting recruited is as much about accessibility as it is about playing well, and AccessAthletes founder Matthew Allinson has an interview with Terry Threatt, a talented running back who rushed for 1,759 yards in his junior high school season and averaged 7.1 yards per carry and 6.3 yards per carry his senior season. I know we focus on basketball here, but Terry’s story is important for all high school athletes wanting a college scholarship.

Terry did not just wait for coaches to hear about him at his rural Oklahoma high school, he attended and played well at the NIKE camp and the Oklahoma State mini camp, but Terry still did not get much interest due to a lack of response when coaches inquired about him:

Threatt found himself in the unfortunate situation of having a first-year head coach who was unfamiliar with the recruitment process. After the camp, the University of Missouri expressed interest in recruiting Threatt. He received a phone call and a letter from the Tigers, but their interest waned quickly after several requests to his high school coach for more information went unanswered.

So, even though Terry played well enough to garner some DI interest, coaches quickly gave up when he was perceived as inaccessible. This should serve as an important lesson for athletes wanting to be recruited; if coaches can’t find you, you are invisible.

Athletes have to learn a little marketing, a little networking, and they can’t just sit back and wait for coaches to take notice, nor can they expect their coach to always have the best options for them.

Thanks to Matt for the story.