Welcome to Interview #53.
I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coach of Western Wyoming Community College, Garett Sherman.
Coach Sherman is the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Western Wyoming Community College and has been involved in coaching college basketball on both the women’s and men’s side for the past ten years.
Coach Sherman’s full bio is at the end of the interview.
Read on. This interview is full of priceless information!
How do you find players for your team? What type of student and athlete do you focus on?
We subscribe to a couple of the top scouting services and they are able to give us a baseline to start with, with players all over the country and internationally. Of course we also have our contacts of high school coaches and AAU coaches in different areas, as well as a few four year schools that will help us with placing players here.
We like to focus on finding good student’s and good athletes. The majority of our players are qualifiers, meaning academically they could get into a four year school. However, athletically they were overlooked or just not happy with the four year schools that did recruit them.
Why do you think athletes should consider a NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association)? What are the benefits of an NJCAA school specifically?
Benefits of going to an NJCAA School
- Playing time- most likely you will play right away because we only have freshmen and sophomores on our roster, whereas at a four year school unless you are a special talent most likely you are going to watch upperclassman play for your first year or two.
- NJCAA D1 schools can give full scholarships… I have had a decent amount of recruits tell me they didn’t know junior colleges could give athletic scholarships.
- NJCAA schools give you an opportunity to get better as a player and get recruited to a higher level than you did out of high school.
What effect does social media have on your recruiting? Can you talk about players who you have either stopped recruiting or become more interested in based on their social media use?
The first thing I do when I hear about a player is check all of their social media and typically 3 or 4 times a year I cross a potential player off of our list because they have pictures of drugs, alcohol or use profanity all over their page.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your roster?
Between academic scholarships and athletic scholarships everything is typically covered for our players including: tuition, housing, meals, and books.
On your current roster, you have 3 players from foreign countries plus the United States. Can you talk about how you recruit international players?
Recruiting international players is something I’ve just recently starting doing. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a few people that help me out with this process and it’s been a great experience. They are really focused on making good grades and have great work ethic.
What advice do you have for international players who want to play at a college in the U.S.?
I would tell them to make a highlight tape and email it out to college coaches. I know I look at each one I get sent whether it’s an international player or not.
What does the offseason, fall season and summer look like for a NJCAA basketball player?
Our offseason is a combination of weight training/conditioning, individual workouts/and free play.
During the season we obviously practice 6-7 days a week as well as individual workouts and weight training.
During the summer our players go home but are given a weight training/conditioning program to follow as well as individual workouts.
How do you help players transition to a four year college? When looking at a 2 year school, what are some questions student athletes should ask about the help they will receive to get into a four year school and to continue playing?
I think there are a handful of factors that help players transition onto a four year college:
- Play on a successful team.
- Be a contributor to that team.
- Understand what your strengths are and what level play you are best suited for.
- Player development- we do individual workouts 3 days a week but most players that move on or get more scholarship offers put an extra 2-3 days in on their own.
- We play in preseason jamboree’s which allow our players to be seen by a lot of four year coaches at one time.
- We invite four year coaches to our practices, workouts, games…
- In addition throughout the year we will email highlight links of our players to four year schools.
- We also have 4 year schools that have recruited our players in the past and we keep in close contact with them about current players.
What are some myths or misconceptions about junior colleges?
The biggest misconception I come across for our program in particular is parents or student athletes think junior colleges are where players go that don’t have good grades or test scores. When in fact our team GPA is a 3.4 and most of our players have high SAT or ACT scores. We may take a few players each year that have D1 offers but need to be better academically but that is not the majority of our players.
You have coached for a decade at junior colleges and have been quite successful at more than one school. What do you enjoy about coaching at junior colleges?
I just enjoy coaching basketball period. As far as junior colleges go, some players come in with a chip on their shoulder because they were passed up on by a four year school. They feel they have something to prove and I enjoy coaching players like that.
Can you share a creed, quote or philosophy you try to instill into your athletes?
“Nothing worth having comes easy.” In today’s society we live in a world where we can get everything quick… for example the internet or social media has news as it is actually happening… people don’t call people anymore or even bother to leave a voice message that simply takes too long… it’s easier to send a text message… Success does not work like that… every single road you try to take to be successful has to pass through hard work boulevard at some point… The sooner you figure that out the better off your going to be on and off the court.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or basketball players in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?
The best advice I can give high school athletes is the same advice I give my players as they are being recruited to a four year school and that is “go to a college that wants you, because that school will take good care of you.” If you have a school that has offered you a scholarship early and you feel good about that school, don’t wait around and think something better is going to come along. A bigger school may come around later and offer you but that is most likely only because they missed out on signing someone else.
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During his time on the collegiate level he has coached 3 teams that made the National Tournament, recruited 9 All Americans and has sent players onto a variety of D1 and D2 four year schools.
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