Welcome to Interview #30.
I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coach of Danville Area Community College, Matt Vavro.
How do you find players for your team? What type of student and athlete do you focus on?
I attend AAU/USJN sanctioned events on a regular basis. I continue to meet and network with many coaches in the area and get to as many high school games as possible. I also use recruiting websites as a resource.
Why do you think athletes should consider a NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association)? What are the benefits of an NJCAA school specifically?
Because it allows individuals to improve their skill set while playing at a very high level. It improves exposure for kids looking to play at 4 year schools. It also is a way for kids to stay close to home where their families can come and watch them play.
What can or should high school athletes do from their end to get on your radar screen?
The best way is contact me through email or phone. I get back to anybody who expresses interest in playing for me. They can also fill out a recruiting form on our schools website.
What are some of the things that would keep you from recruiting a player?
Bad attitude, lack of commitment to basketball and their academics, off the court issues. I do my due diligence in speaking to high school and AAU coaches to get a report on prospective student athletes.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your roster?
As a NJCAA Division 2 school, we are not allowed to pay for housing. We do have the capability to pay for athlete’s tuition, books and fees.
What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?
As a coach, it is imperative for me that a player’s parent(s) feel comfortable in knowing their daughter will be in a safe and fun environment. I do my best to answer any questions beforehand and always have an open door policy.
What does the off season, fall season and summer look like for a NJCAA basketball player?
We get started with workouts in the middle of August and the season goes until March. During the off season, I give individual workouts and goals for each player to work on. Conditioning and to keep playing is the key emphasis.
How do academics and athletics fit together? What are the academic challenges? Talk about how players can or are successful in the classroom.
It is all about time management. This is generally the first time a kid has been on their own, so it is a learning experience for them. The challenges are to make sure kids are prepared. Just like basketball, you have to practice/prepare to get better at your craft. We have study tables on a regular basis as a team and the school also has free tutoring which helps tremendously.
How does your school 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 feel one of my best traits as a coach is that I make players better. I love being in the gym and getting in there and working the girls out. There is nothing from a basketball standpoint that we do not work on. The school provides help financially and academically. They should ask about the level they anticipate eventually playing at and how we will get them there.
What are some myths or misconceptions about junior colleges?
Some players/parents think that junior colleges is a downgrade from going to a 4 year school. This definitely is not the case. Junior college basketball is very competitive and provides numerous advantages that some are not aware of.
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?
My best advice would be to get to know the coaches, players and community to see if it is the right fit for you. Going on a visit is a must. Always ask any questions that you and or your parent(s) may have.
Next, take a look at Are Private Colleges Worth Considering?
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