Most 16-year-old boys are known for either playing sports or sitting at home playing video games. Alex Kline, however, is not your typical teenager. Alex runs TheRecruitScoop.com, writes for Adam Zagoria’s blog and has a huge following on Twitter. He is a great resource for players and college coaches that are looking to improve their stance. We had to opportunity to catch up with Alex to get to know how it all started and some of his opinions on the basketball world.
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Dime: You have been getting a lot of press lately like the feature in The Wall Street Journal, Trenton Times and ABC News all did features on you. You have been doing The Recruit Scoop for a while now, why do you think you’ve gotten a lot of attention all of the sudden?
Alex Kline: I think everyone gets his or her big break eventually. You know, luckily for me, I got mine early at the age of 16. I have been working really hard over the last year. This really took off during the summertime. Coaches started to recognize me through Twitter. We would meet in person to talk and evaluate players for them to trust me. Players would notice as I would do articles or tweet about them. Schools would start to get interested and would come to me about certain players. Things really took off from there. I put my e-mail on my Twitter page and Ben Collins from The Wall Street Journal e-mailed me to give me the opportunity to do a sit-down interview. Five hours after that article went up, ABC contacted me. Then, it was just a domino effect. It has been a humbling experience.
Dime: You mentioned your Twitter account earlier, which is constantly updated. You have a pretty big following (over 6,000 followers as of right now). How do you feel about Twitter becoming the next big thing in the media? Also, how do you manage to update it so often?
AK: (Twitter) has become the new television or newspaper. It gives you instant breaking news and you feel like you are at the scene of everything. It is really amazing how you can promote yourself and others on there inadvertently. I didn’t think it would come to the point for me when I would have 6,000 followers in less than a year. Twitter is amazing because you can connect with some many different people on so many different levels, whether it is an athlete or an artist or a musician. It gives you so many opportunities to contact famous people. I tweet as much as I can. Whenever someone gives me an update, I try to put it up there as soon as possible. I try to tweet whenever I can, whether it is my lunch break, after or before school. I try to keep my phone on all of the time to make sure I don’t miss anything. Then, people on Twitter will contact you about their guys since I update them so often. It is great for building relationships, promoting my name and promoting others as well. It is a win-win for everyone.
Dime: Where did all of this start?
AK: I tried to start some Blogspot blogs and contacted a few people, but nothing big really happened. I started freelancing around and started TheRecruitScoop.com. There were some publications that were big on freelancers and luckily I started getting some good information and interviews. I started writing for Adam Zagoria’s blog. Then people started noticing my name and like I said before, the domino effect started happening. The video interviews that I did really helped a lot because people started realizing that I truly was a 16-year-old kid.
Dime: What is your favorite part of doing all of this?
AK: I definitely enjoy helping out both parties (both parties being the college coaches and the high school players). For the high school players, you have the ones that get all of the media attention and are high in the rankings. I cover them to get a lot of hits and because everyone wants to know about them. I also like to cover the lower players that are not as well known. They appreciate that because they are not used to the exposure. That way, they can showcase their talent and college coaches will have an easier time noticing them.
Dime: You’re based out of the New York/New Jersey area, which is obviously known for its hoops. Out of New York or New Jersey, which do you feel pumps out more basketball players?
AK: I think they both do a good job. Funny thing is, a lot of guys that are in New York feel like they are not getting enough exposure right now, so they will come to New Jersey for prep school. Schools like Nia Prep are getting a lot of guys from the New York area. Even schools like St. Patrick has New York guys like Jason Boswell, DeShawn Suber and Dakari Johnson. Both are producing a ton of players. Between that area, Pennsylvania, New England and even Delaware, the Northeast is really a hotbed for recruiting. Every year it gets even better. This year, there were guys like Maurice Harkless and Michael Gilchrist. Next year, there will be guys like DaJuan Coleman, Kyle Anderson and Omar Calhoun running the show. Then the following year, there’ll be Austin Colbert, Isaiah Lewis and all of these other guys. The list goes on and on, and there’s no doubt that this place will have be an endless source of talent.
