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Penn men's basketball loses to Villanova 65-53 Credit: Rachel Bleustein , Rachel Bleustein

As Penn tries to catch up to its opponents on the court, its coaches are taking to the internet.

Penn basketball recently adopted inRecruit, a new sports recruiting platform that seeks to make it easier for coaches to evaluate prospective players.

Joseph Rocco, one of the co-founders of the platform and a Villanova graduate, and his fellow founders were inspired to create the technology after realizing significant shortcomings in the current recruiting technology.

“Coaches are limited,” Rocco said. “They do what’s easiest for themselves — reach out and pick up the phone, talk to a couple sources, go and see a couple kids locally or travel and hour a two … That’s basically what they’re used to.”

After meeting with over 50 different coaches spanning Division I, II and III and discussing their recruiting strategies, Rocco and inRecruit’s other developers decided to build a platform that allowed coaches to move beyond regional recruiting.

Now, Penn coaches will not only be able to access information about players from across the country, but also will be able to verify the accuracy of the information posted. All adult user profiles are verified by inRecruit and high school athletes must have an adult connected to their profile in order to have a verified account.

“We built our platform around the sharing of information … that’s the number one thing that differentiates us from other platforms,” Rocco said. “[A high school coach] can post a video right through the platform and with detailed recommendations on the player and the coach’s stamp of approval … and for [Jerome Allen], it’s coming from a trusted source.”

“As coaches, we are constantly looking to recruit youth athletes that are good match for UPenn,” coach Jerome Allen said. “The inRecruit platform is the only technology platform we have found which is set up in a way which will allow our coaches to recruit high school basketball players in a way which is familiar to them.”

Rocco highlighted that the new platform will allow Penn coaches to network with a wider range of high school coaches.

“Coaches always fall back on what is easiest and fastest and that is really calling five to ten people whom they have the best relationship with,” he said.

Oftentimes, this makes it difficult to recruit players that live far away or to go to schools that a college coach is not familiar with. “inRecruit is going to give these coaches the opportunity to extend their network,” Rocco said.

Rocco and the other developers of inRecruit hope their service will also allow people on different ends of the recruiting process to communicate more effectively with each other.

“Technology on the coach’s side gives them the ability to get info any way they want, push it to staff members, share it externally or internally — it’s a really new-age way to recruit.”

Penn’s willingness to adopt the platform in its early stages — the only other school currently using it is Villanova — is not lost upon the founders.

“[Penn] has really been instrumental to us in their feedback,” Rocco said. “They were one of the first schools to tell us that … if you can design this in a way where information gets from point A to point B in a trusted way, you’re going to shortcut a lot of the legwork that all colleges have to do in recruiting.”

While inRecruit is certainly a new development, Rocco hopes to continue improving the software, expand to the rest of the Big 5 schools and, one day, have it used across the nation.

Penn’s adoption of the platform has helped to make that dream a reality.

“You’d be surprised,” he added. “It just has such a positive stigma around it just because of who the University of Pennsylvania is. It’s unbelievable. We’ve gotten tons of phone calls … and the reason is because the University of Pennsylvania is using the platform.”

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