Recruiting Evaluation Process: Qualities Coaches Look for in Players & Positions

By Andrew Lacey

Recruiting Evaluation: Andrew Lacey

Coach Andrew Lacey of Richard Bland College shares the qualities he looks for in players and various positions during the recruiting evaluation process.

As a college coach, I often get asked by high school and AAU coaches about how my staff and I evaluate potential recruits. As many of these coaches read this blog, I thought I’d share some insight into our recruiting system to help your players that have goals of competing at the college level. Below are some of the things that we look at during a recruiting evaluation, organized by position and that fit the style of play we teach at Richard Bland. Of course, these aspects are not what every coach uses but hopefully it helps to understand what colleges coaches value in prospects.


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Example Recruiting Evaluation of Potential Prospects

#1 Point Guard – “Floor General”

  1. Great stamina – handles ball 95 percent of the time and defends at least 70 feet and in.
  2. Great communicator – especially between coach and players on the floor.
  3. Caretaker of the ball – high assist to turnover ratio, efficient and smart decision maker.
  4. Great separator – ability to get open as an immediate outlet.
  5. Overall vision – half court and full court, offensive and defensive ends.
  6. Creativity – ability to make a play when needed or when things break down.
  7. Leadership – when things start to snowball, the ability to pull the team back in focus.

#2 Shooting Guard – “Shooter/Scorer”

  1. Runner – must have the desire and ability to run the lane in transition.
  2. Quality shot selection – must have judgment that understands the coach’s approval.
  3. Exceptional 3-point shooter – efficiency, must understand the difference between a shooter and shot maker.
  4. Creator – ability to fake a shot and attack the basket or pull up for a short jumper.
  5. Feed others – must be the best post passer on the team.

#3 Small Forward – “Slasher/Energy Player”

  1. Runner – must have the desire and ability to run the lane in transition.
  2. Open floor player – good open floor vision, ability to create off the dribble.
  3. Rebounder – ability to get to the glass and create in the lane.
  4. 3pt Range – above-average 3-point shooter.
  5. Create second chances – best offensive rebounder on the team.
  6. Defensive force – best pressing/trapping defensive player- both in half and full court.

#4 Stretch Forward – “Big Guard”

  1. Inside-Out – ability to play in the paint and above the key.
  2. Elite Rebounder – crashes the glass on both defensive and offensive ends.
  3. Finisher – ability to score consistently around the basket with various types of shots.
  4. Long range threat – above-average 3-point shooter to spread the defense.
  5. Smart & composed – great passer and decision-maker (takes the ball out in press break).
  6. Two-way defender – can guard on the perimeter or the in post equally well.

#5 Post – “Workhorse”

  1. Toughness – must be toughest defensive player on the team in regards to team defense and helping on dribble drives, willing to take a charge or block a shot when necessary.
  2. Hustler – plays “rim to rim” offensively and defensively, outruns opposing post players.
  3. Elite rebounder – always in a great position to secure boards.
  4. Powerful at the rim – strong finisher inside, dunks as often as possible, gets And 1’s.
  5. Great screener – gets others open especially on ball screens in pick and roll plays.
  6. Outlet passer – finds others quickly to start the break.
  7. Mentally tough – never gives up, blocks shots from behind, does not foul, great understanding of coach’s team defensive concepts. 

So there are the top traits and characteristics of my personal recruiting evaluation process in regards to players and specific positions. Again, these are just some of the things to talk to you players about as you provide feedback on their skills that translate to the college level.

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Andrew Lacey

Head Coach at Richard Bland College of William and Mary
Successful head coach at Richard Bland College of William & Mary in Virginia. Coach Lacey has a proven track record running all aspects of a program. Accomplishing 166 wins coaching at the high school level; with a proven ability in developing basketball programs into playoff caliber teams with an emphasis and focus in preparing student-athletes for college-level competition. Coach Lacey guided Varina HS team to the VHSL Class 5 State Title during the 2018 season, along with the 2019 5B Regional Title and 2018 5B Regional Title. He was named VHSL Class 5 State Coach of the Year. An article of his titled "Using Ball Screens in your Motion Offense" was published in Winning Hoops Magazine in September 2015. Coach Lacey is also the founder of Andrew Lacey Basketball and the host of his on podcast called "It Takes What It Takes."
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