Marreese Speights and how he is helping underexposed high school ballers

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

A lot of the current players on the Warriors are philanthropic humanitarians, with Stephen Curry's Nothing But Nets, David Lee's Hoops for St. Jude, Andrew Bogut's charity fund-raisers. That doesn't even mention the rest of what the team does as part of the NBA. Add Marreese Speights to the list.

"That is exactly the genesis of inRecruit: there are more kids than not who never get recruited because they don't go to the right school or live in the right area. You see a lot of it, it really happens in basketball, high school, kids jumping from high school to high school. Why is it happening? It's happening because a group of people feel they would be recruited better or higher at a different high school because of a better team, coach, exposure or what have you."

In a phone interview with Joseph Rocco of inRecruit, essentially the Linkedin of basketball recruiting, he explains how he and Malik Allen came together to form the site that he hopes to bring basketball players from middle schools—because 14-year olds are offered scholarships now—high schools to a single level platform that ties together pure basketball talent, no matter where they live, and who watches the games.

"[Speights] heard about it in a social setting, learned about it at dinner and thought it was a good idea," Rocco said. Keep in mind he was recruited under Billy Donovan and immediately became very supportive and wanted to serve up as a resource. He doesn’t help recruit, necessarily, but he’s there to answer questions for youths and kids who have questions and the recruiting process in general and enjoys every second."

Rocco states that players like Marquise Teague, Kyle Lowry, Speights, Jay Wright (coach of Villanova) are current additions to the process and there are plenty more on the way. The goal of the site is to find connections and the right people to scour every living space in the world, without physically cold-scouting the players. Although professional athletes are integral to the process, it's the coaches that can accelerate the movement necessary to find these "diamond in the rough" players.

"inRecruit is a sports social network that focuses on recruiting, scouting and networking, for those that are in the sports industry. There is a heavy focus on collegiate sports recruiting, like coaches recruiting high school athletes or below. There is also a focus on inRecruit on sports media, journalists, to check with coaches they want to interview and to establish relationships."

Kevin Garnett played at Mauldin High School in South Carolina for the first three years but finding little exposure and the need for scouts as he realized his potential, he decided to transfer to Farragut Career Academy in Chicago. Though there were rumors of a racial fight between himself and others, the decision became much easier when he realized he could escape while also uplifting his status as a potential NBA player. The example is perhaps a bit of a stretch as Garnett eventually became a Hall-of-Famer and a player of his prodigious talents would surface anywhere. But the fact remains there are many players from high schools all over the world that wouldn't make it on scout's radars without legendary performances and pedigree. Seth Curry was a three-star recruit but found his way onto Duke when it was clear Liberty University couldn't showcase his talents as well.

Be it the depth of roster spots or the lack of notoriety in school, inRecruit helps shrink the world of basketball scouting. Why else would college athletes transfer from top schools? When other top recruits come, the older ones are pushed out and this exact circumstance could be found in any school in the world. Luckily for Kyle Wiltjer or Archie Goodwin, other high-profile entities like Gonzaga and the NBA are options. It isn't always as easy as Garnett made it seem by simply transferring to another state. There is a story for everyone and different variables that affect players that, while talented, aren't offered the same chances.

As for overseas? Rocco, a lawyer in his actual job, Malik Allen, the co-founder, and Speights have ventured there as well, having had kids in Canada sign on to the site that was formed in September of 2011 and recently gone up in early June of this year. Everything is still new to Rocco and Allen, two people who are using the input from NCAA lawyers to help them keep their noses clean throughout the beginning stages. The logistics of creating this transparent world, a nature that spreads within itself when we talk about how coaches venture into middle schoolers' homes in an attempt to present them a scholarship four to five years from that moment, are aspects that Rocco wants to lift to the forefront.

Because at the end of the day, the site, co-founded by Rocco and Allen, and very much supported by Speights, allows talent that would otherwise fall into the chasms of the recruiting process fill holes not just in the NBA, but everywhere else in the world.

"You take a kid who doesn't have the right connections on a grassroots level, because of other constraints in his life, and now he can use InRecruit to get the same exposure as everyone else."

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