Langara Falcons struggle with athlete recruitment

The COVID-19 pandemic has led Falcons to incorporate sign-up forms and Zoom info-session to garner prospects

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By Amir Khan 

Langara Falcons are struggling to recruit new players due to PACWEST protocols limiting coaches’ scouting access to prospects.

Virginia Watson, the Falcons women’s basketball head coach, said she’s attempting to bolster interest in those thinking of playing at the college level by maintaining constant contact with prospects through emails, until PACWEST gives clearance for confirmed prospects to be able to attend training sessions with coaches.

“Prospects for next year still aren’t allowed in the gym yet,” Watson said.

Currently, Langara College is holding  Zoom info-sessions in March for athletes interested in joining the Langara Falcons women’s basketball team, or the Langara Falcons men’s soccer team.

Coaches have maintained virtual contact with prospects

Watson said that current prospects have anxieties about their post-secondary careers and that she’s been providing them information about the Langara athletics and intramurals department, so that they can “make informed decisions” about where they want to go.

“Obviously the college route is a little bit cheaper than going to university,” Watson said. “That also gives a lot of players the ability to continue playing basketball when maybe if they went directly to university they wouldn’t be allowed to [play].”

Elijah Devison, a former student at Lord Tweedsmuir secondary school in Surrey, joined the Langara Falcons men’s basketball team as a point-guard/shooting guard last November. Devison said usually coaches would contact prospects to recruit them. However, during the pandemic, he said he had to contact Langara’s basketball coach Paul Eberhardt, to join the Falcons team.

“I think we were emailing back and forth for probably about four or five months prior to me actually joining the team,” Devison said. “Just keeping in contact and him letting me know what was going on with the school and all the restrictions and everything.

“And eventually he invited me to come for one of the practices and that’s kind of how it all started.”

Binny Atwal, the women’s basketball team point-guard, said that persistence is key if prospects hope to become a part of a Langara Falcons team.

“It’s a lot harder now than it’s been before because obviously coaches are not … going to watch your games,” she said. “Keep your eyes open, try to contact coaches, our coaches are very willing to let you come in and try out and play ball. The best thing to do is keep trying.”

Coaches and prospects finally have a chance to meet

For next season, Watson is glad to have eight of her current athletes return for the next tentative competitive season. She’s also looking forward to meeting her prospects once PACWEST updates the rules for coaches recruiting.

“Recruiting has been tough this year and I have a few kids who have verbally committed,” Watson said, adding that soon they’ll be able to have them in the gym.

“It will be really nice to see them,” Watson said.

In the slideshow below reporter Amir Khan is speaking to Elijah Devison, Virginia Watson and Binny Atwal about the challenges of recruiting in 2020/2021.  

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