Ryan Klassen | Lead Writer
Ishmail Wainright reflected on his recruitment and discussed what young prospects should be aware of during their own recruitment processes.
In Kansas City, MO, I was able to catch up with former Baylor University letterman, Ishmail Wainright at Team Rush practice. During the interview, he expressed warnings about self-conduct and social media, and touched on how to be the best prospect possible.
Wainright has been through the recruitment process so he’s familiar the dos and don’ts. He says how a player presents himself on and off the court is a key contributor to a player’s image. He stressed the importance of keeping body language up as to not show discontent. He believes that positive body language can improve a player’s attitude from a singular mindset to a team mindset. He reflected on his time at Baylor and said he could remember times where he or his teammates had gotten frustrated early on in a game, took some possessions off and, “we left early from the [NCAA] tournament.”
Wainright also stressed the importance of self-awareness. He says every team has personnel designed to fit their own role to allow the team it’s highest chance of success. If a player is a strong defender but lacks a jump shot, don’t be a free shooter and take the ball from the team’s scorers. Wainright wants young players to know their own strengths and weakness, and to be aware of risky decisions in a game. “If you’re not doing it in practice, you shouldn’t do it in the game.”
He also wants young players to be aware of how they present themselves on social media. Wainright, who has recently deleted his social medias had this to say, “Social media can kill a kid. You know, that’s all some guys look at. Kids will have their mixtape on social media only showing the best part of their game, leaving recruiters to believe that player can’t, play defense, or shoot the three. It can just drain a kid’s confidence if the coaches don’t like what they see.”
He used Zion Williamson as a comparable example, “I want to see how he [Zion Williamson] does when he gets to college. I’m not knocking him or anything, that’s a tough kid. But I want to see how he plays defense, or how coachable he is.”
Wainright’s recruitment process began early on in his basketball career. He knew some schools would recruit him from the day he became eligible to talk to schools, but was never sure how seriously he should take it. He recounts a teammate sitting him down before his junior year of high school telling him it was time to be serious about basketball. To him, ball was a passion he did out of love, but after that he had to see hoops as a passion and as a business. Despite speaking with to programs nationwide and coaches such as Duke’s Coach K., Baylor gave him so much respect it was easy for him to commit.
The decision to go to Baylor came from his first visit to Waco, Texas, and another time where they came to see him. His first visit to Waco, his parents came with him. He says seeing both of his parents there together and enjoying their time really stuck out to him. What sealed the deal was when Baylor came to him for a visit. “They came to the hood,” he remembers with a laugh, “they came and sat down with my parents and we talked for like two hours. I knew then, so I told them that I had one more visit then I’m gonna commit. I told them I knew where I wanted to go and they didn’t believe I would make the decision as quickly as I said I would so I just told them.”
Wainright is a 6’5” guard from Raytown, Missouri, who played four years for the Baylor Bears. He was the only player in Baylor men’s basketball history to play in the NCAA tournament all four years of his eligibility. Wainright looks back on his time at Baylor with great fondness. He believes himself to have been blessed to be able to play all four years, blessed to have played all across the nation and the world with and against the best talent, and he will always remember being ranked #1 in the nation.