College basketball has, on average, more kids commit during the season than any other collegiate sport, according to ESPN. This makes the job of a head coach that much more difficult.
Appalachian State’s head basketball coach Jim Fox has that difficult task of juggling recruiting in season while also coaching his team. The good news for him is he has a very good supporting staff to help him with both.
“In season recruiting for me as the head coach, I’m not as involved as I would be during the off season. You’ve really got to rely and trust in your assistant coaches, and their job during this time is to go out and recruit guys. Obviously, I try and go out when I can, but my primary job is coaching up our guys that we have on the team now,” said Fox.
While Fox’s main job is to coach the team, he still does a good bit of recruiting during the season. Fox stays in touch with many of the guys that they are targeting throughout the season to maintain that relationship.
In season recruiting is easier now for coaches like Fox, thanks to the way that technology has changed.
“Kids today don’t want you to call them up. They’d rather you sent them a text and, you know, use emojis and stuff. Makes my job that much easier when keeping in touch with the kids,” said Fox.
The man that handles most of the workload of in season recruiting for the Appalachian men’s basketball team, however, is assistant coach Jason Allison.
Allison acts as the teams recruiting coordinator and is the one to go out and recruit while Jim Fox coaches the team. Allison is the man that directly contacts kids and does the heavy lifting for the team.
“I’m always emailing, texting and calling kids during the season. I’ll be out at high school games and tournaments on Friday nights; when’ve I’ve got time on the road I’ll be out in the mid-west catching junior college teams and getting looks at those kids. The recruiting process never stops for me. It’s year-round,” said Allison.
One of the biggest differences between in season and offseason recruiting is the amount of contact time that you are allowed with kids, according to Allison.
“During the offseason, which is basically the summer time, teams can only go and watch kids play on the weekends with their AAU teams and see them face-to- face then, where as during the season, you’re allowed to go directly to the school and talk to the kid,” said Allison.
One of the players that Allison recruiting personally is Ronshad Shabazz, starting guard on the team. Shabazz committed to Appalachian in season while he was in high school.
“I decided to commit in season because it’s good to take the stress off of yourself, and then you can just focus on winning games, so when you’re focusing on recruiting you’ve got different coaches talking to you, calling you, emailing you and stuff so it just takes your focus off of the game. I just wanted to get it over with early, so I could focus on basketball and the plan,” said Shabazz.
This seems to be a trend in basketball recruiting where many players are committing during the season, rather than waiting till the end of the year to make their decision. Just from the top 100 recruits on ESPN, 78 of them had committed and signed before the season was over.