For Weber and Stallings, the workload was intensifying again. Hunting season – a.k.a. recruiting – had re-opened, and would continue through April 20. From now, Feb. 11, until then, they planned to spend most of their time traveling around the country watching high school and junior college players, in both practices and games.
Although they still had one scholarship available for next season, most of their attention would be devoted to high school underclassmen, with an eye toward future recruiting classes. Recruiting had become so intense, and so sophisticated, in the past decade that it was an absolute necessity to establish a relationship with high school kids before their senior seasons.
It hadn’t always been that way. Up through the 1960’s and into the 1970’s, high school seniors signed with colleges after their seasons ended, and some not until after the school year ended in June. But as the interest and money surrounding college basketball escalated, recruits were being snapped up earlier. Now, it wasn’t uncommon for a high school player to announce his plans to attend a school during or shortly after his junior season, as Kip and Tony Jones had done. Even the kids who waited until their senior year to decide had usually narrowed the field of candidates to a handful as juniors.