Lake Forest‘s head basketball coach, Ken Davis, led his team to the first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in the school’s program history. For the fourth consecutive season, the team qualified for the four-team MWC Tournament. The team’s four-year streak of advancing to the MWC Tournament is the longest in program history. With an impressive 71 victories in Davis’ first five years as head coach, the Foresters are heading in the right direction.
Coach Davis players have also been successful in the classroom. His program has seven Academic All-MWC honors in 2015, as well as 2017. Some of his players have been named to the NABC Honors Court. With-in his tenure, the school has earned the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award twice in the last four seasons.
LRT Sports: What is the most important quality you look for in a recruit?
Coach Davis: Starts with talent level. Can they help make an impact on our team? Next is how they are academically — can they succeed at our school? Lastly how the adults and teammates feel about them. Watch them interact with both.
LRT Sports: What is the best way for a recruit to get on your radar?
Coach Davis: Seeing them play with their club team or high school. Be spoken about on a recruiting list of a person we trust. Individual email from him or a high school coach instead of the mass emails everyone now sends out.
LRT Sports: When should an athlete contact you, what is the best way? (age, grade, time of year, email, phone, or other)
Coach Davis: For us, at the end of their junior year of high school season. Sending us an email works for us.
LRT Sports: What are your expectations for incoming players in the classroom, in the weight room and on the court?
Coach Davis: Since NCAA rules only permit us to do so much out of season, they will spend time with our strength coach when they get to campus. We want them seeing their professors during office hours and taking an active role in academic success. On the court putting in the effort, we expect and doing things necessary to succeed.
LRT Sports: What are the do’s and don’ts of being recruited?
Coach Davis: DO: Make us aware of your spring and summer schedule. Respond to texts and be engaged over the phone. Visit campus if interested. Be honest during the process. DON’TS: Send silly emails about wanting to play for us and winning the National Championship and other claims without even knowing us with mass emails sent to hundreds of schools. Posting every time they visit a campus and taking pictures with every coach to promote their recruiting. Silly stuff on social media.
LRT Sports: What is the best advice you can offer a recruit?
Coach Davis: Be honest with coaches if you are or aren’t interested.
LRT Sports: What really jumps out to you when reviewing a recruit’s highlight tape?
Coach Davis: If it is not more than 3 minutes so I’ll watch it. Have clips of various things they do on both sides of the ball.
LRT Sports: When do you recommend recruits put together and share their highlight reels? Is it best to make their highlight reel during offseason, in the middle of the season or after each game?
Coach Davis: Offseason and maybe one during the season.
LRT Sports: What advice do you have for recruits who get turned down by their dream schools? What are their options if they don’t gain the recruiting attention they desire?
Coach Davis: They’ll get recruited at the level that is generally right for them and make sure they are a priority for that school instead of seeing them once. People will find you if you’re good enough and not get over-promoted by HS or club coaches at a level they can’t succeed.
LRT Sports: How big a factor is social media when recruiting players? What advice do you have for athletes regarding social media?
Coach Davis: I look at every kid’s social media when we recruit them. Be careful.
Edited by Caroline Kurdej
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The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
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