As coaches across the nation are stuck in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, they now must get creative when recruiting for the upcoming season and beyond.
With no in-person recruiting, coaches are now left calling and video chatting potential recruits and transfers in an effort to recruit them to their schools without taking new visits.
So where does that leave John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program?
They’re now in the process of setting up calls and video conferences with the current roster to discuss draft decisions, 2020 signees about preparing for next season, and the coaches about filling out the 2020-21 roster.
“No travel. Making phone calls, Skype calls,” the UK head coach said in a Facebook Live video stream Monday evening. “You may wanna know what I’ve done, we did a Zoom call with last year’s team. We talked to them and gave them what we knew at that point. I’ve had two Zoom calls with the incoming players and a couple of the guys on our team that will be returning.
“We call every day as a staff, usually it’s two times a day. We’ll call once in the morning, once in the afternoon. Talk about what’s out there, what we’re hearing, anything new on our guys.”
And how do they plan on adding to close out next year’s roster? As we’ve been seeing with recent news of Kentucky establishing contact with high-profile graduate transfers, the coaching staff is searching for the next Nate Sestina or Reid Travis to come to Lexington.
“Now, with recruiting going forward, now you’re looking at, okay, who’s transferring?” Calipari said. “Can we find another Nate (Sestina)? Another Reid (Travis)? Add to what we have.”
Oddly enough, Calipari addressed the school’s interest in finding another graduate transfer just a few hours after reaching out to Purdue center Matt Haarms, a 7-foot-3, 250-pound big man native of Amsterdam.
Last season at Purdue, the talented transfer prospect averaged 8.6 points on 52.4% shooting, to go with 4.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks a game just a year after averaging 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Per 40 minutes, Haarms averaged 16.7 points (52.4% FG, 63.4% FT), 8.9 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per contest last year.
Coincidence? I think not.