Athletic Recruiting Charlie Adams Coach Communication Recruiting for Parents

Finding The Right Fit For College

bo calhoun plays basketball for ball state

Bo Calhoun, a freshman in this video for Ball State Sports Link, is now a junior.

Bo Calhoun of Ball State University is early in his junior season. He is getting a good amount of playing time because he found the right fit for college, for his abilities, when he came out of high school.

When he graduated from high school, Bo was 6’6″ and 210, with long arms. He averaged 18 points a game as a junior for Washington High, located in South Bend, IN. As he went along his recruiting journey, schools most interested in him were schools like Ball State and Western Michigan. North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky and those big boys were not wound up about him. Bo had the wisdom and discernment to see what was a realistic fit athletically for him at the next level.

Find a support system.

Rod Creech is the highly respected President of the Midwest Basketball Academy, and Director of MBA Select Boys Basketball. He and his staff have been with Bo during this whole process.

“With Bo, we talked to him about the difference between the college coaches who love you and the ones that simply like you,” Creech said. “Western Michigan University and Ball State really loved him and a lot of others liked him. Ball State and Western wanted him to commit early because they loved him so much. When you find those kind of schools, you don’t get lost in the shuffle with other players and end up eventually transferring.”

“We talked to Bo about finding the right fit for him,” Creech said. “Take visits, listen to coaches, get to know them, their teams and Universities. His 6’7” frame and athleticism put him in play with a lot of universities. He ended up being the number one recruit target of Ball State.”

Use your support system to hold yourself accountable to your goals.

Rod Creech is passionate about preaching fundamentals and work ethic to players MBA works with in their development. It is vital that young athletes talk with their High School and/or Club Coaches at a fairly young age and state what their dreams or goals are, and ask to be held accountable in reaching them.

“Bo has always been a great kid with big dreams,” Creech said . “As a freshman he met with me and made me promise to help him and hold him accountable to do the things it would take to get a scholarship. He knew basketball was a way. He wanted to be a college player so bad, and he knew his family could not afford to pay for college, so basketball was a way to get that scholarship. We held him accountable with his work ethic and told him the door of opportunity will open and shut quickly. You have to have the character, academics, and stay out of trouble.”

Athletes: Meet with your coaches and guidance counselors, tell them your dreams, and ask them to help hold you accountable to reaching those dreams.

College coaches go to trusted, verified sources to get the scoop on recruitable athletes like Calhoun.

Treat your support system of coaches and mentors with respect.

“The first thing college coaches ask me about are character and academics,” Creech said. He played college basketball himself, and is also a college referee. “Then once that is cleared the rest can almost be easy if the kid has the ability.”

As we talked about this point, Creech elaborated on how he and other trusted third parties like the NCSA Athletic Recruiting Network have to develop a realistic evaluation of a recruit.

“When college coaches call me about a kid, I tell them the truth,” he said, “I tell parents of players that my credibility is on the line and I have worked hard for 15 years to develop trust with a network of college coaches. I tell college coaches about the strengths AND weaknesses and something that is important for athletes to know is that I tell the college coaches if the kid is working hard on the weakness. With Bo Calhoun, his weakness used to be his jump shot, but he worked so hard on it. I also told the college coaches about his upside. The weight program isn’t the greatest at his high school. When he adds 20 pounds to his 6’7” frame he will explode.”

Remember, college coaches project when recruiting. You think they are looking at you as you are, but they are often picturing you at age 20, after you’ve been participating in their weight program.

Don’t wait at home for college coaches to find you.

Understanding the importance of being at the right kind of recruiting events is important. Bo really shined at July Showcase events for his MBA Select team, and the college coaches were there to see him. While Ball State coaches were evaluating him, the South Bend Tribune reported that his team was not doing well and he couldn’t buy a bucket. Calhoun stepped up in a leadership role and righted their ship.

“[The Ball State coaches] knew he could play,” Bo’s high school coach told the newspaper, “but when they saw him handle a tough situation, they became very interested.”

That is a HUGE point. The College coaches went from interested to very interested based on leadership skills displayed. College coaches know if they want to win they not only have to have kids that can play and handle the academics of college, but that have the leadership skills, competitive fire and the other elements that make up championship teams. If you are at an exposure event and on the lists of colleges, know they are watching all kinds of things, from how you carry your bag from the bus to how you ask your parents for a sports drink.

“In that game,” Creech said, “he wasn’t playing well offensively but rallied his team with his words. At MBA, we talk daily with kids like Bo about leadership, mental toughness and about team. Offensive won’t always be there, but the ability to support the team in other ways will always be there.”

The “factors” that Bo nailed are ones that you need to be thinking about as well. They really go on and on.

Parents’ expectations play a crucial role in recruiting.

“Parents often think because they get a letter their kid is being recruited. That College may have sent 10 or 200 or more letters out. It’s a start but unless you do the work and the marketing of your child, that may be all you ever get,” Creech said.

“Parents also often think that when they get their kids to these recruiting exposure events that everyone there is to watch them. They don’t understand what it takes when they get to these venues. A kid has to be prepared. A lot of parents think you play on a team and go and success finds them there. You have to work hard and be prepared to take advantage of being in that situation.”

Parents have got to understand that college coaches go to these events primarily to evaluate prospects that they have learned of through trusted, verified third parties like Rod Creech, the NCSA Athletic Recruiting Network and other credible sources. So many parents trot their kids to various basketball, volleyball, soccer and other showcases, thinking their kid will get discovered. When Bob Chmiel, an NCSA Speaker, was recruiting coordinator for Michigan and then Notre Dame, he “discovered” two kids in all his years: Tim Biakabutuka, who flew under the radar from Zaire, and Rocky Boiman. Chmiel always had a list that he developed through trusted sources. It is critical you understand this concept if you want to have maximum success in the recruiting process.

You can talk with a national recruiting scout about how your recruiting process by reaching out to NCSA.


Motivational speaker Charlie Adams was a sports anchor for 23 years. His son was a college athlete, his oldest daughter is a freshman college swimmer, and his youngest daughter is very involved in AAU travel team basketball as a 6th grader. Charlie’s new motivational program in 2014 is More Than a Miracle, which explains how the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team was able to stun the Soviets and then take the Gold. For more information you can reach him at charlie@stokethefirewithin.com or go to StokeTheFireWithin.com

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Charlie Adams