Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sidelined: A Peripheral View of the College Recruiting Process

Part 2

My sister in her high school days. 
The fall of Nicole's junior year, she came down to LA for a visit, as she usually did around her birthday. One morning, she came with me to workout in my school's gym. My students watched her shoot as I rebounded. She shot, worked on dribbling, step-backs, and shooting from range. My students watched as she put in work, just like she did on so many mornings before school when she was at home.

Nicole was excited going into her junior year of high school. She had played well under the new head coach her high school hired and had shot well that summer with her club team despite limited minutes.

But it was starting to get hard in terms of recruiting. Girls in her class were getting looks from D1 schools. She dreamed of going PAC 12, but she wasn't getting any taller, and she wasn't putting up consistent numbers on her high school or club teams. She was drawing the attention from some schools after hot shooting at the Boo Williams showcase, but playing in front of coaches and recruiters means schools see you; it doesn't mean offers come, and Nicole was still holding onto PAC 12 dreams.

Nicole: sidelined. 
This was the point when I actually first started writing this blog. I hoped to write, in real-time, about my niece's recruitment journey, but then, she finally had an MRI on a knee that had been diagnosed as patella tendonitis years before. The results shocked us all. Nicole had been playing on a partially torn Patella tendon. Doctors said it wouldn't get better unless she stayed off of it, or possibly after surgery. This season-ending diagnosis hurt, not just because Nicole wouldn't get to show what she could do that season, but it was reminiscent of my sister's high school journey.
Western Oregon NAIA Champs!

When I was in middle school, my sister was a dominant high school athlete. Like Nicole, she made the varsity basketball team as a freshman, but she also played volleyball and track. Until she developed a stress fracture in her foot. That stress fracture benched my sister during her crucial junior year too, and kept her from playing volleyball or running track. She was forced to the sideline. In that time, she dreamed of moving to Portland for her senior season, so she could get more exposure than our small town provided, but, she stayed home, had a decent senior season, and made her way to Western Oregon to play basketball and win an NAIA Championship.

But my sister had bigger hopes for Nicole. And despite the injury, Nicole couldn't wait to get back on the court. We were all waiting, but now we were all sidelined and left hoping this injury wouldn't mean the end of Nicole's college-playing dreams.
Westview seniors see off Nicole on senior night. 

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