news 5 days ago

College basketball coaches don't get a summer vacation

The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla. — Zach Dean The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

July 11--School is out and the season is still months away, but for college basketball coaches the summer months are perhaps the most vital of the year.

"It's a grind," said longtime Embry-Riddle men's head coach Steve Ridder. "We have a motto at home, and it's get up early, get your work done, and then you can play. That's what the summer is like. The entire month of June is camps."

For as long as Ridder has been at the helm -- he's entering his 30th year -- the Eagles have depended on a strong summer season to be the backbone of their recruiting class. For three weeks every June, the ICI Center hosts a dozen camps.

"We have two individual camps per week, and those have grown from 30 campers per session to almost 180," he said. "Then, from a recruiting standpoint, we do two high school team camps where we have over 70 teams come to our ICI center for a week. We work on skill development, play games, and the great thing for us is, with those 70 teams comes 700 players who are in our gym, watching us, listening to our coaching staff. We get that chance to build relationships."

"Sometimes, as much as 80 percent of our roster is made up of high school kids that attend our camps. It's a major recruiting tool for us."

The long summer days appeared to pay off last month, when Ridder announced a signing class of 10 players -- one of the largest he's ever had.

"This is as hard as we've worked in recruiting," he said. "This past year we were hit with a number of injuries, so we wanted to build a much deeper roster."

A deep roster is something Ridder's son, Ryan, has stressed over at Bethune-Cookman.

The Wildcats are set to return nearly everyone from last year's regular season title-winning team, so Ryan Ridder has approached his second summer at the helm a bit differently.

"It's been a little smoother," he said. "Right now we've just signed two players, and we've focused more on getting the guys that are here ready for the winter. We were able to bring 11 guys in for Summer B and work them out. We don't really have the facilities to do (a camp), so we're just focused on the guys on campus and getting them better."

Ridder did say he will spend some time on the road at the end of the month.

"Recruiting is year-round, it's the bloodline for any program," he said. "The next three weeks are evaluation periods, so we're able to go out and be proactive on the 2019-20 recruits. We're constantly evaluating our roster, trying to find the best fits going forward. After next year we're losing five or six guys, so we'll need a bigger class."

ERAU women's head coach Lisa Nuxol-Wilson isn't waiting until the end of the month to hit the road. The fifth-year coach left for Louisville early Tuesday, while two more assistants caught a plane to Chicago.

"There are a ton of events going on," she said. "The one I'm at has 70 courts going at one time. Before we leave, we make a list of players we want to see -- ones that we've heard about or saw last year, or emails that people and coaches send us. I probably get 8-10 emails a day from interested players, coaches or parents."

Nuxol-Wilson said she'll be gone for the rest of the week before the NCAA hits a dead period until the end of the month. Then, the recruiting starts back up, followed by another camp, her fourth of the summer, in August.

"I always chuckle when people ask me what I do during the summer because they think we have nothing going on," she said. "I can break it into three different things: prep for upcoming season, recruiting and camps. And, somewhere in there, I'll try to take a family vacation."

Stetson men's head coach Corey Williams said he'll use the month of August for just that, especially after a jam-packed summer that's included team workouts -- the NCAA allows four hours of skill-related instruction per week for summer school students -- camps, and, of course, recruiting.

"It's a hectic schedule," he said. "We're pretty busy the entire week, and lot of your weekends are also gone because you're doing camps. And then, when you're doing individual camps, your time goes from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. I'll take some time off starting August 1. After this summer, I'm indeed looking forward to that quality time with my family."

___

(c)2018 The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Visit The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla. at www.news-journalonline.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

AdChoices