The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:15 pm

A time to decide on college

Column by Greg Jones

The recruiting process is like a fingerprint, no two are alike. 

Each basketball player has his or her own journey through the visits, the coaches, the phone calls and texts and ultimately (to steal a phrase from LeBron James) the decision. The timing is also different for every player.

Some decide early in their career while others to make sure it is the right decision. 

And when you are an underclassmen, you have the luxury of not being in a hurry to make a choice. But by the time you become a junior, though, it becomes pretty serious.

Homestead junior guard Karissa McLaughlin recently made a commitment to Florida. S

he also had offers from Indiana, Ball State, Bowling Green, Toledo, IUPUI and IPFW. 

"It was mixed emotions," McLaughlin said of the process. "It was fun to experience it all and go through the ups and downs of it and having all the pressure of where you are going to go. When I made the decision to go to Florida, all the pressure was off my back."

To help on the recruiting journey, McLaughlin kept a journal on her iPad and recorded pros and cons after every college visit.

"I had to talk to so many people and found out what questions I should ask," she said. "It came down to what school is best for me. The pros and cons came down to Florida."

For some juniors, the offers are coming in and the official visits are a year away.

So the choice is still in the future. Snider 7-footer Malik Williams has 11 offers, including Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, Xavier and Temple.

"It’s crazy, but it’s pretty good," Williams said of the recruiting process. "It has been good that my hard work is paying off. They are coming, talking to me, offering, texting and keeping in contact."

Williams, though, is not sure which is the best fit and is probably going to wait to make a commitment until after his junior season but before his senior year. 

The beauty of it is, there is no hurry. Not yet at least.

North Side junior Jaylen Butz has gotten offers from Ball State, Kent State, Indiana State and Cleveland State, has taken unofficial visits to Indiana and IUPUI and has seen coaches at some of his open gyms from Clemson, Dayton, Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State.

"Coaches are definitely looking at me," Butz said. "They just need to get things where they need to be."

The coaches also took a look at freshman teammate Keion Brooks Jr., the son of former North Side standout Keion Brooks.

"It is definitely a good thing knowing coaches are coming to Fort Wayne watching me and some of my teammates play," Butz said. 


Greg Jones is the assistant sports editor for The Journal Gazette and has been covering sports in Fort Wayne since 1998. He can be reached by email at; phone, 461-8224; or fax, 461-8648.

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