The few D-1 college basketball programs in states such Wyoming, the Dakotas or Montana have to make friends with their travel agents and step outside the boundaries of their respective home turf to recruit. In that regard, Wyoming and South Dakota both netted verbal commitments from recruits who will be travelling north from Colorado as 2013 recruiting class verbal commitments.
Wyoming landed a pledge from 6-8 forward Alan Herndon of Widefield (Colo.), and fellow 6-8 forward Austin Sparks of Fairview (Colo.) made his call for South Dakota. In both cases, the schools where Herndon and Sparks have landed are burgeoning pipelines from Colorado, as Sparks will join a fellow Colorado player in Terrell Brown on the roster at South Dakota, and three players from south of Wyoming’s border line their roster.
There are a dearth of true D-1 talents in states like Wyoming and South Dakota, and they have to produce a clear recruiting strategy to fill in the gaps. Both Sparks and Herndon are athletic but relatively undeveloped at this point. A redshirt could be in either player’s future, but they each possess a skill set that is easier to find in a more populated state.
There is no shortage of success stories from smaller or lesser-known mid-major and below programs lately, and those with the most winning track records appear to have clear strategies on the recruiting trail. It is no doubt an uphill battle programs from states with small populations, but creative thinking and strategy can help overcome the inherent difficulties.
Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.