Citadel Basketball Adapts to New Technology to Aid in International Recruiting

Coach Burke is entering his fourth season as assistant coach of The Citadel basketball team and his tech savvy ways have helped bring in players from around the world.

Coach Burke is entering his fourth season as assistant coach of The Citadel basketball team and his tech savvy ways have helped bring in players from around the world.

In the ever-changing world of college recruiting it is important to stay on the cutting edge of technology that can put you on par with your competition for the top notch recruits.

Citadel assistant basketball coach Rob Burke knows this all too well as he remains on the cusp of the fast-paced recruiting wars with a constant presence on Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Instagram and Vine.

Two years prior to joining The Citadel, Burke recruited the first Greek player to Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC)—James Sakarakis—and used Skype to complete a large part of the process.

“I had no way to contact international players because I couldn’t afford that in my budget at SMC,” explained Burke. “I was friends with a guy at Nike, Gannon Baker, who told me that a good way to make contact was Skype. That allowed me to eventually make my first Skype contact—Stephan Nastic.”

The process recently assisted the technologically savvy Burke in his recruitment of Citadel commitment Tom Koopman. The fourth year assistant has an app on his iPhone that allows him to take Skype calls in his car while he is on the road recruiting basketball players.

“It gives the recruits a chance to read our body language and put a voice with a name, which is critical in this business,” Burke added. “They can get comfortable in talking to us, see reactions that we make to questions they have, rather than just reading into the words that we are saying.”

In the case of Koopman specifically, Burke even had the opportunity to briefly speak to the recruits’ parents to answer any questions that they too may have about The Citadel.

While Burke has a constant presence on social media, Citadel basketball head coach Chuck Driesell has faced a few glitches when utilizing the technologies of Skype. An “old dog” in the recruiting game, Driesell had to turn to the likes of his 16-year-old son Luke for questions that he had in connecting to Koopman.

“This is really a revolutionary process,” said Driesell. “It is both quick and efficient and allowing us to build a relationship is what recruiting is all about.”

As for his initial struggles, Driesell explains it simply by saying “it is more a fear of the unknown, but once Luke walked me through this I became much more familiar. I can definitely see a point that this will not only be beneficial in recruiting international players, but in the United States as well.”Skype Logo

It is almost a certainty that former Citadel coaches J.G. Briggs, C.F. Myers and Hans Kangeter, to name a few, among those that served between 1900 and 1925 would have never imagined that players would come to the Military College of South Carolina because of a conversation on Skype.

-Jon Cole-

Associate Director of Media Relations

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