USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Playced.com. This week’s article is written by Ross Hawley, the president of the company. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student-athletes of all talent levels and ages.
During her first season as the head women’s basketball coach in 2015-2016, Robyn Fralick led Ashland University to a 31-2 record. Her Eagles finished the season with a No. 7 ranking in the final USA Today Sports NCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll. That’s impressive! But, how in the world are you supposed to follow up a first year like that? Well if you’re Coach Fralick, you follow that up by engineering your team to a perfect 37-0 record, you win the National Championship and you’re named the 2017 U.S. Marine Corps/WBCA National Division II Coach of the Year. That’s how!
This week, I sat down with Coach Fralick to talk about the college recruiting process and what it takes to get noticed by a national championship-caliber program. Here is what she had to say.
Q: What is your staff looking for when you recruit a student-athlete?
A: There are a few things that go into our recruiting philosophy at Ashland:
- We love recruiting players from winning programs. There’s so much that actually goes into becoming a winner. It’s such a process. Recruiting players that know what it takes to win, before they get here, gives us that much of a head-start on the success we’re looking to achieve.
- We love recruiting great students. The way you do one thing, is the way you do everything. Working hard in the classroom indicates you’re willing to work hard on your own. You can be trusted. A big part of the success of our program has been based on the fact that we have players we can count on.
- We love recruiting versatility. Having the ability to play multiple positions and guard multiple positions works so well within our system. Along those same lines, we like the kids that are playing multiple sports in high school. Typically speaking, those players have a tremendous amount of athleticism, they have a higher ceiling and they’re less prone to burn-out.
Q: What is your advice to a recruit, interested in Ashland, who you have not yet identified?
A: Like other programs, we receive emails or links on players on a pretty regular basis from potential recruits. It’s an obvious way to make a connection with us if you’re interested in our program, so that’s one way. Another way of connecting with us, and it’s something we’re really big on, is hearing from a recruit’s high school coach. Having that coach’s voice giving us an objective evaluation makes a pretty strong impression on us. And, the last way we identify potential players for our program is through our individual elite camps. If a player is really interested in our program, we highly encourage them to attend that camp. It gives us the opportunity to evaluate players, see how they respond to our coaching style and see how they interact within our team environment. It gives us a great feel on how they might actually fit in here.
Q: Are there any major red flags that you pay attention to that could turn you off of a recruit?
A: Absolutely. Within our program, we have five core values and one of those is being a great teammate. How do you treat your teammates, win or lose? How do you treat your coaches? If a young lady doesn’t meet the highest standard of being a great teammate, we won’t go any further in the recruiting process with her. Another thing that we really pay attention to is not doing well in school, due to a lack of effort. We just feel that effort is something you can control. You can’t always control the grades you get, but you can certainly control the effort you put into your classwork.
We also pay great attention to how a recruit and/or her parents talk about a current coach. It’s a major red flag if they’re speaking poorly to us about a coach, because we’re coaches! It’s so important for kids to understand respect and for parents to display support, regardless of the situation. It just toxic and it’s not something we want in our program.
Q: What has been the key to your program’s success during your first two seasons?
A: When you’re given a scholarship to play at this level, you’re given a lot. From the value of the scholarship, to the gear, to the traveling and to the competition, it really is a unique situation. It’s a time in life that you’re granted a lot of opportunities. We talk a lot about living out of gratitude. Whether you’re a starter or you’re a role player, be grateful for the opportunity you have to be a part of something so special. I think we’ve been so successful because our players understand that concept. Our culture is very clear. The values of our program and the focus we put on being a great teammate are actions that we live out each and every day. This program understands that when entitlement settles in, the joy of the situation is lost.