“We’re going to be looking at the high school players that are here,” said Florida A&M University’s Director of Tennis and Head Women’s Tennis Coach, Rochelle “Nikki” Houston.
“It’s been a beautiful few days,” Houston said, commenting on the recruiting activities that took place during the 21st edition of the HBCU National Tennis Championships.
“It’s a really good opportunity to be seen by coaches from different states,” said 16-year-old Brooke Smalls, a Georgia native and member of the Class of 2024.
Currently ranked #56 in Georgia, according to Tennis Recruiting Network, Smalls participated in singles and doubles match play while being evaluated by Houston and the other coaches in attendance that gathered information and established personal relationships with players and parents.
“A great showcase overall,” said Melody Smalls, Brooke’s mother.
“The 2022 HBCU Recruiting Showcase is a great platform that highlights superior athletic talent, and direct access to coaches.”
“This showcase also motivates high school juniors and seniors, such as Brooke, to explore all of their possibilities and to continue to aspire to become great student athletes at colleges and universities that might not have been on their radar,” said Smalls.
“By helping them (student-athletes) understand all aspects of the recruitment process, matching them with their best college program, and keeping them connected to a network of support throughout their entire career from 7th grade until they graduate from college,” Arise Athlete Foundation draws on the leadership of former Temple University tennis player and USTA employee, Jordan B. Jenkins.
Using its proprietary Student-Athlete Management Application that engages parents, coaches, and mentors to work with student-athletes to create a community and network of support, Arise Athlete Foundation aims to “empower student athletes to take control of their athletic, academic, and future career goals.”
Episcopal Academy junior Kamora Helton traveled from Pennsylvania to participate in the recruiting showcase that featured recruits from 10 states throughout the country. A member of the Class of 2024, Helton expressed interest in Alabama’s Tuskegee University as her mother, Joni, engaged with the university’s Head Men’s & Women’s Tennis Coach, Gregory Green.
“It’s been good,” said Helton, currently ranked #14 in Pennsylvania according to Tennis Recruiting Network.
“My mom and I have spoken to a few of the coaches. I’m excited to play my last match and show them what I’m capable of.”
National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, Division 1 men’s tennis programs can offer scholarships up to a maximum of 4.5 athletes each season whereas women tennis teams can have up to 8.
There are 317 NCAA Division I women’s tennis programs and 255 men’s tennis programs.
The odds of making a NCAA Division I men’s varsity tennis team are 174:1 with the odds of making an NCAA Division I women’s tennis team being 181:1.
Tennis has the highest percentage of foreign student athletes competing than any other NCAA sport and as a result the odds of a US player making a NCAA Division I roster are the steepest – by far – of all NCAA sports, according to scholarshipstats.com.