Review – DDS College Basketball 2

Review of Draft Day Sports: College Basketball 2
Coaching in college is a lot of work. But it can also be very rewarding.

Why anybody would choose to coach college sports over professional sports is mind-boggling.


I realize most college coaches would jump at the opportunity to coach in the pros, but there are a handful who choose not to. Those coaches are crazy.


I suppose there is something to be said for being the king of a campus instead of just another pro coach that has a slim chance of lasting more than a few years. But look at how much more work coaching in college is!



•    Recruiting. Forget about game-planning and scouting your opponent. A good chunk of your time is visiting the inner-cities, suburbs and farmlands of America, trying to convince 16- and 17-year-old kids to come play for you.
•    Homework. You have to worry about your players flunking out of school. Can you imagine if Phil Jackson had to keep on Jordan and Rodman to do their homework?
•    Athletic Directors and Boosters. The boosters are paying for your fancy new practice facility and the athletic director is a bureaucrat with a PhD.


I think you get the point. Coaching in college is a lot of work. Tedious work. But it can also be very rewarding.


All of that is captured in Draft Day Sports: College Basketball 2 (DDS: CB2).


Staying Busy
As soon as you dive into DDS: CB2, you will be busy. You need to know that before starting. Otherwise you will get overwhelmed.


This isn’t a game where you can just adjust your gameplan a bit, pick up a few players with high star ratings and watch the season unfold.


Once you create your coach and get hired by somebody, you start right up with summer travel to camps held throughout the country. You need to learn a bit about each camp, consider the cost to attend, and pick the one you think best meets your needs.


Sure, it’d be nice to attend the Indy Elite Camp, but would it be smarter to attend a cheaper camp and use your recruiting budget elsewhere? (Going broke early in the recruiting process is a bad strategy, by the way.)


Once you decide which camp to attend, your schedule really gets hectic.


Recruiting
This is where the real work starts. When you first open the recruiting screen, you might just stare at it for a while, trying to figure out where to start. It can be daunting, but once you get the hang of it, you start to develop a system and some strategies so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.


The entire country is at your fingertips when you recruit. Want to pursue the No. 1 kid in the country? Go ahead. Want to focus on your own state? That’s not a bad idea. Want to mine a certain region of the county? Also doable.

 

Build your program .. Get recruiting!


Of course, your strategies depend on who you’re coaching. If you’re a top-ranked program like Duke or North Carolina, you’ll be chasing the top recruits. If you’re a tiny school that few people have heard of, you’ll be wasting your time if you recruit the top guys instead of focusing on players in your own state or region.


Of course, recruits don’t decide if they want to play for you right away. You need to stay in touch by putting them on your call list, inviting them to campus, and monitoring their interest. Eventually, depending on how well you do in the courting process, they’ll sign a letter of intent or tell you to buzz off.


I’m not going to explain every last detail of how recruiting works because that would take too many words. If you’re looking for a game with a fair recreation of what actual recruiting probably feels like – the highs, the lows, the excitement, the disappointment, the work – this is the game for you.


If you don’t want to be consumed by recruiting like a real-life college coach, you should probably find a different game.


Presentation
I’ve always found it difficult to make a connection with players in college sims. There are thousands of players from hundreds of schools with all kinds of ratings and stats that you have to sort through to find guys you might want to recruit. It can feel like combing through a spreadsheet.


DDS: PB2’s presentation does as good a job as possible of helping you get to know a player so he doesn’t just feel like a giant glob of text and numbers.
 

Each player has a face photo. His ratings and stats (and there are a lot of them) are organized in a way that makes sense and is easy to read. If you want to add a player to your call list, watch him live, watch him on film, pay him a visit, etc., you can do that easily with one click from the player information screen.

 

DDS College Basketball 2

Player Card – Huskers Shooting Guard


The theme of this review so far has been how much work being a college coach is, especially recruiting. It’s also a lot of work in DDS: CB2, but the game’s presentation makes that work a lot more fun than it otherwise would be.


Gameplay
While everything you do off the court is in-depth, rewarding and very real, on the court leaves you feeling a little empty.


DDS: CB2 suffers from the same thing as its counterpart pro game suffers from: Once the actual games start, you’re pretty much relegated to being a spectator.


Yes, you can set your overall team strategies, depth charts, rotation grids and all that. You can even adjust your strategies during each game, but there are no options to call specific plays on a possession-by-possession basis. It’s frustrating because the game feels so hands-on off the court that you want it to feel just as hands-on on the court.


You want to have the option to control each possession so you can really make sure your recruiting and game-planning strategies pay off. Instead, once the games actually start, it kind of feels like a letdown.


Some players might like the more distant approach to the actual games. I guess that’s a personal preference. But it’d be nice to at least have the option to immerse yourself into each game with specific playcalling.


Final Word
If you’re looking to dive headfirst into all the ins and outs of being a college basketball coach, this game is more than worth your time. The depth and realism of recruiting is amazing and the all the other little things that represent the good and bad of college coaching are well-represented.


If you get scared off by in-depth player research and daily grind type of activities and would rather just call plays during a game, you might want to look elsewhere.


Everything that makes DDS: CB2 great will likely scare some people off. It’s very realistic, probably too realistic for some. Not everyone is going to be patient or dedicated enough to do the work required to recruit and maintain a successful program.


Those who do want to put in the time will appreciate the game’s presentation and immersion making their jobs more enjoyable.

 

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Adam Czech works in public affairs and is a freelance sports reporter in the Twin Cities. When Adam isn't working, he's getting yelled at by his wife for playing too many GM sims and watching too much pro wrestling from the 1980s and 90s. Sideways looks from Adam's wife and blank stares of confusion from his friends haven’t deterred Adam from continuing to dive deeper and deeper into the GM sim world. Adam has lost track of how many GM sims he owns. Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf…heck, even pro wrestling and horse racing. If there’s a text sim for it, he's probably owned it at one time. Finally, don't be shy. If you have a topic you'd like Adam to discuss or a hidden-gem of a game, let him know he'll gladly look into it. Adam also covers the Green Bay Packers at AllGreenBayPackers.com.