Karl Barkley

Website – https://d3direct.substack.com/

Email – dthreedirect@gmail.com

Twitter – @D3Direct

Karl Barkley is the founder of D3 Direct.  D3Direct exists to share the stories of NCAA Division 3 student-athletes and explore their journeys from recruit to the real world. 

D3 Direct is the go-to source for info & advice on D3 recruiting, admissions, and post-grad ventures.  Karl speaks directly to D3 student-athletes and coaches to learn about their college experiences and share those takeaways through the D3 Direct Platform.

Karl played his collegiate basketball at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania where he was a team captain for two seasons. 

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Grab your notebook and a pen as you listen to this episode with Karl Barkley, Founder of D3 Direct.

What We Discuss with Karl Barkley

  • Growing up in Davidson, North Carolina as a fan of the Davidson Wildcats
  • Hitting back to back game winning jump shots as a high school player
  • Not being sure if he wanted to play college basketball because he was focused on academics
  • Eventually realizing that at the D3 level, he could get great academics and still play basketball
  • The criteria he used when selecting a college to attend and how he ended up at Swarthmore
  • Leaving college with the idea of attending law school
  • Everywhere he went, basketball was still a way for him to connect with people
  • The D3 Direct Origin Story
  • How the lack of awareness about D3 basketball across the country inspired him to educate people about the quality of D3 and the opportunities it presents
  • Using Twitter as the medium to share information
  • How he decided on the format for video interviews with D3 athletes
  • Great academics open more doors for student-athletes
  • Athletic scholarships are not the only way to get some or all of your education paid for
  • D1 is not the only way to accomplish your dreams
  • Playing professionally after having played D3
  • The importance of following the pathway of someone who came before you
  • The ease of transferring in today’s college basketball landscape
  • Building his network of D3 contacts and cementing his reputation with that network
  • Being a resource for student athletes and their families from their time as a recruit to when they graduate
  • When should players start attending college camps?
  • Helping players understand the context of what they see from other players on social media
  • Players need to research and put time into making a good decision about where to attend college, but also understand they have the ability to transfer if the fit turns out to be wrong
  • Live your own journey as a student-athlete
  • Working for Pro Skills Basketball in China

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host, Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast Karl Barkley from D3 Direct Karl, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

Karl Barkley: [00:00:12] Thanks Mike. And thanks Jason too. Appreciate you guys having me on.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:16] Absolutely! Excited to have you on and be able to talk about some of the interesting things that you’re doing in the game.

Want to talk to you first about how you got into basketball when you were a kid? Talk to me a little bit about some of your experiences as a young player in the game of basketball.

Karl Barkley: [00:00:33] Sure. Yeah. So growing up I grew up in Davidson, North Carolina, a huge Davidson Wildcats fan. I think some of my earliest basketball memories are just going to those games with my dad.

He was a volunteer trainer for our just doctor for the, for the Wildcats athletic program in general. But the best part of it for me was the baskets. And so as compensation for helping out, he would [00:01:00] get season tickets and we’d go to the game. We’d go to the training room before and after, and I get to meet the players.

So growing up just really had this you know, intimate experience with, with that program and getting to see the game played well up close. So I think from that, you know, started going to the camps in the summer with them at Davidson and playing a little bit of rec league. And so it was kind of this, this summer and summer with the camps winter with the rec league set up.

And that’s how my basketball journey kind of got going.

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:37] Who is your player at Davidson that you really looked up to? Who are you a big fan of growing up? Who’s your favorite guy?

Karl Barkley: [00:01:41]  I feel like was Max Pauladcott. He was number 14. He played on the elite eight team with Steph and was this pretty unheralded member of the squad.

But I think that they called him mad max cause he, he was [00:02:00] so intense invaluable from a defensive perspective, always a guy to get on the floor crazy on an IM guarding the inbounds as the, you know, jumping up and down and you know, not, not a great shooter, but someone that MacKillop Bama killed the coach Davidson would throw out there and was, you know, guaranteed to get his, his top effort.

So max was always my guy and I got to work out with him some which was really fun.

Mike Klinzing: [00:02:29] What was what was the highlight of your high school basketball career?

Karl Barkley: [00:02:34]  I played at north. For a coach that had been there for a while, his name was Dwayne Lewis. And I would say there are a couple of highlights.

I think just one making the team. I was, I was a long shot to make the team in the first place, really good program storied program. And I made JV, it was like a 30 day tryout or something absurd that just stretched from the [00:03:00] start of the trial all the way to the beginning of the season. It was literally like the night before our first game or something like that.

