Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August is serious recruiting time

Not to shortchange any month on the calendar but August is when phonelines get overheated, cell phone minutes evaporate like a mirage in the desert and many decisions are decided on both sides of the basketball recruiting equation.

With that in mind, we had the opportunity to pose some questions to Coach Nessman about how San Jose State men's basketball goes about recruiting. Remember that 6-foot-6 Kurt Davis of Compton Centennial has already committed to becoming a Spartan come the November signing period.

SpartanHoops: What is the number of players you generally have on your 'original' recruiting list?

Coach Nessman: The number of recruits varies based on the number of scholarships. We are continually learning about and evaluating prospects. We are in contact with maybe 10-15 recruits for every open scholarship.

SpartanHoops: By the time July rolls around or say the Las Vegas tourneys, how many names appear on the list then:

Coach Nessman: Usually by July, we will have reduced our focus to a much smaller number so we can get a careful assessment of our top prospects and they can see us at their games. We followed closely about 15 players in Vegas. We took in games of maybe another 20 or so. Of course, we saw literally hundreds play. Coordinating that task as we zig zag our way through Vegas is no easy feat - especially when it seems like every other street was undergoing construction.

SpartanHoops: - Do new names generally get added to the list during July, say if some 'unknown' catches your attention?

Coach Nessman: Yes, new prospects can emerge in the July period. Unlikely, that a player from California would be unknown to us going into the July period, but it does happen. Sometimes a player is simply better or not as good as we thought during the high school season. A lot can happen in the life of teenager in a six-month time frame.

SpartanHoops: After being on the road most of July, what takes place recruiting-wise in August?

Coach Nessman: August is a time where recruiting really comes into focus. The prospects themselves are typically narrowing their choices down, while the schools are now clear as to their own top priorities. It's a pretty dynamic situation that can change on short notice. We focus on our top players, but we remain open-minded and flexible. August is also the time when we can begin to call prospects twice a week as they approach their senior year. During the their junior year, we can only place one call a month to them. We must use this increased access to our advantage in terms of crafting a relationship.

SpartanHoops: Because recruiting is all about the relationship, how do you go about determining mutual interest and, if it is present, building from there? What do you find the best 'tools' to nurture player-coaching staff relationships? Do recruiting targets nowadays prefer electronic communication?

Coach Nessman: I think recruits like to talk to coaches. But there are limits on that. Of course, today's typical 17-year-old is fairly sophisticated when it comes to electronic communication. We are not allowed to text recruits - even though that is a primary mode of communication for them. The best tools in a recruiting relationship are the same as relationships in life; direct and honest communication are fundamental, sincerity, humor and common interest capture people's attention as well. Let's not forget we are also talking to parents, coaches and others involved with the decision-making process.

Two basketball scholarships remain and the first signing period begins on November 11 and runs until November 18. The second basketball signing period is in April.

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