Former PAC 12 Coach Talks Recruiting
Updated: Dec 11, 2018
College Athlete Advantage had a chance to talk with Josh Garcia @joshgar. Josh recruited at a Pac 12 school (Arizona) and also spent time recruiting at two different junior colleges in Arizona. He is now the head coach at Brophy Prep which is located in Phoenix, Arizona.
University of Arizona - 2012, 2013 and 2015
Yavapai - 2014
South Mountain -2016, 2017
Current Head Coach at Brophy Prep
1) What did a player's GPA mean to you?
I paid a lot of attention to a player's GPA even at the junior college level. If a player had a high GPA, it meant more opportunities for academic money. At Yavapai, if they had higher than a 3.5 they could test into honors classes and get a tuition wavier. At South Mountain, if they were higher than a 3.5 they'd get the majority of their tuition covered. The more academic money, the less athletic money we had to give them. It worked out for both sides.
Low GPA players with a lot of talent were also an attraction, but I always questioned why they had poor grades. If there's a learning disability involved, then I'd be sensitive to that. But, if they didn't have any known disabilities, then it turned into an effort thing. Right away that's a red flag. If they struggled to stay eligible in high school, then that same player was going to have the same issues when he got to college. At the JC level, I always recruited on the basis that they were coming to JC to eventually leave to a better place. I couldn't say that to bad high school student because without the academic side taken care of, we couldn't get him to a better place.
Once you get to college, coaches shouldn't have to coach effort. Bad students without learning disabilities constantly need their effort coached and coaches can find plenty of other options where they don't have to do that.
2) Looking back, what was something that you undervalued when looking at a recruit? Overvalued?
I felt I undervalued the culture kids came from. I recruited their talent without looking deeper into the environment they were in. For example, there would be a really talented player that I felt could help our program, but he came from a bad HS program that didn't teach the kids any accountability or put a high value on work ethic. So once they kid came to college and coaches are telling him to get in the weight room, give his best effort etc... it's foreign to him and he's already 18 years old. You have to help that kid change his daily habits because he doesn't know any better. On the other hand, you recruit a kid from a winning high school program that demands their kid's best, he fits right into the college baseball culture. I would take a second tier kid from a top program than a talented kid from a losing program.
3) Did you put more stock into what his high school coach or club coach said
I 100% trusted the high school coaches more. HS coaches see that kid 5 days a week, they interact with all their teachers throughout the day, I felt like they knew who that kid truly was. Club coaches saw that kid on the weekends, never yelled at him or saw his reaction to criticism, so I never felt they had as good as of an idea on character as the high school coach.
4) What were some of the questions you asked his questions to get more background on a player?
I would ask about their group of friends. I'm a strong believer that you're the average of the 5 people you're around the most. Good players surround themselves by other good players.
I'd ask about their favorite coaches and why they were their favorite. The best answers were "they push me to get better" or "they always tell me the truth". I liked to see if they wanted to be coached - someone who's going to get them better. Or, if they wanted a friend, just someone who's gonna be nice to them and stroke their ego.
I'd ask what would they be doing if they didn't play baseball.I'd ask what they liked to do in the off season.
5) Did you over-recruit? Why or why not?
I usually always over-recruited, mainly because I thought if they were good players then other people (d1 or MLB) were going to want them also. If they had a good skill set and had a good spring they might not show up to JC. If they had a good skill set and had a bad spring I wanted the comfort of having another quality player to come in with them in case Player A couldn't perform at that level yet.
6) When a player came on a visit with his family, what was the biggest thing they could do to turn you off? Impress you?
One of the best visits I ever had was Keegan McCarville. He came with both his parents. Throughout the visit Keegan spoke for himself, asked his own questions, but most of all respected his parents the entire time. His mom started asking "mom" type questions. A lot of 17 year-old boys would start rolling their eyes or tell their mom to stop asking questions, Keegan just smiled and nodded his head in a way knowing his mom was just being his mom but never disrespected her.
On the other hand, I couldn't stand when kids would disrespect their parents in front of me. It happens A LOT more than people would think. Parents tend to embarrass their kids with their questions, but coaches understand they are just being a parent and most of the time they are not knowledgeable on recruiting , so those questions can come across as "dumb".
During visits I would do my best to get to know the family as much as possible while them getting to know me. I think the visit is so important when it comes to trusting each other. What makes it a little hard is when a parent takes the "its his decision, I'm not saying anything" approach. A lot of times I wanted to hear what the parents had to say so I knew what type of person raised their son that we were about to invest money in. So if a parent has a good personality, its best they show it because that's who their kids is around the most. It also helps both sides ask "real" questions and not surface level stuff.
A HUGE turn off for me is when a parent starts giving the coaches their evaluation of their son. Of course you think you son is great, its your son! Trust that the coaches have done their evaluation on your son and be a parent not a coach/scout.
7) How often did your recruit a player from one of your camps?
At Arizona we tried to offer one kid each camp, it was usually a preferred walk on spot, but it brought value to the camps and challenged the coaches to evaluate during the camps and not just go through the motions and collect a check at the end.
8) If you were recruiting today, how much stock would you put into 3rd party rankings like Perfect Game or PBR?
At Yavapai I relied on 3rd party sources to get names, not being in Phoenix made it hard to get out and see as many players as possible, so tried to stay in the loop using other sources. At South I don't think I ever looked at PG or PBR, I was seeing enough players each week I had my on my own rankings.
9) How much did you weigh current success versus future projection when recruiting a player?
I always leaned more toward current success because I wanted to recruit players that were going to make an impact right away. If they are a strike thrower in high school, chances are they are going to be a strike throwing in college. Same with hitters, guys that always find barrel will find barrel in college. There's a lot of development that's involved, but the players that were ready to play from day 1 ended up helping the program more on a consistent basis.
10) When offering a scholarship, did you offer on what the player was worth or what you could get him for? ( In terms of baseball scholarship)
I always tried to set a value on certain positions:
Speed/Raw Athletic types
I felt we had to get the pitchers we need and had to spend what we needed to spend to get them, next was the catching position then so on... Didn't like to spend money on outfielders, especially Right/Right outfielders unless they were going to hit in the 3/4 hole. I guess I'd lean more toward what the player was worth, never liked to lose a player we needed because of an offer, but we're all limited in scholarship money.
For more information about the College Athlete Advantage Recruiting Program please call Mike Orchard @ 407-489-7509 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.