The collegiate recruiting process is one that is crucial for teams to continue to have success.
Division I teams like Kentucky and Duke have had sustained success by being active during the recruiting process. Keene State basketball coach Ryan Cain said, “I recruit the best players that we can get.” Unlike professional sports, college athletes can only play for four years. This means that college coaches are always recruiting.
To recruit players, coaches and current players have to convince the potential commits that their school is the best. Every coach does this differently. For freshman forward Nyzair Rountree, it was the family culture, “The thing about Keene is the basketball team is like a family. When I got here for my overnight, we were all together.” This is one of the things that got Rountree to come to Keene State.
Basketball is not the only sport that requires recruiting; all of the coaches have to recruit. For the lacrosse team, first-year defense man Haeden Finerty said, “I really liked that they had a good education program, which is my big thing. I knew the lacrosse team was a lot of fun, I knew they were really good and I just liked the school in general.” What makes recruiting players to a Division III school difficult is coaches have to sell a player on the team and the school more so than Division I and II programs. Division III schools are not allowed to offer scholarships or any kind of financial aid to an athlete. Generally this takes the top ranked players in the country out of the question, top players usually go to Division I programs to get full scholarships. Cain said, “We don’t offer any athletic money, so whatever a general student would get to attend Keene State, an athlete would get.”
While the regular season for basketball is 28 games, the recruiting process is year-round. After the high school basketball season ends, most high level players will go on to play in other games. These games can include showcase games, tournaments and AAU games. These games give coaches many opportunities to watch players and scout them. This also gives players the chance to continue playing throughout the year.
The basketball team has only 17 players on the roster, so coaches can only get a limited number of players. While the roster spots are limited, coaches scout hundreds of players. Cain said, “There have been several different showcases for guys that are juniors, so we probably have a list after this weekend of between 200 and 300 guys.” All of these players cannot come play at Keene State but the coaches scout players year-round to take a look at who they would like to play for the Owls in the fall.
It is still early in the recruiting process but the coaches continuously look for talented players that can help Keene State’s sports teams continue to thrive. “Recruiting never really stops,” Cain said.
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