The Ithaca College women’s basketball team hosted its Elite Camp on Oct. 30, bringing in high school athletes to scout for future Bombers and showing what the college and facilities have to offer.
The clinic brought in prospective students, where they received individualized attention from the Bomber coaches in the Ben Light Gymnasium. Roughly 20 high school students showed up to work with head coach Dan Raymond and new assistant coach Mary Mazzella, who were running the event.
Mazzella said she believes the college’s facilities alone are attractive enough for recruits, and the camp is a great way to utilize it.
“That’s the gym that we prep in, we have a very good success rate in this gym,” Mazzella said. “[It is] something that we welcome people to come and see, and it is a great selling point.”
Sophomore guard Isabella Mittelman said the camp was a great way for the coaches to connect with the prospective students and see how they are doing overall with the process of looking at colleges. The current athletes could not attend the event because of requirements for background checks that cost $150.
“In terms of the camp, it sucks that we can’t be there for that type of experience,” Mittelman said. “But it is good we have some type of way to interact with future Bombers.”
However, this has not stopped Raymond from making sure possible recruits are able to connect with and meet possible future teammates; whether it be a pickup game or a walk around campus.
“During fall preseason we have a pickup session on, like, a Sunday, where a recruit can come play with us,” Mittelman said. “Those kind of experiences are really great, so you can get a feel of who talent-wise is coming to check out Ithaca [College].”
The Bombers are looking to make additions to this new upcoming 2022 team, selecting and focusing on players who make up the key attributes of a Bomber teammate. Mazzella said she hopes to emphasize the importance of character, which is more valuable than the physical component of the game.
“Being a good teammate is something very important to our program, it is what makes everything go around besides the X’s and O’s,” Mazzella said.
Mittelman said it is not just character the team cares about finding, but the drive and determination the squad constantly has as well. Finding prospective students who share their values is who Mittelman wants recruited for the team.
“Not being satisfied with what we have done in the past, being focused on the future and what’s ahead of us, [is what we are trying to do],” Mittelman said. “When it comes to attitude, we are looking for people who are committed and really dedicated to the sport.”
After the team’s previous success, Liberty League champions in 2021 along with 17 NCAA appearances in program history, the coaches and players were excited about the Elite Camp.
The coaches were looking to see how they handle situations, along with their agility and conditioning ability. In order to improve the girls’ games, Raymond pointed out key areas to work on during drills. The students in attendance performed with heart and effort, both things Mittelman described as attributes of a basketball Bomber.
Parents at the camp were excited to attend the event, coming from different locations to experience the overall feel for what the campus — and the program — has to offer.
Hannah McCarthy, mother of prospective point guard Haley McCarthy, said she was excited to be in attendance at the camp. She said her daughter was attracted to the college initially because of the exercise science program. The family said they heard nothing but kind and welcoming words from Raymond at the clinic and look forward to how Haley personally feels overall about the school.
“Haley spoke with [Raymond] a little bit this morning; so far so good, we’re impressed,” McCarthy said.
With the 2022–23 season set to begin Nov. 8, the Bombers are gearing up for a title defense. Last year, the Bombers made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling on a buzzer-beater to Springfield College. Mazzella said she wants to make sure the team finds players who can keep up the recent history of success.
“[We are looking for] people who are multi-faced players that can shoot, pass and do all those things,” Mazzella said. “Experience is the best teacher. … [We want to help the athletes] by sharing experiences with past drills and different techniques.”