Coach James Cosgrove of Trinity Men’s Basketball is here to offer essential recruiting advice. It is important to see what college coaches are saying about the recruiting process so you can maximize your potential and which allows you to stay on track. Coach Cosgrove is entering his 8th season at Trinity College and is coming off a successful 2017-2018 campaign with a record of 16-10 while reaching their 4th straight NESCAC semifinals. In the 2014-2015 season, Cosgrove led his team all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA D3 Tournament.
When LRT Sports asked coach Cosgrove what is the most important quality he wants to see in a recruit, he explained how attitude, mental toughness, and competitiveness are key for him. He mentioned that these qualities come before talent. Cosgrove also commented on the importance of having high school coaches contact the college coach. It is good to hear first-hand from another coach because it can help shed some insight on important qualities that the school and program are looking for.
Incoming first-year students often think they will be able to compete/play right away. Sometimes it is a shock for them to see how much tougher the collegiate level can be. When asked what the expectations of incoming players in the classroom, weight room, and on the court, Cosgrove said, “My expectations are that they are ready to compete with the veterans in all of those areas, especially if they are thinking about playing as a freshman.” Yes, first-year students can play, but it is important to be prepared for all the challenges and obstacles.
Coach Cosgrove also explained how he monitors his recruits during the entire game and not just during the run of play. He watches the recruit’s body language on the bench and on the court. He also is looking for how a player performs under pressure and how much he competes. He wants to see how the player handles himself when interacting with teammates an the referees, and whether he is coachable. All of these are important to take note of, as bad sportsmanship and body language can turn coaches’ heads in the wrong direction!
The best advice James Cosgrove offers to recruits is to, “Work hard at ALL times, be coachable.” Effort is something everybody can control. Practice hard, play hard, and study hard. It is essential to put yourself in a position to be successful with the work you have done. College coaches watch a lot of highlight tapes, which is a way for players to showcase their talent. When asked, “What really jumps out to you when you are reviewing a recruit’s highlight tape?”, Coach Cosgrove responded by saying, “How hard they play, how hard they play defense and their quickness level.” The recurring theme of how hard a player plays is a show-tell sign of a recruit’s passion for the game and will to win. Higher levels of basketball also brings new levels of athleticism, so quickness is also an important skill.
Though highlight tapes are popular, coaches often like to see game tapes more as they are able to see the player’s complete game and not just their best plays. Coach Cosgrove is in agreeance with this, “I would rather see game tape. Highlight tapes don’t really show everything about a player.” He also explains how highlight or game tapes should be shared mid-season and in the off-season.
Recruits have big dreams. Sometimes those dreams work out and sometimes they do not. Cosgrove was asked to give advice for recruits who get turned down by their dream schools and what the options are if they don’t gain the recruiting attention they desire. He responded with great advice, “You can only go to one school, also you really never know what school is right for you until you get there. Have an open mind when being recruited, and you want to go somewhere where you are wanted!”. Going to a school that wants you is a great feeling and a great accomplishment. Sometimes it is not always your top choice, but remember, the recruiting process is a journey full of ups and downs. It could be the perfect fit for you! Moving onto social media because it is gaining importance in the recruiting world. Make sure you are posting appropriate things, and have your page represent an image that you want to present to college coaches. Coach Cosgrove says when his assistant tells him about a player he likes, he goes on to the internet right away and searches for your highlight tape. Clean up your social media because college coaches will be looking at what you are posting.
Remember to breathe and try to enjoy the process, because only a select few are being recruited to play at the collegiate level.