Hi folks this is another one of those posts that I got carried away with. It started with a question that was posed over on Egriz, that as I started to write a response to, I thought it would actually make a good topic. Once it became a topic for my blog it took on a life of its own, as a lot of my posts can. It was meant to be one post, but I am not sure it is all that digestible in one post I am going to make it a two parter, this first post deals with how one gets in a recruiting data base like at scouts or Rivals. The second part will deal more with the ratings the sites give them. It is not a perfect separation, but I hope it works.
One of the more common questions that come up after a player signs or commits to a program is; “what is his rating by the internet recruiting sites”. A lot of weight is commonly given to, what these experts think of a player. Often times even more weight than that of a programs own coach. Here is something to remember though, if one of these experts is wrong about players he will still most likely keep his job if a coach is wrong about his player evaluation he loses his job, and he/she most likely would not have gotten the job in the first place.
Should we though put a lot of weight in the evaluations of these experts? The answer is yes, but you have to take their evaluation with a hefty grain of salt. This is especially true when you are talking about the Big Sky level recruit. Here are some things you might consider when you look at a rating given to a player who committed/signed to a Big Sky school.
How does someone get in a recruiting Data Base?
Typically, a recruiting expert from a site needs to see a kid to put him in their data base. That kid needs to make enough of an impression that the expert jots down some information on them. Greg Hicks from Scout.com, who is responsible for 80% or so of west coast players on its data base, has told me on many occasions that he will only put players on the list that he has seen personally. Given that he his based in California, you will find their data bases very heavy in California players but light elsewhere. I had a friend who ran a couple Rivals.com sites and I usually could get him to list a Montana player if I asked (as long as I did not get greedy) but he has moved on to other ventures and now it is very difficult to get them listed. West Coast Hoops is a little easier to get a player listed, but they are relatively new and we will have to see about how they develop. ESPN is a little bit of a mystery, I know they are associated with Scout.com, but they seem to their own unique content at times and other times simply regurgitated info from scout.com.
In short it is getting more and more difficult to get in to the data bases if you live outside of a major city. Attending AAU tourneys can help you get some attention, but you still have to hope that one of handful of “recruiting analysts” makes it to your tourney and then actually decide to check out a game you are playing in.
How do they rate a player?
OK this is definitely a,” we have to see you to rate you”…. Or at least I hope. Still though, you will notice at times, players who may have made the lists through word of mouth rather than actually being scouted. With ESPN any player with a 40 rating (they do not give out anything less than 40) you are pretty much looking at a player who has been added to their data base though word of mouth or limited information. On Scout if you see a “no star” prospect it is pretty much the same thing.
Rivals has a big advantage, in this regard, because they have so many state and regional prep sites who can get out and scout players, and add players to their data bases. The down side to this is that the ratings are not all that consistent. At times what Rival’s head recruiting analyst thinks a 3 star athlete may be , and what the Oregon Prep thinks a 3 star prospect might not be the same and then the guy at New York Prep site could be totally different. You will even find on some Rivals prep sites where they will give a kid an additional “state rating”. So a site may give a player a 4 star “State Rating” and then a 2 star “national rating”. My friend at rivals for that reason refused to give any rankings on players he added, leaving it up other.
In all it is very difficult for these recruiting services to get out and cover the entire United States to rate players. These services have at most 5-6 analysts to do the job. Each of the 320+ D-1 programs has 3-4 coaches doing the same job. Another thing you must keep in mind is that while there are over 1200 players that are recruitable prospects, you will find that these recruiting services will focus most of their energy on top 100-200 or so national prospects. Big Sky schools rarely get to recruit them.
There are many talented players out there who never get rated, but go on to be big players in college.