Utah is the newest Division 1 program in the West, and coming from University of North Carolina, Coach Brian Holman has excellent insights on what it takes for players to find success.
CR: Which High School graduation classes are currently being watched by D1 college coaches?
BH: 2019’s primarily. Lots still unsigned. Some schools looking at 2020’s as well. With the new rules, most are not watching 2021’s. I would say the top 8-10 schools are looking at 21’s if they are done with 19’s, but since you can’t do much with them for another 2 years, the focus is really on 19’s and a little on the 20’s.
CR: Is there value in traveling to play on the East Coast if you are not in that recruiting window?
BH: Yes, absolutely. It’s all about competing. We look for competitive desire and fire. You can compete out West, but let’s be honest, the best teams are back East, and playing them will make you better. The strive should be about “how do you get better”, not “how do you get recruited”. Playing East will make you better, but the desire to go back East should be to get better, not to get recruited. I think that is a fundamental problem with a lot of young players right now. They are too focused on doing something to get recruited, and not focused enough on developing and getting better. If you travel to play the best with the intent of getting better, then you will find that you get recruited if you are good enough. The players we are looking for want to play the best, and for players in the West, that will require some travel.
CR: What’s a good recruiting game plan for players in the West? When should they start attending prospect camps and traveling East to attend recruiting tournaments?
BH: It’s not an easy answer or an easy process. Focus has to come back to developing skills, craft, and your intention for playing lacrosse. Spend time developing your craft. Play other sports, and go play the best players because you want to get better. Find the best competition you can, and prospect camps and tournaments are great for that.
Travel east to camps and tournaments because you want to get better and play the best, not because you want to get recruited. We can’t recruit 9th graders anymore, but it is still important to play the best if you want to be the best. As long as you are doing it because you love it, and want to get better, and it does not preclude you from playing another sport, then the more the better.
CR: What advice do you have for Western players balancing multiple sports, while still traveling to prospect camps and tournaments during the Fall?
BH: The allegiance should lie with your school first. When the dust settles I believe 90% of players end up at the school they should be at. If you have a football game in the Fall, I want you to play in that game first. We can see you a lot of times throughout the year. Be patient and do what works for your other sports.
CR: What characteristics do you look for in players you are Recruiting to Utah?
BH: Utah is looking for character kids first. What type of family is he from? How passionate is he? How badly does he want it? I don’t see that intense desire and passion in too many players. You can feel it when you meet the ones who have it. We also want skilled played who are athletes and who play other sports. A feel for the game, and sports in general is huge for us, and a willingness to play the game as it comes to you. We are looking for toughness. I want people to say two things when they watch Utah play. They are tough, and they are fast. Toughness, skill, passion, IQ are probably the top 4.
CR: Your coached your son Marcus at UNC, and he is one of your assistants at Utah. What advice do you give to fathers coaching their own kid?
BH: Great question. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s a blessing, but hard to separate blood from rational thought. Really enjoy it. Forget about how well he plays, and just enjoy it. It’s such a rare opportunity. Treat him like every other player. Don’t be harder or easier on him. Your obligation is to the team, and the only way to fulfill that is to treat him like every other player.