Harvard assistant varsity coach Terry O'Connor has done "an excellent job in the success of our program to date," according to Frank McLaughlin. O'Connor has built up a massive file system that breaks down prospective student-athletes in every conceivable category. A list of students who include basketball in their Harvard applications is circulated back and forth between the IAB and Byerly Hall.
"Our job is to make sure we screen high school student-athletes who can fit the Harvard bill," McLaughlin said. "We don't even get involved with a prospect if the academic standards just aren't there."
O'Connor says he makes sure that "at the end of our screening process, we give a good list of kids to the Admissions Office. We don't just send five names over expecting all five to get in," says O'Connor. "And believe me, there were a couple of qualified big men on our list this year."
Although recruiting the class of 1982 is for the most part behind them now, the Harvard staff has already set its sights on drawing up tentative lists of high school junior year prospects. The method of recruiting is of vital importance in convincing a student-athlete to come to an institution. For that all-important first phone contact, O'Connor has a seven-point memo concerning the "selling" of Harvard basketball. It reads, quite simply:
*World-reknown academically--you get a Harvard degree--you have to be successful.
*Alumni--world leaders in every field. Look at the 'Finished Product.'
*Campus life: Boston is a college town--great intellectual and social atmosphere.
*Boston--super sports town--Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, Patriots.
*Basketball--Ivy League plus national schedule. The beginning of a new era of Harvard basketball.
*Low key approach--Harvard sells itself. We are not around all the time. We respect your family's private life. You should enjoy senior year.
*The best of both worlds. Great academics and a chance to participate in a first class program.
For $30,000 plus, I certainly hope so.