Throughout one of the world’s largest pandemics ever, student-athletes along with coaches are forced to improvise and experience a whole new form of recruiting. Building a bond with a coaching staff might be the most important thing for some recruits but not being able to have face-to-face conversation or visit the school makes this process a lot harder. 2021 prospects were set to play AAU this season in hopes to improve their rating and give them and their families more opportunities to play at the next level.
The new form of recruiting is Zoom meetings from a players living room to a coaches living room over a computer. In some circumstances this benefits those who perhaps can’t find a date to travel and visit a school. Though, it hurts a lot more solely because of the fact they may not be able to see any schools.
Thankfully I was able to talk with James Graham III, rated as a 3 star by rivals.com and holds high major offers/interest. Yesterday he received an offer from Tom Crean and Georgia, to add to his list which includes schools like Missouri, Florida State, Wake Forest, Maryland, and interest from many others.
A player like James Graham may have benefitted from his last season of AAU. Still reeling in offers and gaining more and more interest with plenty of time to go, the NCAA live period would’ve been a benefit for everyone. Any hope of that was shut down on March 13th when the NCAA announced in a statement that in-person recruiting such as visits and watching players play would be paused until a later date. It has yet to resume. Graham played at a top high school in Wisconsin which helps his film.
“They don’t get to see you in live action but they do get to see you against competition that you play in, so once you send them film they get your highlights.” For Graham, his elite high school, playing along side 2020 5 star and Duke commit Jalen Johnson, was a great benefit for him this year. Graham was able to average 21 points a game to go with 7 rebounds which is why he is a name you should remember as his stock will continue to grow entering his senior year.
COVID-19 and the chance for a potential outbreak as these young men depart to college may open an eye about potentially staying closer to home. For the Milwaukee native this isn’t the case, he had to say this about his recruitment; “The biggest thing for me is I just want to make sure that I go to the right college regardless of the circumstances.” With a widespread recruitment, for fans of these schools this will prove to be crucial as he closes in on a commitment.
With James Graham III recruitment still taking off he is being patient but doesn’t mind committing without a visit. “I don’t really mind committing to a school without a visit, because I feel like it’s more fun to take an official visit after you commit.”
Keep your eye out for Graham as he will gain more interest from power programs as time goes on while he, and recruits across the country, adjust to a new world of NCAA recruiting.