July 27, 2009

From a Mother's Prespective: Part I

Very often when it comes to the recruitment of a high profile athlete, the story is only told from the kid's perspective. However the role of a parent in the process is very important. In this two part series, Kelly Justice, the mother of Jordan Hicks, talks about what it is like to be the guiding force in such a crucial decision.

Contrary to the popular belief of fans and followers of recruiting, making a college decision is not easy for many prospects. The families have to figure out what is best for all involved in the decision, and dealing with the entire process can sometimes be very difficult.

In this, the first part of a two part series, Justice explains what the recruiting process in general terms is like, and how it can be for a parent.

For Justice, the mother of one of the most heavily recruited athletes in the entire country, the process has been a major eye-opener. Before her son became one of the best players in the country, she didn't know what was going to come her way.

One of the biggest parts of the recruiting process is dealing with all the calls and correspondence with college coaches. For a player of Hicks' caliber, many times that can mean dealing directly with a head coach as well as an assistant.

"I didn't really know what to expect," said Justice of the recruiting process. "We've never done this before so I was a little surprised by the number of calls, the number of e-mails, and the letters that came to the house. It definitely took me a little bit by surprise."

When asked specifically about all the calls from the coaches, Justice said, "It's pretty cool. It seems like a once in a lifetime thing. It is surreal because I know it doesn't happen to many people, so it is definitely unique. The coaches had a six week window that they could call, and after the third or fourth week I was like, 'okay I am ready for the phone to quit ringing.'"

Despite the fact that it can be tough to deal with at times, Justice says all the attention is simply great, and it is something that the family knows is an honor to receive. "In all seriousness it is very exciting. We got to talk to so many coaches, and so many people on a national level that I never thought I would get to speak to. They all gave us their phone numbers and told us to call them anytime. Overall it has been a great experience."

Now with the rising popularity of the internet, another huge part of the recruiting process is dealing with the media and also with rumors that tend to crop up on message boards.

In general Hicks has tried to stay away from doing too many interviews, and that is a combination of his personality, and also the way the family has chosen to deal with things.

"Jordan's personality is pretty laid back," Justice explained of her son. "He isn't going to go out there and try to get people to notice him. That just isn't the type of kid that he is. I've had people call me and ask me to do interviews and to take pictures, but that isn't something that we feel we need. It isn't something that we crave, and it definitely isn't something we seek out. That is just kind of how we are, and how we have approached all the attention."

In fact, despite her son being recruited by every school in the country and gaining a quasi celebrity status, Justice says that Hicks has remained very level headed.
"I don't think in our household we look at it like that," said Justice of her son's status as a celebrity. "He doesn't think of himself as a celebrity, and I sure don't think about him like that."

She continued, "We continue to focus on what we have always focused on. I want to raise him the best I can, and I want him to be the best person he can be."

Along with the attention that now is placed on the subject of recruiting, comes the issue of message boards. Throughout the process there have been all kinds of speculation regarding Hicks and what his mother wants for her son.

Rumors have ranged from Hicks being ready to commit to Texas shortly after getting an offer, which obviously didn't happen, to Justice pushing Hicks to the south to be closer to where he grew up, to her actually telling people that her son wasn't going to leave the state of Ohio for college.

All of those rumors would of course be news to Justice who explains that she doesn't really talk to people about her son's recruitment, and that she doesn't take any of those rumors too seriously.

"I honestly just think it is funny," said Justice of all the message board rumors. "I've learned to take everything with a grain of salt. There are very few people that I even talk to about recruiting, so when people claim to know something, more than likely they don't."

She continued, "I just have to take it with a grain of salt. I definitely don't pay attention to all that."

In part two of From a Mother's Perspective, Justice will explain how the family chose to go about narrowing down Hicks' list, and what the future holds in terms of visits and how they will come to a final decision.

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