by Shelby Hodges
According to NCAA rules, college coaches are allowed to evaluate players only during specific times of the year, and the month of July is one of those times. These regulations don’t allow college coaches many opportunities to see players live, versus a highlight reel or game film, which makes these weekends very important in the recruiting process.
These live periods also are important for the players, who can make a name for themselves in front of the hundreds of coaches who show up to watch. During last weekend’s Great American Shootout, we had a chance to talk to Lamar University assistant coach, Brian Burton, about what exactly coaches look for in July.
“Every program is different, so we are definitely looking for things that fit our program and style,” Burton said. “But I think all coaches are looking for certain intangibles. You want to know how they handle adversity, what kind of teammate are they, and how important winning is to them versus statistics.”
Burton mentioned competitiveness as being a major necessity for any player.
“Sometimes we see guys who play hard when things are going their way, but then when they aren’t, they stop,” he said. “So we want to know is it about winning or just about you playing well?”
For Burton and the Lamar program, selfishness is a big negative. They want players who care more about the team’s success than their own performance.
“If somebody makes a dunk everyone will notice,” Burton said. “But we want to see how productive a guy is and how they impact winning.”
They also look for a high basketball IQ in players, not necessarily just athleticism and ability.
“A feel for how to play is probably an underrated quality,” Burton said. “It’s one thing to have talent but it’s another to understand how to play the game, because that makes our jobs easier.”
Burton said off-the-court actions are also just as important to most coaches. He said he looks at how players act on the bench as well as on social media.
“Twitter can be a big flag because that’s where you can find what somebody is really about,” Burton said. “And on the bench, their body language is a big tell into how good of a teammate they are going to be.”
Burton and other coaches are not always looking for the star, but instead well-rounded players who are going to compete on every play. Players should know that attitude, coachability and teamwork are just as important qualities as points-per-game and highlight-worthy plays.