The Digital Journalism Blog

An exclusive look at Bradley basketball

Posted in Uncategorized by com360bu on May 9, 2011

Geno Ford has big plans for Bradley basketball. Ford talks about his recruiting techniques, as well as his vision for the team.  Jordan Prosser, and Walt Lemon Jr., share their experiences being recruited, and Charonn Woods discusses the challenge of being a walk-on.

By Brett Addis

Life behind Bradley Basketball

PEORIA, IL — On March 27, 2011, Geno Ford was named Bradley’s new basketball coach.

“Kent State was still playing when I saw the job was open in late season,” Ford said.  “It came across that Bradley’s job was open and instantly peaked my interest because I know the history of Bradley.”

Ford came to Bradley from Kent State where he led them to a 68-37 record in three years.  He went 35-13 in conference games and won two coach of the year awards.

“It was tough leaving because I worked there for seven years and I had good relationships with the players,” Ford said.  “However, I felt like this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Bradley has underachieved the past decade, aside from a NCAA Sweet 16 run, finishing 4th or below in the conference in each of the past 11 years.  Ford believes he has the talent here to change that.

“Good kids, they work hard, and I think they’re really excited about where we could get things going here,” Ford said. “We have a lot to be excited about and we need to get more competitive than we’ve been. That is the bottom line, and I think that’s why I was brought in; to make that happen. It needs to be something where we’re competing year in and year out and we’re a threat to win a championship annually.”

Ford has to keep bringing in the talent he believes he has here if he wants to win a championship annually.  That is where recruiting comes in.

“I don’t enjoy the traveling, but I enjoy the people, and the relationships that you can forge as you are out looking,” Ford said.  “I like to see guys play and I enjoy the evaluation process.  The day I’m not excited about recruiting, I need to find a new line of work.”

Ford wants to keep bringing talented student athletes to Peoria.  He does that a number of different ways with recruiting services, websites, and traveling to Athletic Association United (AAU) tournaments.  At AAU tournaments, Ford narrows his selection.

“It is who you think it makes sense to recruit to Bradley academically, socially, and basketball wise,” Ford said.  “Then we go after them and target them a little bit.”

With recruiting comes time away from the family.

“There are times during July where you’re gone for 10 days straight,” Ford said. “It’s tough.  Fortunately, technology has made travel a little easier with cell phones, to the Internet, with e-mail and Skype, so you’re able to interact and be part of it.”

Ford’s first recruiting trip occurred when he was working with Ohio University as an assistant coach.

“I think anytime you’re going out on the road for the first time you’re anxious, and excited,” Ford said.  “As you get older, you start to realize recruiting is a lot more art than science.  It’s not you just go see a kid, he’s talented, and is going to be good for you.  There is the art component of does he fit with what you’re doing.  There is no easy way to recruit, and there are no two recruiting stories that are the same.”

Although it is not a big name city, Ford has had no trouble bringing recruits to Peoria in his first month as coach.  He has already signed a guard from Detroit, Jalen Crawford.

“We brought two kids in on official visits and we have another one next week,” Ford said.  “Campus has been very well received and also it’s a huge thing when a kid comes to campus and the president and athletic director are willing to sit down and meet with him.  It just shows the commitment to athletics.”

With Bradley’s season just four months away, Ford has an ideal style he’d like to play with.  A team that is just as good on defense as it is on offense.

“I like to get the tempo of the game sped up, but I don’t like giving up easy baskets in exchange for pace,” Ford said.  “When we are good here, you’ll see a team that’s field goal percentage defense is going to be 41 percent or lower, and field goal percentage offense will be 45 percent.  It’s hard to get so caught up in points because you can be a team that only gives up 60 points a game, but your opponents might shoot 46 percent against you.”

The final key aspect that brought Ford to Peoria was the fans.

“This is one of the rare places where you can play in front of 10,000 people twice a week at home, and yet recruit kids that are good academically and are going to be successful throughout their lives.”

Behind the scenes with Bradley basketball stars

Watch as sophomore Sports Communication Major, Brett Addis, interviews Bradley Basketball Players, Jordan Prosser, Charonn Woods, and Walt Lemon Jr about their experiences being recruited and their time with Coach Geno Ford.

Up close and personal

2011-2012 Men’s Basketball Team – Online Extra

Viewers will see a map of where the 2011-2012 Men’s Basketball Team is from. After a tab is clicked, a biography of the player will show including the player’s year, hometown, high school, position, height, weight, major, why they came to Bradley, and an interesting fact.


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