COVID-19 forces New York basketball organization to look for a different way to recruit players

By: Matthew Cataruzolo

Over 100 College seniors from all over the country came together to take part in the Gotham Hoops Men’s College Senior Showcase last year to display their abilities in front of coaches and recruiters from all over the country. This year, the seniors will not have that opportunity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until the virus subsides and restrictions are lifted, recruitment services will have to resort to alternative methods. Gotham Hoops, a basketball event management company specializing in basketball recruitment, has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by considering a switch to an online recruiting method as opposed to traditional recruiting.

“A lot of what we do is built off of live recruiting events, we have coaches from all over the country come to our events, so that for right now is out the door,” Ray Anczelowicz, founder and President of Gotham Hoops said. “Being in New York, a place as bad as anywhere else in the country, complicates it even further because we have a lot of players and personnel that come from out of state, so this has really crippled the whole process,” Anczelowicz said.

Being able to utilize the resources of online recruiting, such as acquiring film, statistics as well as video chats with players are all ways that online recruiting would be feasible.

The traditional recruiting method involves players meeting with coaches and personnel from various programs to showcase their skills in person. Seniors who do not enter the draft, like other college seniors, can choose to attend the events with hopes to catch the attention of a coach. With the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, this takes away those crucial in person experiences.

“It’s still in the really early stages of it right now,” Anczelowicz said. “Just looking at existing companies in that space, it would probably be creating a whole new business plan. Whether it’s a subscription service or an app, we don’t exactly know yet. But it is definitely something we want to look into.”

Websites such as Hudl and CaptianU have been using this method for years, with much success, and Anzczelowicz hopes for the same. These sites set up highlight and video demo reels for athletes to submit without having to do any in person evaluations. With a company that is so event driven, this could look to create some new opportunities amid a national crisis.

“The fact that a lot of these events are something that a lot of recruiters are going to have to adjust to,” Shawn James of Big Apple Sports, another New York based student athlete recruiting service, said. “This situation is forcing us to look into different avenues to help these student athletes, ” James said. “We are currently building a website where college coaches can access these student athletes, it is going to take a lot of work but we are going to make it so the coaches can see the kids profile and videos as we help them at the same time,” James said.

“I’ve known Ray since college, back then his brand was kind of just starting up, but it was great seeing it build up and become what it is today,” Julian Boyd, a professional basketball player who has participated in Gotham Hoops events. “The Gotham Hoops invitational which I played in after coming back from my third ACL tear really helped me get more film that led me to getting a job my first year back,” Boyd said.

Boyd played the 2019 season in China for the Zuhai Wolf Warriors. “We weren’t able to finish the season and now all recruiting going forward is up in the air, I’m not really sure what’s going to happen,” Boyd said.

“Going forward I hope this doesn’t leave too much of a stain,” Mike Guido, play by play commentator for Gotham Hoops, said. “The tournaments are great, and it is a pleasure to do them every year, I expect them to be up and running again on time for next year’s classic,” Guido said.




About Matthew Cataruzolo 3 Articles
I am a student attending Stony Brook University majoring in journalism. My main area of expertise and interest is sports and am planning to manifest that into a career.