Saturday, January 23, 2010

Recruiting News!

Every high school basketball player dreams of being noticed by scouts and getting a college scholarship. However, the odds of this are very slim simply because every high school has its own star and there are only so many colleges. However, since each high school has its own star, it is sometimes hard to notice the stars at other high schools. For the average fan, such as myself, I like to use the New England Recruiting Report to see reports on players all over New England. College coaches use this resource for much more as it allows them to decide who deserves these valuable scholarships. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to interview Mr. Adam Finkelstein, the founder and owner of the NERR, and see how this website has become one of the most trusted scouting services in New England.

ZS: First of all, how did you realize that there would be a market for this kind of information in New England? Was this drawn from your coaching experience?

AF: My background was in college coaching with experience at both the division I and III levels and that's when I first had the idea. It wasn't really an original concept, just something that was being done in other parts of the country but not in New England. We subscribed to scouting services from various regions all over the country but didn't have anything to cover New England.

ZS: Also, how can you gather information on all of these athletes? Your group's region covers such a large geographic area.

AF: I'm on the road quite a bit seeing events, games, and players, and when I can't be there in person, I watch a lot of film. While it certainly takes a lot of work to cover all of New England, comparatively speaking my region is fairly manageable. Some scouting services cover entire coast lines or even the entire county. I never wanted to be that big because I wanted to make sure we left no stone unturned in New England. We're in our fourth year now and in that time there hasn't been a single basketball scholarship given to a player coming out of one of the six New England states that we hadn't already profiled.

ZS: On the other side of your business, how do you attract both players and NCAA coaches to your exposure events in such great numbers? Being able to draw the "Elite 75" middle schoolers in New England at the same time is impressive.

AF: Similar to the scouting service we have taken a bit of a "less is more" theory with our events. I run very few events compared to other people in this industry and that's because I want to ensure the quality of what we do. When we ran our first Elite 75 Showcase we made sure we had every one of the top ten players in the region committed before we even announced the event. With the success of that initial showcase it became apparent that we could brand the product and offer it to players at different age brackets. In terms of getting college coaches, there's a direct correlation between the level of talent competing in the event and the number of coaches watching it. If you get the talent, the coaches will come.

ZS: Finally, what do you believe is the future for your service? Surely as the Internet continues to grow, the possibility of a direct competitor entering your arena grows. How will you stay ahead?

AF: Truthfully I'm not exactly sure what the future of our business is. While we obviously value quality over quantity, our business model is fairly diversified with scouting, event management, and even training/instruction. We've grown consistently in all three areas over the years and have room to continue to do so, but the biggest lesson I've learned is that this isn't your typical business and typical rules of business don't always apply. Our particular market is an unpredictable one that is influenced by a number of outside sources and so while long term plans are obviously important we also need to ensure that we're flexible enough to adapt.

Obviously as with any technological business, an adaptation-friendly approach is always a benefit. However, it looks as though the NERR will continue to bring information to college coaches regarding the best athletes New England has to offer. I would like to thank Mr. Finkelstein for this interview, and hope you will check out his website here. Until next time...

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