January 5, 2012

Teen B-Ball Recruiter

This teen loved the game so much, he started recruiting players.

Shelby: Every year, more than 600 high school basketball players come to camps like this to showcase their skills in front of college coaches. Their hope? To land an athletic scholarship. But because of strict NCAA rules, coaches cannot talk to these young players. This, is where seventeen-year-old Alex Kline comes in.

“How are you coach?”

“What’s up, dude?”

Shelby: Alex is the founder of The Recruit, a resource for college coaches looking to recruit up-and-coming high school basketball players.

On his site, Alex posts news about the hundreds of athletes he has contact with, like their strengths on the court, what schools they are interested in and which schools they are talking to.

“He tells me who’s, like, interested. He tells people to come watch me, and they come watch me. I was, like, a real under-the-radar player, then I met him.”

Shelby: Alex spends most of his time on the sidelines constantly taking notes, talking to coaches and players and tweeting from his cell phone.

“I always thought my Twitter wouldn’t be this explosive, but now I’m, like, a hundred followers away from 10,000. So, it’s really cool.”

Shelby: Actually, he has more than 14,000 followers now, and Alex has proven himself as a major resource for college coaches.

“He studies the game. He understands it. He listens. He asks a lot of questions. And in that, I think he understands what we’re all trying to do.”

Shelby: It is coaches like Killings who rely on Alex to provide a better understanding of what a player can do. And, it is athletes like 15-year-old Isaiah Briscoe who rely on Alex to promote their talent.

“He talks to the coaches and tells them about me. And I just go and do what I got to do on the court.”

Shelby: Although Isaiah just started his freshman year in high school, he has already received seven basketball scholarship offers from Division I schools. He says his relationship with Alex has a lot to do with his success.

“He makes sure I don’t get in trouble, don’t get big headed from the offers and stuff and just keeps me on top of my game.”

“He’s at a great advantage because he’s the same age as the kids, obviously. He understands what these kids are dreaming of doing — and that’s to get a college basketball scholarship.”

Shelby: So, what are some of the schools that you deal with?

“It ranges anywhere from Oregon State, Washington State, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh, Xavier, Kentucky, Florida, Alabama, Baylor, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth. Schools like that. So, it’s definitely fun.”

Shelby: For many of the players, Alex is a trusted ally in the recruitment process; someone who will look out for them.

“We just have a better relationship than all the other scouts and stuff. Like a big brother, little brother relationship.”

Shelby: It is those relationships and his love for sports that Alex thrives off of. But his passion for basketball is also a means to escape.

“My mother got sick when I was five. It was just a way of coping with it. It was a way of escaping from sad times and everything like that. I consider myself really fortunate despite the loss of my mother.”

Shelby: When Alex was ten-years-old, his mother died from brain cancer. It is a loss that he carries with him to this day; a constant reminder to make the most of life and to help bring joy to others along the way.

What would your mom think of all the work you do now?

“I think she’d be proud. She’d be really proud because she was someone who always wanted to see people smile. So, I think if she saw that I was making other people happy and doing what I like to do then she’d be perfectly fine with that and really supportive.”

Shelby: With high school basketball season just around the corner, Alex is gearing up for another busy semester. But even with all the games, school work, text messages and tweets that are sure to come, he is ready to get to work.

“I’m really just fortunate enough to be doing what I’m doing right now and helping people out, you know. It’s a real blessing.”

Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.


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