Doyle sees his stock soar
Up until early August, Alexandria's Logan Doyle hadn't really taken a day off from basketball this summer.
He couldn't. Not when his dream of playing college basketball hinged on how he performed in front of coaches every weekend across the Midwest.
"This summer was kind of make or break for me," Doyle said. "Going into my senior year, coaches usually say if you don't get noticed your junior summer going into your senior year, they probably won't come to your games."
That's what drove Doyle to wake up early and practice with his Alexandria teammates five days a week. It's why he made the two-hour trip to Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope almost every Wednesday to practice with his AAU teammates on the Minnesota Lockdown 17U team.
Doyle put together a strong junior season for Alexandria. He averaged a double-double with 13.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. That still wasn't enough to get him noticed by many coaches.
Doyle had no scholarship offers coming into the summer. He's now up to nine, including a Division I offer from Western Illinois University. The Fighting Leathernecks play in the Summit League and are coached by former University of Minnesota assistant and interim head coach Jim Molinari.
Last year's Summit League champion, South Dakota State University, is also showing serious interest in the 6'8" forward. He plans on taking an official visit to SDSU in October. Doyle's Division II offers are all from teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
That's how fast things can change in the world of college recruiting. Doyle went from an unknown to having plenty of options a few months later. It's indicative of how critical the summer months are for kids, especially those who aspire to play at the next level but don't show up on any of the national top-150 lists.
"It's extremely important," Doyle said. "If you're an outstate kid, I think it's very hard to get serious looks from different schools if you're not on an AAU team...I didn't have any calls coming in. My goal and dream has always been to play college basketball at the highest level I could. Going into the summer, I was hoping to get a scholarship offer. Now I'm positive I'll have that."
College coaches flock to two or three-day tournaments during the AAU season to see how kids stack up against other quality competition. Doyle does not see a lot of individual match-ups against guys with his size and athleticism in the Central Lakes Conference.
He said he matches up against those kinds of players at every tournament during the summer. With that comes the opportunity to prove he can hold his own physically against the kind of competition he would see at the next level.
"I think the biggest thing is they get exposed to some high-quality basketball players," Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt said. "It's not necessarily team basketball, but they see what competition is out there from an individual standpoint. And then obviously they're playing basketball. The more they're playing, the better off they will be."
With it comes the pressure of performing well for coaches almost every time out. Doyle said he has played at tournaments this summer where he knew at least 20 college coaches were in attendance.
"I knew I had to step up big," he said. "I had a few missteps early where I played bad one or two games and that hurts. You think [coaches] might not come back, but you just need to keep battling. You got to get it out of your head quick and play twice as hard your next time out."
Doyle was confident enough in his game to do that. He feels all the hours in the gym have added consistency to his jump shot and at the free throw line where he shot 68.9 percent last season. His time in the weight room has helped him add the strength to be more aggressive in the paint.
"From a coach's standpoint, it's been exciting to just have a kid or two that are fired up about basketball," Witt said. "I think that's something that will begin to rub off on other kids, seeing the success that Logan is having. That's a credit to Logan. He's worked hard. He set his mind to something and worked hard to achieve it."
It meant giving up a lot of his summer to make it happen. In the end, he got the final result he was looking for.
"It is really rewarding," he said. "All the stuff you've been working for the last three years, everything you've done in the off-season, it's extremely worth everything I've ever done. When I got my first Division I offer, knowing you have an opportunity to get your school paid for and play basketball; there's not really a better feeling than that."
Schools that have offered
Alexandria's Logan Doyle has a scholarship offer on the table from Western Illinois University in Division I.
His Division II offers include the University of Mary, Bemidji State, Northern State, St. Cloud State, University of Minnesota-Moorhead, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Minnesota-Crookston and the University of Sioux Falls.
Eric Morken Eric Morken started as a sports reporter for the Echo Press on July 9, 2007. He is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls where he majored in journalism and minored in history and communications. In his spare time, Morken enjoys hunting and fishing or just being in the outdoors. He is also an avid Minnesota sports fan. Follow Sports Reporter Eric Morken on Twitter at @echo_sports. Read Eric's sports blog, More with Morken at Areavoices.