And the, the JV coach hands out a Jersey to me instead of this other guy, and I’m the 16th guy to make the roster and the other guy gets cut. I feel like, so that was just a big moment. I was somewhat of an underdog to make it in the first place. And then I would say as a senior was the other big one, I hit back-to-back game winners.

But I’m back to back nights. The first one was to beat west Charlotte who ended up. That was the only loss they had in the whole season. They went 31 and won and won the state title. And then the next night was against Morrisville who had some more Dijuan guys. West Charlotte had a number of them, including like Kennedy Meeks who played at Carolina.

And so, yeah, that was, I got written up in the paper, got interviewed.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:58] Nice, not many people get to [00:04:00] hit one game winner, let alone two and let alone back to back.

Karl Barkley: [00:04:03] Yeah. It was very surreal. I w I went from being like the, kind of an afterthought, like, you know, I wasn’t really, I think my career high was like 16 or something and it was, it was that second game, winter game.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:20] Jumpers. Layups. What, what kind of shots were

Karl Barkley: [00:04:22] they? Both threes. First one was like, right on the line from the right. Second one was, it was a deep one from the left.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:30] You got them out. Do you have video?

Karl Barkley: [00:04:32] I do. Yeah.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:35] Do you have kids?

Karl Barkley: [00:04:37] I don’t. No,

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:37]  All right. Well, so, so wait, do you have kids, then you can pull those videos out and show them to me.

They look, look what dad used to be able to do.

Karl Barkley: [00:04:44] Exactly. Yeah. I got proof somewhere.

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:46] The one high school game winner is actually in the last game of my senior year and hits our biggest rival and the, but at the buzzer of overtime from about probably halfway between the top of the key and the center [00:05:00] circle as the buzzer’s going off the balls in the air.

And I have it, it just happened to be a game that was like televised on like the local cable access channel. So there’s reporters, you know, I mean, there’s, there’s announcers in the game. So every once in a while, when my kids start giving me trouble, I’ll be like, Hey, remember dad used to be, I used to be pretty good at this game too.

So I have to tell him that. Tell him your favorite part of the video though. Mike, what’s the favorite part of your video? Oh, pat, pat, pat use athletic custodian. So there’s a guy who you see the shots I’m dribbling down. It’s kind of the traditional basketball, you know, shot of the video. And I take the shot in the background, kind of like underneath the basket and in sort of the hallway side of the hallway, but like the space between the wall and the bleachers, as you’re heading back towards the locker room, this guy who was the custodian, he’s holding like a, you know, like one of those big brooms that you use to sweep a gym floor and the ball goes in the basket and he like jumps up there [00:06:00] older mean older guy.

Who’s probably the sixties jumps up, both hands above his head. And his mom goes, you know, as mop goes flying as the, as the shot goes on. So it’s one of those things that, like, I remember it, but now I’d probably remember the video even more than I remember the actual. The actual moment, but it’s cool to have it.

It’s cool to have it on tape. You’ll appreciate it more and more as, as time goes on, for sure.

Karl Barkley: [00:06:24] Yeah, no, I’m with you on the remembering the, the video more than the moment. What I remember from the moment more than anything was in the second game, the first one was, was, you know, my guy went to double our, one of our better players who had the ball.

And so I was open and he, he turned around and pitched it back and I hit it the second game though, we were, I think we were tied. Yeah, we were tied late and I was guarding this, this good player and was trying to cut them off as he’s dribbling up the sideline. There’s like seven, eight seconds [00:07:00] left and I get a blocking foul and, and they’re in the bonus.

So he goes to line hits to freeze. So I went from being like, you know, and so

Mike Klinzing: [00:07:13] you were the hero one night and now you’re the goat  the next night.

Karl Barkley: [00:07:15] And then I just remember coming off the court and one of my teammates going you better be glad you made that shot because yeah, it would have been a, it would’ve been a really tough way to follow up.

What was a fun night, the night before?

Mike Klinzing: [00:07:30] That is very funny. All right. So as your high school career comes to a close, obviously the game of basketball has been important to you. What’s your thought process as far as continuing your connection to the game? Did you have an opportunity at any point? Look at AI, what am I going to do as a player moving forward?

Just what was your mentality there at the, at the, as your high school career is coming to an end?

Karl Barkley: [00:07:54] Yeah, to be totally honest, I mean, school always came first growing [00:08:00] up in my family and I wasn’t positive. I wanted to play college basketball, which was now looking back is kind of strange to think about, cause I ultimately enjoy the experience so much, but when I was looking at colleges initially, you know, I put together a list of schools.

