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In the News

COVID Slows Northwest College Men's Basketball Recruiting

Posted by: Trapper Athletics — April 14, 2020

By DAVE BONNER Powell Tribune Sports Writer
Courtesy of the Powell Tribune

Two Offers Made by Trapper Coach

Northwest College men’s basketball coach Jay Collins was on a recruiting trip in Houston in March when the dominoes started to fall.

Tournaments canceled. Schools closed. Stay-at-home orders issued. The recruiting trip came to an eerie end with travel restrictions altering airline schedules and emptying airports.

It’s been that kind of bumpy time for Collins and NWC basketball recruiting, just as it is with the spectrum of school and college programs slowed — or outright terminated — under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s so different,” Collins said. “Because of what’s going on with the virus, most programs are in a holding pattern.”

For Collins, that means working the phones and viewing video of potential players. It will be that way until pandemic restrictions are lifted or lightened.

Coming off a first year at NWC when his team logged a 9-21 record, Collins has offered scholarships to a pair of graduating high school seniors — one in Colorado and the other in Wisconsin. Both are guards with good talent, he said. Under junior college rules, Collins can’t release their names until they have signed a letter of intent to enroll.

With NWC closed during the COVID-19 mitigation plan, it’s been more difficult to get required paperwork done, he added.

“Right now with the virus and not being able to have on-campus visits, even D-1 schools are waiting longer than usual. In a normal year, most teams are pretty well filled out before June,” Collins said. “It’s a different timetable this year.”

The international picture is particularly cloudy for recruiting. The first bottleneck is travel restrictions. Many countries have restricted flights in and out. And embassies, that arrange student visas, are also closed. 

“The longer they are closed, the shorter time you have to work with kids. We just don’t know now,” Collins said.

Beyond the record, coach says Trappers’ culture has improved

Northwest College didn’t win as many games as head coach Jay Collins would have liked in his first year, but he and his team were successful in a very important way to his mind.

The culture wasn’t right in the program when he arrived, Collins said.

“I hope I will never be the coach who went 9-21 again,” he said. “But you’ve got to set the tone for the way things are done to represent Northwest College the right way.”

“It was a building year,” he emphasized. “The first thing I needed to do was fix the culture. There was too much straggling in with the earrings on and the hat on backward; too many calls about missed classes and not attending to school work.”

“We lost some kids along the way, but we learned how to do things the right way, Collins added. “In that respect, we were successful.”

His team played hard, the coach said, and was in most games.

“But at the end of the day injuries and dismissals left us too thin,” he said. “We just didn’t have enough horses to complete the race.”