Recruiting 101: The role parents play in the recruiting process

Georgia State men’s Basketball head coach Rob Lanier's core values for his program are humility, respect, and responsibility. Photo Submitted by GSU Athletics

Rob Lanier, head coach for Georgia State’s men’s basketball team, always looks for three unique things within recruits to ensure a proper fit. 

“We talk a lot in our program about our core values,” Lanier said. “And those three things are humility, respect and responsibility. So, we look for those things in the young people that we recruit.”

But coaches also tend to look deeper. Many recruits don’t realize how issues away from the court or field affect a coach’s decision to enter their program.  

“We try not to jump to conclusions,” Lanier said. “[But] at the same time, when there is a sturdy foundation, there’s a pretty good correlation that those young people are going to have the qualities we want, but we still got to do our homework.”

But just because recruits come from a healthy and stable background doesn’t necessarily mean that they will carry those qualities into the next steps of their life.

“A lot of times kids come from great households, and a lot of foundational things are there,” Lanier said. “But it doesn’t mean they’re going to be hard workers [or that] they’re going to be humble. So, you really have to get to know people case by case.”

More often than not, the parents of recruits have started to be a surprising focus for many college coaches.

“I do have situations where I’ve stopped recruiting a kid because of the way they comport themselves on social media or the way the parent does,” Lanier said. “I’ve seen situations where a parent is so loud and boisterous in the stands and yelling and not allowing the kid to have his own journey. I’ve been turned off by that.”

Lanier is also a parent whose child participates in college sports and has been through the recruitment process.

Emory, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard, plays for the Davidson College Wildcats. 

But the recruiting process can be a bit different for someone already familiar with the business. Lanier knew what to do as the time came for his son to have his moment.

“I let Emory and my wife do most of the communication with the college coaches because I didn’t want it to be about me,” Lanier said. “I’ve been in the profession for so long, [and] I felt like I could get in the way of Emory’s ability to express himself.”

However, Lanier emphasizes the importance of having fun with the process for parents who are unfamiliar with it and remember that the child being evaluated is the only one who is experiencing it all.

“I think parents should be engaged and should get to know the people that they’re going to entrust their child to,” Lanier said. “[But] at the same time, try to empower the young person to make their own decisions.”

Parents need to remember that inspiring their kids to make their own thoughtful choices is an essential part of their growth, and the recruitment process can be a great place to start.

“[The recruiting process] is a great opportunity for parents to empower their kids to be their own person and make their own decisions,” Lanier said. “The decision should not be about the parents and what they want.”