I was interested in and, and some of those were just for school and you know, some in North Carolina around the area. But I think ultimately what, what changed my mind was I started getting some recruiting interests. I found some camps up in the Northeast, you know, cause there’s just not a lot of exposure in the Charlotte area for division three schools.

So I found some Exposure camps up in the Northeast, which I think gave me a better compromise between academics and athletics. And it was the first time that I saw, okay. I don’t really, I don’t have to compromise to, or give one up at the college level. I can get both at some of these schools [00:09:00] that I was starting to get recruited by.

And, yeah, I think that was really fun to, to realize. And then after that, get on campus, play with the guys, understand that I could fit in at that level with where my game was and, and yeah, just get to see a bunch of cool places that had a lot to offer and some great programs.

Mike Klinzing: [00:09:20] What was the criteria that you ultimately use to make your decision?

Karl Barkley: [00:09:23] Yeah, I was looking for school that was near a city. That was a big one for me. Not, not like in the city but with access to it. So. Yeah. And then I think definitely on the smaller side, my high school was big. It was like 20, over 2,500 kids, I want to say. And yeah. So something, you know, around that size.

And then I feel like the last one was just in general high academic school that I could get a great [00:10:00] education at. And so, yeah, those are, those are probably my three biggest criteria.

Mike Klinzing: [00:10:06] So when you think about your college career, what were some of your highlights as a college player? And what was the initial adjustment like for you going to the college level?

Both maybe academically, socially on the basketball floor.

Karl Barkley: [00:10:23] Yeah, both good questions. I think the, on the first one highlight for me, you know, I had some. I had some good individual games, some good shooting games. I feel like the biggest highlight though, for me personally, is in looking back on all of it is probably just my senior year when I was the, I was the only senior on the team.

We had a big freshman class, five guys, and I think the highlight was just getting to watch those guys grow up and get getting to be a part of their development as the captain of the [00:11:00] team. And knowing that, you know, we only went 11 and 14, I think on the season. But up to that point, that was my best finish.

I’d been three and 22 as a freshmen seven and 18 as a sophomore eight and 17 as a junior. And so to close it out, we, we were, we were playing well at the end of the year. And I think, like I said, just getting to watch them grow and develop and then walk away from my senior year. You know, knowing that they, I told them at the end of the season, Because we lost on a buzzer beater in our last game against our rival.

But I, I told him in the locker room, I was like, you guys are going to be the winningest class in program history. And they were, but then now the guys that were freshmen when they were seniors have surpassed them and obviously Swarthmore has gone to be a pretty great program, but I feel like that’s my highlight, looking back is just getting to take part in their development and their growth.

Mike Klinzing: [00:11:59] Yeah. And sort of the [00:12:00] Ascension of the program. Right. I think that’s something that always, when you can look back on the program that you participated in and now see that they’ve excelled and been able to go maybe a place that when you first got there, that maybe you couldn’t have imagined that they’d have been able to get to.

I’m sure that’s exciting as an alum to be able to look back on that and just say, Hey, that’s something that, you know, I was a part of, maybe I was a small part of it. I somehow contributed to that. And it sounds like that mentality that you had a feeling a sense of pride at being able to help those freshmen develop when you were a senior, that sounds like the mindset of a coach.

So what was your thought as you finished up your college career, what what’d you major in? What was your, what was your thought in terms of where you were going to go with the game of basketball when your college career was over, how were you going to keep yourself involved in the game? Because obviously it’s clear that, that you had a passion for it.

Karl Barkley: [00:12:57] Yeah. I mean, I feel like, so [00:13:00] I was a poly-sci major. I minored in art history and the thought for me was always law school. Post-college I think after my playing career was over, I was ready to take a little bit of a break from basketball. I was, my body was beat up and I, yeah, I think I wanted to try something a little bit.

Yeah. So, like I said, law school had been a focus. I ended up working on getting a job at a law firm as a paralegal, kind of the normal pattern is that you work as a paralegal at one of these big firms, try to you know, after two years go to law school or work your way into, into a good section there.

And then you get another job out of that. But I think, you know, that love for the game always came back and I was in DC and I think this goes for any city that I’ve been in after graduation, but in DC in [00:14:00] particular, basketball was a way that I could immediately make friends and network and just find, find interesting people.

So found a men’s league was playing on the weekends a lot playing during the week. And so when I thought, you know, I was ready to kind of give it up and move on to something. It was still, it was still right there and still you’re still in your blood. Right? Exactly. And, and, and something that I loved and you know, really enjoyed using as a way to meet new people.

