RICHMOND, Va. — COVID-19 restrictions are sidelining many organized school sports. It is leaving some players worried about how to grab the attention of recruiters looking to fill their rosters.
That’s where a local nonprofit is stepping in.
Coach William Carter Runs Assist Student Athletes and says for 20 years, they’ve been connecting local talent–be it basketball, football, volleyball or track with colleges across the country.
“We do a lot of the promotion. We evaluate the kids, get a highlight film for them and we start calling and networking with the college coaches,” Carter said.
During the pandemic, Coach Carter says they’ve had to pivot.
They’ve formed a prep school team to get players safely back on the court for games.
They’re also hosting basketball showcases, then giving college coaches access virtually to top talent.
“They have to use live stream and word of mouth and highlight videos to recruit a kid- by them not being able to see kids in person because of the COVID situation,” Carter explained.
VMI basketball standout Gregory Parham, who has his sights set on playing pro ball, knows first-hand how impactful Assist Student Athletes is for players.
The organization helped him navigate the college process.
“When I was in high school, I had no offers going into my senior year. Once he reached out, I ended up getting 20 plus offers and I ended up going to Division 1. That was my dream,” Parham said.
“Since we started the program, we’ve helped more than twenty-one hundred kids get placed in school. Over the years, I’ve seen doctors, lawyers, WNBA players, NBA players come through our organization,” Carter explained.
Both Parham and Carter say athletes, especially seniors who don’t already have scholarship offers should keep putting in the hard work on the court, and in the virtual classroom.
“Continue to work out and do things safely. For the parents, I encourage them to be patient.. We’ll get through this. There are a lot of opportunities and resources out there,” Carter said.
“The work will always show, regardless of if you feel like you’re unrecruited, or feel like no one is looking or if you don’t have any offers. Everything will work out. God always has a plan for you,” Parham added.
Area high school and middle school basketball players can still sign up for the Best of the Best Showcase Jamboree Dec 19th in Chesterfield.
It will be held at 2240 Oak Lake Blvd. Close to 80 college coaches will be watching via live stream.
For more information about registering for that event, call Assist Student Athletes Foundation at 804-397-3261.