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Al Woods

President of Woods Recruiting

Professional Basketball In Argentina.  

When I got to West Virginia State College, I realized probably in my first month there that there were opportunities to play basketball after college other than the NBA. Playing basketball overseas was a growing possibility so that thought stuck way in the back of my mind.

The Birth Of Woods Recruiting

Woods Recruiting launched in August of 1989.  I had been back from Argentina about two months and while working out at the west side YMCA in Cleveland, Ohio I came across a young man who was at the opposite end of the basketball court. We struck up a conversation and ended up playing several games of one on one basketball, all of which I won by the way.

Much to my surprise the young man, who stood about 6 feet 7 inches, had just graduated high school. He was big enough to be a college player and I was surprised he had not been recruited by anyone.

His father was also in the YMCA that day and wanted his son to go to college. I said I will see what I can do to help him.

This was an opportunity to give back to someone else so I took full advantage of it.

Within about 10 days or so I was able to get him a tryout at a local community college which had a pretty good basketball program and I had a professional relationship with the head coach.  The coach was very impressed with what he saw an offered the young man an opportunity.

Realizing that I had a way with people, great communication skills, and a passion for basketball, I decided at that moment that I would help high school athletes get into college.

I knew there were other recruiting services around, but I really didn’t pay that much attention to them.  I wanted to focus on what I knew about high school and college athletics and apply that knowledge to develop my own recruiting service exactly how I saw it.

I always felt that because I have firsthand experience as a player competing against some of the most competitive and talented ballplayers, that I could accurately relay my story to student athletes and parents.

From 1989 until about 1997, I was a hustler, meaning that I was at as many summer camps and AAU events as I could possibly attend.

I was all over the state of Ohio and anywhere there was an open gym, I was there.

I was signing up basketball student athletes practically every day and became extremely successful in getting them all recruited and placed in college.

Being from the state of Virginia I know that it is a huge basketball state. It’s all ACC basketball. Living in Cleveland, Ohio I realized that the state was huge when it came to football. My focus and passion was basketball because that’s what I played but I quickly realized that I needed to look into football more seriously and I did.

My Opinion On Student Athletes

It’s a direct validation of a student athlete’s high school athletic career if they can take their talents to the collegiate level.  Those student athletes who don’t reach the college level are viewed as an athletic failure.  

The pressure on student athletes to not be labeled an athletic failure is tremendous.  High school student athletes and parents are frustrated with how confusing recruiting can be.  I have personally seen the anger that boils over with parents of student athletes over the constant confusion and anxiety related to the recruiting process.  

The education that the student athletes will receive will last a lifetime but in the minds of student athletes, their lifetime begins with athletics and it means so much to them right now because the window of athletic competition is so small.

My Opinion On College Coaches

In all my years running Woods Recruiting I have met thousands of college coach.

 All of these coaches have a very challenging responsibility of competition for talent.  Many of these college program do not have with financial resources to recruit student athletes on a daily basis.  There are hundreds of college programs that are not at the division one level that are constantly seeking talented student athletes.  

The real pressure is for college coaches to constantly find talented athletes to help their athletic programs achieve winning success.  The recruiting process, in the eyes of college coaches, is stressful and powerfully competitive.  Many college coaches will publicly say they don’t use recruiting services and even say that they’ve never heard of most recruiting services.  All of what college coaches say about recruiting services is to gain a competitive advantage over another college program.  

What I’ve found in my personal interaction with college coaches is that they are very interested in what you have to say about players.  College coaches are very inquisitive if they realize you have access to a full pipeline of student athletes.  

When I first started Woods Recruiting, it was very challenging to get college coaches to pay attention to what I was doing but times have changed and once you build relationships, the process of getting student athletes in college is relatively easy.

My Philosophy On College Scouts

The college scout can have a direct impact on a student athlete’s athletic and academic future.  The scouts we hire at Woods Recruiting are some of the best trained and educated scouts in the entire industry.  

If you were to talk to the scouts who work at Woods Recruiting privately and individually they will tell you how challenging the process to become a Woods Recruiting scout was for them.  

I don’t mean the process was physically challenging but, more importantly, it was mentally challenging.  It requires a specific strategy to be a college recruiting scout, you just can’t have a casual conversation and expect student athletes and parents to take you seriously.  

Thousands apply for scout positions at Woods Recruiting on a yearly basis and many of these individuals sometimes have a different perspective on what a college scout is.  A huge part of a college scout’s responsibility is to tell the story of a student athlete where it can be presented to college coaches.

I was on the Lee Michaels radio show, talking about of course recruiting and what we do here at Woods Recruiting. Click the link to listen to me being interviewed and let me know what you think. Click Now:http://bit.ly/2bWpM4C

Helping student athletes achieve their dreams of college athletics has been a passion of mine my entire life.

My name is Al Woods. I am the founder and President of Woods Recruiting.  Woods Recruiting started in August of 1989.

I played high school basketball at Bayside high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia in the late 1970s.  I was not recruited out of high school to play basketball and that experience stuck with me for a very long time.

After graduating high school, I moved to Chicago, Illinois to live with my uncle.  My uncle, during this time, was the big deal in the radio business but my passion was basketball.  Less than a week of being in Chicago I was asked to play in a charity basketball game at a radio station against a rival station.