But yeah, I didn’t do any coaching.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:32] So how does D3 Direct, where does the idea for that come from? Where does the inspiration strike you? Is it a moment where all of a sudden you’re like, Hey, I should start doing this, or was it more of, well, I did this one little thing and now people start talking about, Hey, that’s pretty cool.

And maybe you can do more of that or just, what was, what’s the origin story?

Karl Barkley: [00:14:53] Yeah. So I was actually, my roommate’s little sister was [00:15:00] in the midst of her junior high school season. And I, she had my roommate had her sister on speaker and they were talking about how. You know, she was getting recruited by this coach or wasn’t sure where she wanted to play.

And I just said, well, let me talk to her for a second. Like, I, let me see if I can help out. And so I ended up talking to her for like 45 minutes and just figuring, you know, asking questions, like, where do you want to play? What, what type of school do you want to go to? And I S and she, there were a lot of idle knows, but I just said, okay, well you think about these couple of questions and then let’s talk again.

And so by the next time we talk, she had thought a little more and I’d put together some, like, based on what I was hearing, some schools that I thought could fit and we made a list for, and then, you know, I stayed in touch a couple of months later, she ended up getting a few offers and then [00:16:00] ultimately decided to, to on a, on a school that that was a good fit for her.

Out of that experience. I was just like, I got two things, one, it was really fun to, to do that and to help her figure out what she liked and, and, and also remind her that she was capable of playing at the next level. I think that was really enjoyable. And then the second thing was she gave me a lot of good feedback and was thankful for the advice.

And you know, it made me feel like I was knowledgeable and that I had something to offer. And so I just decided to start trying to give out free information in a similar, similar manner, but more generalized via Twitter. And, yeah, so that was it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:16:45] Was it an immediate realization that, Hey, this is, this is something that I could see becoming more than me just helping out one person.

Like, like, did you sense that immediately as you were in the [00:17:00] process or was it after the fact of, you had kind of gotten through the whole thing with her that you kind of retrospectively looked back and said, Hey, that’s something that I could not just do for her, but I could do for maybe a lot of kids.

Karl Barkley: [00:17:12] Yeah, no, I think it was, I think, I think what I realized is like, as you know, in my own process, as I was mentioning about the camps in the Northeast, like growing up in Charlotte, there’s not a huge D3 presence. Right. You have Queens university, which is a D two school. You have UNC, which is a D one school.

You got Davidson, which is D one, which you don’t have, like, you don’t have a large, that large cluster, D three is like you do in the Northeast. So there’s, for me, it was, there was a ton of learning that I had to do on my own. And I think as I was working with my roommates little sister, I was just like, why can’t I.

You know, I’m going to, why don’t I just go out on the internet and try to be the person that I wish I had had as a resource during my own recruitment process [00:18:00] and, you know, one that would be really useful for people, because I know that tons of people are asking these same questions that, that she is.

And yeah, I think once you put it out on the internet, it’s a lot more accessible. And that, I think part of it was also like, how do I, how do I make these opportunities more accessible for people? Because w I view my experience at Swarthmore is somewhat life-changing right. It connected me with a great network of people.

I got to play basketball at a high level, and I got a great education in the process. And I, but I just don’t think nationally, there’s a lot of awareness amongst I’m going to stay basketball in particular. But I think in general high school, yeah. High school athletics community about division three and what that level offers to people beyond just the chance to keep playing your sport.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:53] I could not agree more with you on that, in that people are totally uneducated because [00:19:00] the basketball world is so focused on division one and what you see on TV. And that’s what people hear about. That’s what people think about.

That’s what people see. That’s what people aspire to. That it’s amazing. The number of division three coaches that we’ve talked to on the podcast that are having conversations with kids who think they’re better than the division three level and that the division three level is beneath them. And yet these coaches will tell us that we’ll sit with them in a meeting or we’ll talk to them on the phone.

And they’ve never even seen a division three game. So they have no, I mean, they’re not basing it on any actual, real knowledge. And then you start thinking about. The different schools and different geographic locations where those schools are. And to your point, the lack of knowledge about what those schools can offer academically athletically, what the coaching staffs look like.

All those things is information that anybody who’s trying to make a decision [00:20:00] is going to benefit from. So when you started to put together your database of information, how did you go about getting the type of information that you felt was going to be valuable for the players that you wanted to work with?

