Michael Finke: Diary of a basketball recruit
My summer was definitely one to remember. It was amazing.
Going into July, I had received one scholarship offer from South Dakota State University. I was thrilled, but I knew I had a lot more to prove. I competed with the PeoriaIrish during the spring and summer. We played in tournaments throughout the Midwest against many of the top players and teams from around the U.S. and Canada in April, May and July. In July, college coaches were allowed to watch games at NCAA-certified tournaments. I took advantage of it.
After three very competitive tournaments, I received 10 more scholarship offers. My hard work has started to pay off. I now have offers from SDSU, NDSU, EIU, Loyola, SIUE, Nebraska-Omaha, Wisconsin-Green Bay, UIC, Illinois State Iowa and Wisconsin.
It is a privilege and a true honor to go through this whole experience right now. I do not know what I would do without the support of my family. In mid-August, we took a vacation to Orlando. It was a great way to close out a magnificent summer.
So far, I have been on three un-official visits and attended three elite camps.
The first visit I took was to the University of Wisconsin. It was great. My whole family came with me. We met all of the coaches and players, toured the campus, toured their facilities, and I scrimmaged with the players. It was an amazing experience, and Coach Ryan offered me a scholarship as we met in his office.
My latest visit was to the University of Illinois. My youngest brother, mom and dad came with me this time. I was able to watch a practice, met with Coach Groce and his staff, toured some of the campus (some of what I haven't seen) and heard Coach Groce's vision for Illinois basketball. It sounds very promising.
I currently have scheduled three visits so far for the fall: Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Gaining weight and strength have been two huge factors for me. Since the end of my sophomore season, I have been on a 5,000-calorie-per-day diet. Even though my weight has increased by 17 pounds since the end of my high school season in March, I still want to add several pounds. In addition to gaining weight, I've also grown 1-inch-plus and am now up to 6-foot-9. In addition to playing pickup games at the YMCA and the Six Pack, I lift two to three times per week and also do two to three skill sessions per week with my dad.
I am happy to be back at Centennial for my junior year. Many college coaches have told me they plan to attend our open gyms in September and October. I'm looking forward to our high school basketball season and playing with my Charger teammates. It should be a great year!