An Inside Connection
PREP Athletics offers players and their families a trusted source for the world of prep schools. There are only a few prep school consultants in the US that help place basketball players into prep schools. I am the only one who has actually completed a post-grad year before playing in a D1 program. With this firsthand knowledge I find out a family’s ultimate academic and athletic goals and connect them with the right fitting prep schools.
I help educate families on what prep schools are, the benefits of this option, as well as all that goes into choosing the right one. With so many options in the US now it can be intimidating and families don’t know where to start. Once I learn the family’s goals, the player’s academic and athletic ability as well as financial resources, I can then put all that information together and choose schools from my database where this player could potentially succeed.
I will reach out to these school’s coaches on the family’s behalf and get feedback on whether they want to move forward and recruit this player. Ideally, I have three schools recruiting each client and I help the families with what questions to ask. Once the family is interested and has applied for these schools, I will advise them on the financial aid and selection process. Families ultimately choose where their sons will attend school, but I can be a sounding board to help with the choice.
I like to think of myself as a guidance counselor for the prep school athletic world. I placed my first player in 2008. This is a passion of mine.
PREP Athletics and director Cory Heitz truly invest into their young athletes. With building a relationship at the beginning, Cory understands how to help each athlete. I would highly recommend him and PREP Athletics to any young athlete who wants to pursue playing college basketball.
LEE MARTIN – OHIO UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH
Widely regarded as the best prep basketball option in the country, recruiting for the NEPSAC offers challenges that are every bit as unique as our respective schools. In coaching sixteen years at this level, Cory Heitz has become a primary resource for my recruiting process. His commitment to understanding the academic, athletic and social dynamics of our respective institutions has made Cory a leader in the business of matching student, athlete and school. From his initial contact to regular follow up of his client’s progress, Cory Heitz and PREP Athletics offers the full service commitment so many families are looking for.
JAY TILTON – EXETER ACADEMY HEAD COACH
I really enjoy working with Cory Heitz and PREP Athletics. He sincerely and knowledgeably seeks the best “fit” to match his families with the “best” school and basketball program for the individual young man. We have a PREP Athletics client this year and I couldn’t be more pleased with the character, effort, and talents of this young man. I will surely be working with Cory and his company for many years to come.
WHIT LESURE – BRIDGTON ACADEMY HEAD COACH
Tailoring a profile for each player
When a player hires me to help them find the right fitting prep school, I have them build a website that includes all the information a coach would want to know. Academic history, athletic highlights, full game film, contact information, social media links, upcoming schedules, etc. This website does not need to be fancy, but it needs to include information that a coach and prep school would find relevant. Any additional information that could show a player being more well-rounded is always a bonus, versus just being an athlete.
Along with the website I talk to the family and player to learn more of a narrative of why they want to go prep. When I eventually talk to a coach I will tell a story about the player and why he would be a good fit for this coach’s prep school. That extra information as well as the website will give a coach a full picture on which they can decide whether or not to recruit the player. The admissions board will be interested in this website and a narrative as well. Many of these schools have more applicants than spots available. It is always key to try and separate yourself from the pack, and not just athletically.
Helping players to decide which school will be the best fit
This is where the magic happens. Since I have been doing this since 2008 I have learned about the prep school world in great detail. I have spent days of my life and a considerable amount of resources visiting over one hundred prep schools. Seeing the campus, meeting the coaches, as well as watching these teams play, gives me an overall snapshot of each school. I also talk to other college and prep coaches to constantly get feedback on the ever-changing world of prep school basketball and personnel.
With this knowledge I keep an updated database that gives me an overview on each school I have visited and know. After I am hired by a family I will go through this database and choose ten schools where the player would have a chance to succeed. I will then rank those schools in order of where I would personally place him if I had the choice. Once I have this ranked list of ten schools I will start reaching out to them in order until I have three to four schools interested. From there I will tell the player about the pros and cons of each school and why I chose them for him. This is not an exact science but more of a feel that comes from doing this for so many years. The best situation is having three schools all fighting for a player after the acceptance letters have been sent out and the family having a hard time due to all three options being great ones.
What is my relationship and personal history with prep schools?
I attended the United States Air Force Academy Prep School in 1995 to take part in a post-grad year. Before choosing Air Force I also visited Army and Navy’s prep schools. My first cousin Brad Miller went to Maine Central Institude for his senior year of high school. This led him to playing for four years at Purdue before a thirteen year NBA career. Prep schools have changed my family’s life!
I placed my first player in at Maine Central Institute in 2008. Shortly thereafter I talked to my friends who coach college basketball to find out what other prep schools I should visit. I got a comprehensive list and visited the schools that were suggested by multiple coaches. Since then I have spent each year visiting prep schools in New England and other parts of the US. These visits are vital as I can see how a campus feels and looks. When I meet with a coach face to face it solidifies the relationship, versus just being a voice on the other end of the phone. I also try to meet with the head of school and head of admissions. If the timing works, I can see a team in an open gym or at one of the events that I attend each year. Seeing the type of player they recruit, and the style each team plays, allows me to sort these schools for each player I help.
My relationship with these coaches allows me to get in touch with them quicker than a kid off of the street. I can get an honest assessment of a player’s abilities on the court, in the classroom, and financially. If all looks good I will connect the coaches and the family. Because I have been working with coaches all these years they know if I am bringing them a player to look at and that they have been filtered out among over a hundred other schools. We have a mutual respect for each other and don’t play games. As of 2019 I have sent players to twenty seven different schools.
How I communicate with a player and his family
When I am initially connected to a family I set up a video call on Facetime, Skype, or WhatsApp. At that point I find out the ultimate goal for the family and learn more about why they are considering prep school. I convey all of the advantages of going prep and tell them my background.
Once we have decided to work with each other I stay in touch during the building of the player’s recruiting website. After some constructive feedback it will be ready to send to prep school coaches. I then keep the family up to date on which schools are interested and connect them directly. From there I talk to coaches and families through the admission process.
On March 10th the New England prep schools send out their acceptance letters. I am in touch with families during this time to help answer questions about the financial aid, and to be a sounding board for which school to eventually choose. After the family chooses a prep school I will check in periodically throughout the player’s career to see how they are doing. I love watching the evolution from the first phone call to the eventual signing with a college. Prep schools can change lives, as it did mine. This is an important decision and I will help a family through the process.