And what are some of those things that when you go out and you re research a particular school or particular program, what are the things that you’re looking to take away from that research that you can then share with kids?

Karl Barkley: [00:20:29] Yeah, I think initially I just, I, you know, after I’ve finished up with my. With the helping out my roommates, little sister and her process, I think I just spent a couple of nights and would open a word document and try to recap my process and think about what did I do? What was helpful? Where did I, where did I trip up? Where did I fail? And then my first initial exercise was okay, I’m going to tweet for 30 days straight.

[00:21:00] And every day I’m going to offer one tip that I have now recorded or from this initial thought process. And obviously, you know, you start on Twitter. You don’t really get any feedback, but I did start to do some research and think about whom, who else is out there, right? I’m not the only person that’s done a division three done this had this experience, right?

Why don’t I? Yes, yes. I can offer stuff from my own perspective, but what if I crowdsource this? What if I do interviews with other division three athletes who. You know, had the same sports experience as me, but maybe a totally different academic experience and at a totally different school. And so I think from that, it’s, it’s augmented what I’m able to provide because I hear other people’s stories.

I, I gain, you know, kind of an understanding of what they went through, whether it’s from a financial aid perspective or, you know, what recruiting camps they went to [00:22:00] or what coaches they talked to. And so I think that’s, that’s how I’ve been able to keep, keep rolling with this is, is it’s grown beyond me and it’s this knowledge base that, you know, more and more people have access to.

And it goes beyond just what I know, which I think helps it helps it have legs and helps to keep growing.

Mike Klinzing: [00:22:22] What made you decide that social media was the vehicle? That you wanted to use to get it out to the world initially. Was there any thought of doing it any other way? Like initially building a website, trying to, trying to build an email list or was it just, you just thought, Hey, social media it’s right there.

I’m familiar with it. I know that it can be something that can do it’s cheap obviously is a factor. So was it always social media or did you consider some other ways maybe to get things started?

Karl Barkley: [00:22:57]  I think that’s a great question. I think [00:23:00] initially when I settled on the interviews and settled on, you know, talking to former D three players, I did think hard about doing a podcast.

And I talked to a couple of people where my head ultimately went was I wanted this to be, you know, w how does it, how would a high schooler watch this? Right? Like, who’s my target audience. It’s high schoolers. It’s parents. It’s people that need this information. And I just feel like my thought initially was that people don’t have very long attention spans.

And aren’t going to sit here and clue into a really long interview. How do I bring the most interesting clip to them in a video form and put that out on social media and not to say that like, you know, long form, I think long form is great. And I think that’s where I’m moving. I’m going to start [00:24:00] doing some more blogging, some more writing in long form.

And I’m posting the long form interviews onto YouTube, but I think initially it was just like, how do I get people’s attention and, and present to them the most useful one and a half minute, two minute clip from what this former division three women’s basketball player had to say, or this division three football player had to say about their recruiting process and their.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:28] So the first few videos that you put out, what were some of the things that those athletes share that you thought were the most compelling for you to get out initially as sort of the first wave of what you put out there?

Karl Barkley: [00:24:41] Yeah, so the, the first guy I worked with his name was, or that I talked to, his name was Rob Anderson.

He was played at Caltech who was a another kind of historically bad program that is now on the rise. But more known for their academic prowess than their [00:25:00] athletic prowess. And Rob, you know, was, it was a good basketball player. I got to play with him once, but he was also into robotics and built a car while he was at Caltech and was doing all these cool things.

And I think had started a robotics company post-grad and so I just loved that story and wanted to bring him on. And then.

Mike Klinzing: [00:25:25] Yeah, I think when you talk about the, like the uniqueness of, especially the, the academic piece of a division three school, and that you just have, it obviously attracts, you know, a different sort of a different sort of athlete, a different sort of academic, you know, student.

So to be able to get that piece of it out in front of people and be able to hear those, those personal perspective, instead of just hearing some statistics or hearing this or that, to be able to hear an [00:26:00] actual athlete who went through it, I’m sure is tremendously valuable to anybody. Who’s going to go through the decision-making process and trying to figure things out.

How do you go about contacting or finding the athletes that. You end up interviewing what’s that process like for you at least initially, maybe it’s different now where now maybe people are reaching out to you, whereas I’m sure initially that wasn’t the case. So just how has that process, how’d you get that process started then?

Maybe? How has it evolved if it has at all?

Karl Barkley: [00:26:29] Yeah, I would say initially it was, there was a research element to it. I mean, the second guy I talked to was his name was Brandon Federici and, you know, I wanted to highlight D three grads who are doing interesting things in the world. And so I felt like Rob Anderson from Caltech, that, that bill he’s, he starts a robotics company.

