Milton’s sharpshooting senior guard Zach Hodskins joined his teammates Mo Lewis (Navy) and Shawn O’Connell (Georgia Southern) when he decided to get his college choice out of the way before the start of his senior season when he informed the Florida Gators coaching staff he would accept their invitation to become a preferred walk-on next year. Hodskins, perhaps best-known for his extraordinary inspirational story of overcoming being born with just half of a left arm, is a gifted shooter with unlimited range, but also has great court vision and is an exceptional passer.
All THAT being said, perhaps Zach’s greatest attribute is his competitive fire THAT Burns for all to see each second he is on the court.
The Milton Basketball Family is proud of Zach for all he has overcome and done to this point, and we look forward to sharing a special senior season with him.
I am living in a new world here at Milton High School so I am not the type of expert someone like Coach Hurley from St. Anthony might be on the topic of colleges recruiting my players, but here are some things I have found to be truths that any coach (AND PARENT) might want to consider when going through the process.
1. Neither a high school coach nor AAU coach will ever talk a college coach into offering a scholarship to a player the college coach DOES NOT WANT. It has NEVER HAPPENED and IT NEVER WILL happen, no matter how hard some may try, and no matter what any high school or AAU coach might claim. These college coaches Recruit their livelihoods and their futures. No chance they are going to offer a scholarship to one of my players as some favor to me. It is partially my job to get those coaches interested in my players, and from there it is up to the college coach to decide if my player is right for his program.
2. A high school coach can contact college coaches around the country to alert them of a player who the HS coach feels might be able to play, and that might even draw further interest–so it is a good idea to help a student-athlete. But doing this only enhances a player with less exposure’s chance of getting recruited; it does not guarantee anything!
3. College coaches recruit based on FIT and NEED. In other words, the player must fit the college coach’s idea of what he wants a player to be able to do and the college coach must have a need in that specific class for a kid of the player’s skills. What this means is, just because a certain university doesn’t recruit a player, doesn’t mean that university thinks the player can’t play. It may be a situation where a coach likes a little buy bigger 3 or a 4 who plays more of a stretch role rather than a post role. Or it may be THAT the program already has 3 kids on scholarship who can do the same kinds of things so they are searching for a different position. Any way you slice it, these coaches know specifically what they like so refer to item 1.
4. Be HONEST with the college coaches recruiting your players because your credibility is on the line. In other words, if I have a player I think MIGHT be able to play D1 ball, I present it to the coaches I contact exactly that way! “Coach, I have a guard who has really done well against high level competition but he hasn’t gotten a ton of attention at the next level. I love the kid and think he may be able to play at your level, BUT YOU KNOW BETTER THAN I DO. If you are looking for a scoring 2 and size isn’t a big issue, you may want to take a look at him because he is really skilled. And ID appreciate any insight you might be able to give me on where you think he’d best fit, if not at your level.” That discussion usually goes in a positive direction and I have found college coaches to be the BEST judges of what COLLEGE LEVEL a kid should play.
Also, if a college coach asks, “Does the kid practice hard; is he coachable; is he a good teammate; does he do the right things off the floor?” Best to answer them ALL HONESTLY! Fudging the truth with one these coaches noe wrecks your credibility in that college coach’s circle perhaps forever.
5. Treat every coach equally and exceptionally well! I have found every coach who has walked into our gym this fall for open gym to be highly engaging, professional gentlemen. My policy has been that we treat them all as honored guests and in return I have found many new coaching friends and resources. Hence, whether we have a coach here from a local D3 or one who has flown in from the west coast to watch our high major players, I go out of my way to get to know the coach and let him know I will do whatever I can to help in his recruitment of our players.
As I said, I am not a seasoned veteran with this aspect of the job, but following these guidelines has led me to some great new coaching friends and it has helped my players who are being recruited along the process–and it has gotten some of our OTHER players noticed.
