20 questions every athlete should ask a prospective coach

For the last couple of years, as we get ready to go on the road to recruit and evaluate student-athletes across the country, I like to put together what I call my annual recruiting manifesto. To help young people filter through everything that’s thrown at them during an especially exciting but difficult time in their lives, I like to bust myths they will hear on the recruiting trail.

New NCAA rules no longer limit the number of calls and texts student-athletes can receive, so they are now being barraged with calls from coaches “selling their program.” These athletes have to be ready when these calls and texts occur. This is their time to gather information.

Any recruit-able student-athlete, especially a high-level prospect, has to understand that this is a business decision, not an emotional one. Their future is at stake. The only way they can make a business decision is to be truly thorough in their approach. The more information they have that pertains to them and their situation, the better. Don’t let anybody convince you that it doesn’t matter where you go or who you play for. That’s just not true.

Having said that, I have formulated 20 questions that I would recommend any player, especially an elite-level athlete, ask a coach or a program so that he can gather the information to make a good business decision. At the end of the day, it’s about their personal development, not the program’s. Their success drives the program.

Keep in mind, every answer a coach gives from this list should be from the last five years or so. What happened 10 or more years ago is irrelevant.

  1. Does your program offer multi-year (four-year) scholarships?
  2. How many players have graduated from your program over the last four to five years?
  3. How many players have graduated from your school and gone on to the NBA?
  4. How many players have come back to finish school after they have left to pursue other dreams? Who pays for it?
  5. How many of your players were insured through the disability program last season? If none were, why not?
  6. What is your team grade-point average?
  7. Where does your Academic Progress Rate retention rank among other schools?
  8. What type of media training do you offer?
  9. What kind of social media training program do you have in place? What are your social media policies?
  10. How many double-figure scorers have you averaged in the last four to five years? If you only have one or two a year, what does that mean for me?
  11. Have you ever coached anyone like me? If so, who?
  12. How many McDonald’s All-Americans have you coached? How many of them went on to the NBA?
  13. How have your teams fared with three or four McDonald’s All-Americans on the same team?
  14. How many freshmen have you started within the last four to five years?
  15. How many draft picks have you had over the last five years? How many drafted were not McDonald’s All-Americans? How many of the total were first-rounders and were any of them No. 1 draft picks during that time?
  16. How many of those players have gone on to make the NBA All-Rookie team?
  17. How many games will my family be able to watch on national television?
  18. How many of your home games are sold out? How many of your road games are sold out?
  19. How have you done in postseason play? Any Final Fours?
  20. What is your core philosophy?