By Roy & Harv Schmidt
While campus visits are unquestionably important in the recruiting process, history has shown that in-home visits can often prove to be the difference when it comes to getting a player to commit.
Home visits with prospective high school basketball recruits will occur throughout the month of September and often offer a college head coach a final attempt to make his sales pitch to the recruit, his family and significant others.
Unlike campus visits, which are often much more informal, home visits tend to be more personalized in nature. Again, the college coach is trying to sell everything about his basketball program and the university to the recruit and his family. As opposed to campus visits, there is more one-on-one communication during a home visit. Thus, it allows recruits, their parents and anyone else who may be influential in the recruiting process an opportunity to ask pertinent questions centering around why that particular school stands out in comparison with others. How the coach's presentation is received can often dictate whether that school ends up receiving a commitment or whether they end up looking elsewhere.
Anyone looking for an example of how important home visits are should only need to remember how Julian Wright's recruitment went down. Wright committed to the University of Kansas during an in-home visit with head coach Bill Self despite the fact that he never visited the Lawrence, KS campus in any capacity. Furthermore, up until that time it appeared as if Wright's relationship with Kansas was on rocky ground, as he had previously not even mentioned the Jayhawks being among his final three schools. However, within the course of three hours, Self was able to sweep both Wright and his mother Gina off their feet. The result? Self left Wright's home that evening with a commitment in place.
We aren't saying that any college coach is going to visit a recruit's home this month and pull off what Self did three years ago with Wright. However, we are saying that home visits are indeed an important part of the recruiting process, and with that in mind there are a number of them that we will be paying close attention to before the month ends.