Official visits crucial to recruiting process

As the November early signing period approaches, about 70 percent of the ESPN 100 has committed. Many prospects made their decisions after unofficial visits and now are planning official visits to have an opportunity to spend more quality time with coaches and players in addition to getting a better feel for where they are going to spend, in some cases, the next four or five years of their young adult lives.

When a committed prospect takes his official visit, the coaching staff is very nervous because a verbal commitment can change from yes to no in a heartbeat if something goes wrong. There are myriad reasons why a prospect could be turned off: A support staff member says something negative or a current player becomes negative about the program or gets into trouble with the law; a committed prospect and his family feel threatened by an uncommitted prospect and his family if on a visit together; a local person on the street is negative about the program, city, school and coaches; a conflict arises with a current student at a party or out in the community; the prospect plays with the team in an open-gym setting and there is selfish play, arguing and bad team chemistry. These are just a few scenarios that can affect a committed prospect.

In most cases college coaching staffs do a great job of thinking through, setting up and planning everything that takes place on an official visit up to the minute. Coaches are constantly checking on the prospect -- and his family if they accompany him. The coaching staff is always reassuring the prospect at every opportunity throughout the visit.

There is a saying in recruiting, especially basketball recruiting, that coaches need to keep in mind: You have to recruit the prospect even harder after he commits.

Coaching staffs know there is always a chance that something could happen and draw negative attention that could put doubt or make a committed prospect change his mind, which results in a recruiting tragedy given the time, effort and money that is put into obtaining a solid verbal commitment. Many coaching staffs are very nervous during these types of official visits but do a good job of not allowing the committed prospect and his family to see them sweat.