The art of recruitment

By Grayce Turnbach
February 8, 2007

Meghan Hurley

The very time consuming recruiting process begins a year in advance for men’s basketball here at Cabrini.

“We do this in four phases,” head men’s basketball coach Matthew Macciocca, said. Gradually, each phase requires more involvement.

Phase one.

The coaches go and see the possible recruits over the summer in summer league games, camps and showcases. At one of these tournaments it’s possible to see about 600 players in one day.

The process normally begins at the end of the student’s junior year because Cabrini is a division III school. A division I school will begin they’re recruiting process as early as freshman and sophomore year.

Cabrini uses scouting services as resources to discover players. These scouting services go out and rate players and then send the ratings to their subscribers. A second way to obtain information about a player is word of mouth. What that means is, people who have been in the sport for years develop contacts who relay information to them about possible recruits.

Though there are so many athletes who play, Macciocca said that it is very rare for someone “to fall through the cracks.” What he’s saying is that there is always going to be someone who knows someone else who has information about a player and so on and so forth.

Phase two.

In the second phase, the coaches go to open gyms, workouts, and get in contact with the coach. Throughout the next few phases a relationship with the player grows as well as the relationship with the coach.

After meeting the players, the coaches try and sift through the ones that they feel are going to mesh well with Cabrini, as well as who is going to take the team to the next level. They’ll be able to watch the players in a later phase in order to decide this.

During the phases, players receive constant mailings from Cabrini. Macciocca referred to this as “propaganda.” The purpose of propaganda is to have the athletes constantly seeing Cabrini. It is always something that is positive about Cabrini, but never anything negative towards another school.

“Kids these days are very visual. They base their choice on what they see, not necessarily on the academic program,” Macciocca said.

Phase three.

We’re almost there. In phase three, the coaches now go and watch the athlete play live.

“Many people would like to be home eating dinner with their family, but I’m out watching four to seven games a week,” Macciocca said.

For example, on Friday Jan. 26, Macciocca had his assistants spread out in New Jersey, Delaware, Reading and Wallingford Pa. watching players. Every night that there is not practice or a game for Cabrini, Macciocca and his assistants are out watching high school games.

It’s more likely for a coach to meet family at games. Macciocca firmly believes in presenting himself in a respectable manner when he is seeing family. On Jan. 26 Macciocca had a pair of khaki slacks, a dress shirt, tie, sweater vest, and a black dress coat on. “I’m creating a visual of for our school. We’re trying to paint a picture saying ‘hey, this is why you should want to go to Cabrini,'” Macciocca said

Continuing on with the respect, Macciocca asks permission from the athletes’ coaches to speak with them after the game. He insists on making face-to-face encounters to keep the image of Cabrini in the player’s head.

Getting this far comes with its pros and cons. The pro is that after all of the time spent building a relationship with the player and the coach, the student decides that he would like to come to Cabrini. The con of it all is that there is 105 colleges in Pennsylvania, the possibility of losing a player to another school could happen.

At every game Macciocca or one of his assistants attends, there could be seven other coaches from different schools there as well. This makes the recruiting into a competition with the other schools.

Losing a student to another school is possible; it’s also possible that you can lose players because of the cost of Cabrini.

“Tuition is not cheap and sometimes people cannot afford it,” Macciocca said. Even the academic scholarships given to the players might not help the family to afford the cost.

Final phase.

Get the student up for a school visit and close the deal. If the student decides to come to Cabrini, Macciocca will sit down with the parents and the student himself and make sure that they fully understand that they know what they will be expected to do.

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Grayce Turnbach

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