Would love to hear feedback from coaches who have more experience in this area; definitely wont be offended if im off base with any of my ideas.
I am proud to announce that our 6’6″ senior forward Mo Lewis has decided to accept a scholarship to play basketball at the Naval Academy. Mo chose the Naval Academy from amongst a number of terrific offers citing the unique combination of academic, athletic and life opportunities Navy offers. A natural leader and relentless worker, in Mo Lewis I am certain that Navy has added a player who will help them have success on the basketball court and , perhaps more importantly, Navy has added a young man who will represent the Naval Academy and our country with honor.
Congratulations to Mo from myself and our entire program at Milton!
One of the things that has changed over the years is the increase in “organized ball” kids are playing–games with coaches, uniforms, officials, scoreboards and concession stands. In many ways the AAU and grassroots basketball organizations can be helpful to players, but one of the places I think it has definitely hurt kids, ironically, is in the area of competitive spirit.
I say “ironically” because one would think that playing a high volume of games would increase the competitiveness in kids; however, I see the exact opposite. I grew up in an era of pick up games in a park that boasted players such as former NBA players Mark Price, Craig Ehlo, John Bagley, David Jamerson, David Magley and more. Whereas that was certainly a luxury that didn’t exist on most balacktops, the concept was simialr in just about any park one went to back in the 1980′s and 90′s. WIN OR GET OFF THE COURT!
In the park where I played with those players, Valley Vista Park, there would be a 4 game wait most nights, all really good players + the pros. Games were to 11straight (do not have to win by 2) by ‘ones’ so GAME POINT had A REAL SENSE OF URGENCY. Today, kids know that there is always another game, win or lose, and I believe that this scenario has really diminished the competitive drive of even some of the highest level young players.
Now, I realize this is a blanket statement and I also realize there are exceptions to the rule, but as I talk to coaches around the country, im not alone in my thoughts on this issue. I’d like to hear comments from our members at beyondthehardwood.com answering the question: HAS GAME POINT LOST ITS MEANING?
Tomorrow, ABC’s Good Morning America will run a feature story on Zach Hodskins, high school basketball Phenom who has amazingly overcome being born with only half of a left arm to become one of the top 3-point shooters in America.
The feature will air between 7:30 and 9:00 am on GMA then again on the Diane Sawyer Show later tomorrow afternoon. The show will include taped interviews with Zach and Milton Head Coach Matt Kramer, as well as taped footage of Zach on court with his teammates.
It should be an interesting and inspiring piece, and the authors here at beyondthehardwood.com invites all to tune in then join the discussion here.on the network’s blog.
CLICK TO READ DAVID DORSEY’S ARTICLE
Because of the recent success of the book, many readers and new coaches in the network at beyondthehardwood.com have requested supplemental information. Therefore, our site will undergo construction in August and add new features allowing us to share practice and clinic video, practice schedules and portfolio materials, and anything else basketball that the network wants. The goal remains the same: build a network of coaches world wide to share best practice and develop the best leaders.
Mo Lewis, Milton’s 6’6″ highly recruited forward, will finish the final AAU tournament during the summer’s open recruiting period with his Georgia All-Stars team in Orlando Florida. Mo Lewis, older brother of Milton sophomore Chris Lewis, already has offers from several SEC schools and a variety of other high major and mid-majors around the country.
Meanwhile, sharpshooting Milton 6’4″ senior guard is also headed to Orlando with his Vanguard Elite team. Hodskins, who is drawing attention from a variety if D2 and 3 schools seeking his 3-point marksmanship, has recently drawn the attention of several D1 schools including at least one prominent SEC program.
Mo Lewis and Hodskins will be joined in Orlando by rising sophomore Nile Felton, a 6’3″ guard who has high major potemtial, DeQuain Watts, a 6’4″ senior guard who has drawn interest from several D2 & 3 schools, and Jordan Burrow, a lightning quick rising junior point guard with big time athleticism and potential to play at the next level.