Dime: If you were to make a prediction right now about where you think is the next basketball hotbed, where would you say it will be?
AK: Right now, if we are talking for the Class of 2012, I would say Georgia. They already have a few of the top high school teams and AAU teams. There is so much talent down there for 2012. Evan Nolte just committed to Virginia recently. Then you will see Jordan Adams and Damien Wilson on the Oak Hill Academy roster, both of which are from Georgia. Tony Parker is also from Georgia. The best of the best are recruiting him. The list is so long. If you look at the rankings, there are so many talented guys from Georgia. Who knows, that may change in the Class of 2013, but there’s no doubt that Georgia is strong for 2012.
Dime: Who are some players that are flying under the recruiting radar right now?
AK: That’s a great question, because there are so many of them. I know from my experience, some of the guys who have reclassified often fly under the radar. Kareem Canty, who was in the Class of 2011 originally, decided to go to Bridgton Academy and reclassified to 2012. CAA schools were originally recruiting him. If you look at him now, he is a top-20 point guard in the country. Guys like Evan Daniels love him. Guys from Scout and Rivals love him because they saw him at these big events. Now schools from basically all conferences are looking at him. Robert Upshaw is another one. He is a 6-11 big man from California who had to sit out this year because he transferred. He is really talented. He is going to play with Dream Vision for AAU, which features Shabazz Muhammad and Winston Shepard. If you look at his size and how hard he works, he could be a top-50 player in the nation when all is said and done. He has over 50 offers, but nobody really knows about him out here. Going back to reclassifying, Eric Fanning, who is now in the Class of 2012, is also pretty underrated. He is a 6-4 shooting guard good at cutting to the basket. He goes to a small school called Perkiomen, which is a small school in Pennsylvania that not many people look at. A couple years ago, he was barely getting any interest, if any. Now, he has tons of offers from CAA schools. It’s not always about getting the high-major looks. Just look at VCU and Butler. If you can get a good mid-major look, you can turn that mid-major talent into high-major talent.
Dime: What is something most people do not know about you?
AK: That’s a good question, because that’s something I typically ask guys in interviews. People just don’t realize that I’m a normal guy. I’m just like every 16-year-old in that I go to school, I do my work and I like to have fun. To me, these basketball players are not even players. They are friends. The same goes for the coaches. Say I get a call from Pat Skerry from Pittsburgh (Skerry just landed the head coaching job at Towson). People will ask who I’m on the phone with, and when I tell them Pittsburgh, they will freak out. To me, it is not really a big deal anymore. These guys are my friends.
Dime: With the McDonald’s All American Game just finishing up and the Jordan Brand Classic coming up, we heard that you have your own event called the Mary Kline Classic? Talk to us about that.
AK: I’m glad you asked about that. Basically, it is a senior game. It is not a true all-star game because a few juniors are in it. The Mary Kline Classic is an event based off of the loss of my late mother, Mary Kline, who was diagnosed with cancer when I was five. She passed away when I was 10 years old. I’m now giving back to her because all proceeds from the event are going to the American Cancer Society and National Brain Tumor Foundation. It is going to be a featured event at my school, the Pennington School. There is going to be a dunk contest, a three-point contest and then a game. All of the money is going to be raised through food, donations and admission. It is just a great way for guys to end their high school career, because this will probably be their last game since it is on May 28th. I’m doing it for the community and to fight cancer. Guys that are in it are Shaq Thomas (Cincinnati), Maurice Harkless (St. John’s), Derrick Randall (Rutgers), John Johnson (Pittsburgh), Jabril Trawick (Georgetown), Khem Birch (Pittsburgh) and Angel Nunez (Louisville). The list goes on, but there are going to be around 24-28 players. The list is still being finalized. It’s going to be a great experience for them even though it isn’t the McDonald’s or Jordan game. They get to play on a high school court in front of a packed crowd and they’ll be giving back to the community. I’m hoping that it goes well.
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