I wore someone else’s jersey, I believe his name was Cleo and I preceded to dominate the game scoring 33 points.  Right after the game the referee approached me and asked me something like what college I attended or who I played college ball for.  

I told the referee that I was just out of high school. He asked me if I was interested in playing in college and I jumped at the chance.

I gave the referee my phone number and within a couple of days I started receiving phone calls from college programs all over the country.  

Somehow, I was in a newsletter written by a guy named Rick Ball. His recruiting newsletter went out to thousands of college coaches across the country.

Within several weeks I probably received over 200 phone calls from colleges and a variety of different schools. Eventually, I settled on a junior college in Kansas.

I tell this story because I did not get to college the traditional way. I eventually ended up at West Virginia State College.  Many of my college teammates also did not arrive at West Virginia State the traditional way.

Even back in those days at West Virginia State, I realized there was a problem with how high school student athletes get connected with college programs.

I also realized that there is a huge disconnect with talented high school athletes.The process going from high school athlete to college athlete is broken.

When I was at West Virginia State, several of my talented teammates and I found that there was a very puzzling road that recruiting took us on. My college basketball experience at West Virginia State left me, in some ways, a stronger man mentally and physically.  Constantly having to compete against superior talent day after day after day helped me to grow into a more complete basketball athlete.

Those who never competed at the college level will never understand the grind that it takes to be a college athlete. 

Being a college athlete is extremely challenging both mentally and physically. I’ve seen athletes who were physically gifted crumble under the mental pressure of day to day college athletics.

I have great respect for all athletes, male or female, who competed at the college level and survived.

My athletic experience helped me to have a greater understanding of what student athletes go through throughout the college recruiting process.  

There are those who run recruiting services but who have never played at the collegiate level and there’s really no way for them to ever understand the athletic and academic struggle a college student athlete must face.

If you have never walked in the shoes of being a college student athlete, there is absolutely no way you should be running a recruiting service and absolutely no way you would ever understand what student athletes go through in high school and beyond.

Money

Our price point at Woods Recruiting is $500. Some would argue that our price point is too low where many other recruiting services are above $1,000 or even $2,000 or more.

My response to that is congratulations and best of luck to them. My feelings are that I want to work with as many student athletes and families as possible and not make it about the price.

We are all in business to turn a profit. We are all in business to make money. I’m in business to do all of that but my passion is with student athletes first. It has always been that way and will always be that way.

I often think back to when I was in high school and if a recruiting service contacted my father. I know my father would not have paid anything over $1,000 for college recruiting help.

He would have easily and gladly paid $500 for me to receive college recruiting help. I know he would have done it without thinking twice about it. Money is important, turning a profit is important, and growing  Woods Recruiting is extremely important.

I would rather sign up 50 student athletes every month to work with them in helping them achieve their goals and dreams of playing in college. I know exactly what it’s like to go from high school athlete to college athlete and I want to help those student athletes reach their goals and dreams of doing that.

I don’t think you can help people if you’re charging outrageous amounts of money. Only the student athletes who come from parents who have good jobs and strong incomes, who live in the suburbs would be the ones who could afford $3,000 for a recruiting service. To me, it has always been about the student athletes.

My Philosophy On Recruiting Services

Recruiting services are not evil, only if they’re in the hands of dummies.  If done the right way, a college recruiting service can have huge benefits for student athletes.  Some have suggested that recruiting services are not necessary.

I disagree, The reason I say that is because of the thousands of student athletes who are being under-recruited and overlooked by college programs.  I have firsthand experience because I was not recruited out of high school nor were many of my teammates who all were talented enough to play at the next level.  

There’s plenty of blame to go around on why some student athletes do not get recruited or reach the college level.  If ran the right way by the right kind of people, recruiting services can play a critical role in the overall college recruiting success of a student athlete.

My Opinion On AAU Basketball

The problem with AAU basketball is that you have those individuals who are coaching you that don’t know how to coach.  Some guy can put together an AAU club team who has absolutely no experience, only that he loves basketball and pretends to coach a team without any real coaching knowledge.

The players are not being taught the game the right way by coaches who have no clue on how to coach and this is where all the problems develop.

Once the players leave their high school season, where they’ve received proper coaching on the fundamentals of basketball, everything is lost it seems during club season.

I really don’t have a problem if the student athletes are playing 40 or 50 games during a season.  Back in my day, when I was playing ball I would have loved to have played as many games as possible.

Athletics is about getting better and the best way to do that is to play.  I wish that AAU basketball offered more structure from the coaches to the student athletes.  Maybe there could be a situation where these AAU coaches have to attend some kind of coaching training seminar.  Overall, AAU basketball is not a bad thing. Sometimes you have bad people doing awful things when it comes to coaching.

My Philosophy On Our Recruiting Directors And Scouts

I personally train every new scout who joins the Woods Recruiting team.  I have personally been on the front lines of the recruiting process and have millions of hours of training and I share that knowledge and information with those who join our team.

In years past, our Intensive Training Program was 12 weeks long. We shortened it to 5 weeks and more recently we have cut the program down to four weeks with continued training for as long as necessary.

I’m only looking for those individuals who are dedicated to student athletes and their parents in the overall college recruiting process.

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