High school junior Alex Kline knew he would never dominate the hardwood like the stars of March Madness, so he turned his love for the game into a career as a basketball recruiter.
"I'm just like a basketball connoisseur, I guess. I enjoy the game so much, and everything else just feeds off that," Alex explained.
He is only 16 years old, but Alex created his own successful website called TheRecruitScoop.com, and has built a reputation in the basketball recruitment world as someone with a keen eye for talent who also has the media savvy to get budding hoop stars, some older than he is, a slice of the spotlight.
"I have seen a lot of guys who are under the radar and who didn't get the publicity that they needed, and I recognized that and I started to give it to them."
With a pad and pen in hand, Alex meticulously observes high school players from the sidelines during his spare time. As players twice his size fly up and down the court, he scribbles precise notes about their ability to rebound, dribble and defend. A true stickler for detail, he investigates their height and weight. While watching the New Jersey's Amateur Basketball club practice, he pointed out a player and said, "Losing 20 pounds in the off-season will help him."
Alex explained how his notes would end up on his website. "Usually in my articles I'll list their strengths and their weaknesses." Reading aloud from his notepad he shares what type of information he posts online: "A solid rebounder, he's good around the basket, good post defense, especially on a bigger defender."
From his home office in New Jersey, Alex uses his website and Twitter account to keep tabs on the future stars of March Madness. He has more than 5,000 followers, including Division I coaches from across the country looking for the next big star.
Seton Hall assistant coach Dan McHale is one of his followers. "I check his Twitter probably six times a day to see what he's updating, what he sees, what's the latest scoop out there."
During his summer break, Alex travels to dozens of schools and tournaments to watch and interview players for his online articles. The summer months are big for assistant coaches looking for fresh talent, and Alex manages to hang with the best of them.
"Nine to 10 hours in the gym for me is like spring break on a beach chasing girls," Alex said, revealing a mouthful of braces.
At first, coaches wondered who the "young kid with the notepad" was, but Alex slowly began to build a relationship with several coaches and has slowly carved a name for himself in the competitive circle of athletic recruitment. He is even on a daily texting relationship with several Big East coaches. Just a scroll through his BlackBerry phonebook proves it.
"At first I thought they were avoiding me and then I started to notice that they really like me and that they were actually following my stuff especially through twitter," said Alex.
But many of his followers don't know how young he is. "He's definitely a trailblazer. If people really realized all over the country how young he was, I think they'd be even more impressed," said coach McHale.
Swapping information and networking with bigshot coaches is not why Alex spends his summers inside a hot gym all day. He said he does it to give young, lesser-known ballplayers the potentially life-changing exposure they need to be picked up by a college team.