The Ridgefield (Conn.) native and Yorktown (N.Y.) graduate has worked extensively for the ESPN family of networks as well as MSG Varsity in the tri-state region as a high school lacrosse analyst. He’s added college football sideline reporting to his skill set and truly has a phenomenal perspective on the evolution of lacrosse recruiting. Just as I am, Paul is a football recruiting junkie, seeing the similarities in the two sports when it comes to the timeline, schools recruiting other programs’ commitments and other topics.Wearing many hats, several years ago he co-founded Maverik Showtime Recruiting Spotlight with former Orange teammates Joe Ceglia and Mike Springer to form arguably the most sought after recruiting event of the summer. In addition, he spearheads No Limit Lacrosse Camps and also pitches in at Maverik/Cascade.
In the days following our talk on SiriusXM’s ‘The Lacrosse Show’, I nailed down Carc for a lengthy interview, hitting all sorts of areas regarding the changes in the sport. Thanks to Paul for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with RR – we hope to have him back for a few more features going forward!
Here are some highlights:
What are your thoughts on early recruiting? How would you say that has changed the high school game?
It makes me pretty upset how much early recruiting has changed and I would imagine that it’s extremely challenging to be a high school coach- you have to manage that kid’s ego for three or four years.
One of the worst things in early recruiting is the lack of emphasis on high school lacrosse in the spring. I look back to my career in the early 90’s and would say that high school lacrosse was one of the best experiences of my life. The camaraderie and desire to win with my best friends was something that you just can’t replicate. Club lacrosse certainly offers positives but there’s a lack of focus on the high school game. I feel for some of these coaches.
What are your thoughts about the trend of coaches pursuing other schools’ commits?
I’m totally fine with it – it’s within the NCAA rules. With kids committing at a young age, their priorities academically, athletically and socially can change and it’s important for student-athletes to hear from other coaches and what they have to offer at their institution. A coach should be given the opportunity to evaluate athletes for multiple years and if he feels that his institution can provide a player with outstanding academic and athletic opportunities, that player should be able to hear what those coaches have to say.
When a ninth grader commits, there could be a lot of dynamics that change for the kid. The outlook for the position that he was recruited to play might change with the late bloomers and late recruits. You recruit kids that early and you really have to understand that you’re recruiting him on a long term projection not for the short term. There’s a lot of uncertainty.
Do you think that the process is too uptight from a kid’s perspective?
I think a lot has to do with the kid’s support system – who his parents are, what message they’re sending him or that his coaches are sending him. My parents were supportive in their sons following our passions but the game has drastically changed. Younger and younger kids are put under a spotlight but to be honest, you have to deal with pressure in all aspects of life. You’ll deal with pressure if you love lacrosse enough to win a state title, to win a national title – it’s going to be there regardless. Kids need to have the support system and the coping mechanisms to deal with it. If you play the game because you want to get recruited and play college lacrosse and it’s not really in your inner drive, you shouldn’t be playing. If you play the game with passion and because you love the sport then you know you should be playing lacrosse at the highest level.
What are some of the words of advice you have for kids who commit as freshmen or sophomores between the time of their verbal and when they hit campus?
One thing that I feel adamant about is that you can never fault a kid for committing early. If you have the opportunity to go to a top academic school with awesome athletics, how can you fault a kid for doing that? Don’t commit for the sake of committing, make sure the school matches who you are as a person and player – academically, socially and athletically. Understand that a player behind you wants your spot and there is a player in front of you that is better than you already. Be the best player you can be individually and be the best teammate to put yourself in the position to win championships in high school or play as a college freshman. Make sure your high school team is better because you’re a part of it.
Where do you see recruiting a year from now? What about five years from now?
I don’t think a year from now we’ll see much of a change, however in five years from now the majority of coaches will be recruiting through verbals. The other thing I see happening is a slower process in recruiting, you’ll see kids making a decision later as a result. Why recruit a kid as a ninth grader when he may flip? I think that coaches are gonna hold spots keeping in mind the opportunities for flips.
Why did you, Ceglia and Springer start Maverik Showtime a few years ago?
The five-year plan was to be projected as an event that attracts the best players in the country. We wanted to give early exposure to rising juniors and in our first year, no players in that class were committed so it’s crazy how much the climate and culture have completely changed. With that said, we’re not going to change our ages or philosophy. It’s not just a so-called ‘recruiting event’ – we have a ton of committed kids there that simply want to play against the best as well as uncommitted players who want to be seen by all of the best Division I schools in the country.
As an uncommitted prospect, you have the best opportunity to show well against the nation’s best committed players. That shows where you are as a player without a doubt. Also, we haven’t opened the camp up to rising 9th graders as other events have. The climate of the game will change and we’ll weather the storm!