In-home visits can be underrated in a player's recruitment. While some recruits put the most stock in their official visits to campus, others appreciate coaching staffs coming to their house for a personal chat. Maarty Leunen, the versatile 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward from Redmond, Ore., has had a good appreciation of both, and caught us up with how his in-home visits have gone so far.
In addition to taking an official visit to UCLA this past weekend - one of four he will be taking this month - Leunen has hosted three in-home visits so far: from Oregon State, Oregon, and Gonzaga (UCLA will be coming in at the very end of September). It all started when Oregon State head coach Jay John made the drive to Redmond on September 9.
"It went really well," said Leunen. "After they made their little (presentation) about why I should go there, we all went out to dinner and basically forgot all about basketball."
Oregon State has been recruiting Leunen hard, and has been taking the angle of building a personal relationship with Leunen. So it's no surprise that basketball may not necessarily have been a big topic of conversation during their visit. It’s been a bit different with rival Oregon, who made their visit this week on September 15.
"It was good. Coach (Ernie) Kent came over and we went to Coach (Kelly) Bokn's house [Leunen's high school coach] first and talked," said Leunen. "They then came over to my house and made their presentation. There really wasn't anything new - I pretty much know everything about Oregon already."
While Leunen is well-versed in what the Ducks are all about, he still enjoyed the visit and talked with Kent about what might happen on his official visit to the Eugene campus on September 23-25.
"He said that I'll be hanging around with the guys a lot since I've already made an unofficial visit there," said Leunen. "So I don't necessarily need to see the campus or anything. I can do pretty much whatever I want. Sounds pretty good to me."
Oregon's style in recruiting Leunen has been rather straight forward - not anything that's bothered him necessarily, but rather a different approach than what the other schools have shown.
"They're more, I don't want to say pressuring, but they're more on top of you," said Leunen. "They've got a more aggressive recruiting style."
The third school to visit Leunen's Redmond home was Gonzaga, which brought yet another different style in their approach. Head Coach Mark Few and his top assistant made the trip down on September 16.
"Mark Few and Billy Grier came down, and that was a good visit too," said Leunen. "They came down and we talked and we went out to dinner."
Gonzaga has always maintained more of a laid-back style in their recruitment of Leunen. But that style doesn't necessarily bother him.
"They say that I'm their number one guy, so it's nice to hear that," said Leunen.
In general Leunen has enjoyed the in-home visits, which allow him to get a feel for coaching staffs in a different setting than on the phone or on their own turf on campus.
"They're kind of nice in that they get a sense of how you're like and where you come from," said Leunen. "It's kind of cool to have a coach in your house. And it's more relaxed and laid back."
Next up is Leunen's official visit to Gonzaga this weekend. He's looking forwards to the trip.
"It'll just be cool to get a good feel about their campus," said Leunen. "I'll get to meet up with all the players there."
Leunen also indicated that the Gonzaga staff is trying to get Josh Heytvelt and David Pendergraft, who have already verbally committed to the school, to make it to campus for unofficial visits.
Jed Tai is a senior writer with Hoopville.com