Right. I, Brandon I played against, he was a freshmen when I was a senior, he played for Franklin and Marshall and was just this [00:27:00] prolific score guarded them a couple of times and saw that he was, he had played in Italy after graduating and had taken Italian while at Franklin and Marshall and. You know, had, had blogged a little bit about his experience and Franklin and Marshall had highlighted that.

And I was just struck by, you know, not only did I know this person, but also how cool the story was and used it as a chance to get to know him a little better and say, you know, maybe we were, we were competitive with each other in college and never really were friends, but Hey, we have a lot in common and let’s reach out.

This is as much of a conversation as it is highlighting your ability as a division three player to not only learn this other language while you’re playing basketball in college, but then to go out and use it and live out this incredible experience in Italy. You know, and it’s been [00:28:00] fun to see where his career has gone, but I think since then, And as I keep doing this, a lot of it comes from word of mouth, just talking to different coaches or players.

And someone says, oh, you know, this was fun, but like, I got a guy you need to talk to next. Or you know, someone will send me an article about someone, or honestly, I’ve been following a lot of, a lot more  sports, I guess, accounts since or than I ever have in my life. And I’m just a lot more tuned into the storylines and kind of what’s going on.

So I think it’s been a mix, but definitely the word of mouth has been fun. And, and some of the organic connections and friendships that I’ve been able to make through this.

Mike Klinzing: [00:28:45] Yeah. It sounds like your experience has kind of similar to ours with the podcast. And we had no idea, Jason and I started this thing, honestly, when, and this was back in 2018, And it initially was a youth basketball parenting [00:29:00] podcast.

That was kind of the initial idea was that we were going to help people to be able to navigate the youth basketball world and how to pick an AAU program and how to look for a camp and just, you know, how you should behave yourself as a parent and things that, you know, you should do to help your kid have a better experience.

And that was kind of the idea. And he, and I would just pull a topic out and then the two of us would talk. And then we had in the back of our mind that we wanted to do some interviews at some point. And once we had our first couple interviews, we ended up getting a chance to talk to Alan Stein early on.

And we had a chance. We had a chance to talk to Greg white, who was a high school coach in Arkansas. And then we had our own networks here and it quickly became an interview show. And then once you had a couple people on with, you know, being able to interview, then what ended up happening was. Those people then shared what you know, they, they shared with us people that were in their contact list of, Hey, you should talk to, you should talk to this person.

[00:30:00] And we had a good experience. It’s kind of like you said, you know, once people start talking and they start sharing, and then they’re connecting you with interesting people that you didn’t even know existed, or maybe their names that you’re like, oh, I didn’t even know. Would you have an opportunity to talk to them?

But because they know this person and that’s what really ends up being a very cool piece of this whole thing. And it sounds like that’s exactly how it’s transpired for you. So let’s talk about the other end of it. That’s how you’re getting people to be a part of your videos. How are you then going about getting it?

How do people find you? How are you finding people that are finding the videos and finding value? And then what kind of feedback do you get from those people? They reach out to you and say, Hey, I found a lot of value in the content that you’re putting out. What’s that side of the process.

Karl Barkley: [00:30:47] Yeah, no, I mean, the feedback has been great.

I, and kind of getting to engage with people, whether it’s direct message or comments or I think, yeah. You know, some of it [00:31:00] also has been instructive to people will ask great questions that maybe I’m stumped on in the moment. And I just say, okay, well, that’s a good question. I’ll go look it up and then I’ll get back to them on the answer.

And then it may be inspires some, some tweets or, you know, an interview on a different topic. And so, yeah, that’s been fun. It’s always great to get a, get a DM to say, you know, I just got an offer from this school. I’ve been helping people draft emails to coaches on the side and Someone will send me a draft and I’ll just look over it and they’ll say, Hey, it worked, you know, or I did this tip and out of camp and I got this result or something.

And like, I think that’s the most gratifying part. And when I have wanted to take breaks with this, or when things have slowed down, I think that’s what, that’s, what makes it, you know, enjoyable and worth continuing.

Mike Klinzing: [00:31:54] What are some of the best pieces of advice that you feel like in general, things [00:32:00] that if you had to share advice with a perspective division three athlete, what are some things that you think are important for them to consider when they’re making their school decision?

Karl Barkley: [00:32:10] Yeah, I think, I think first and foremost, it’s just academics. Like you can’t, you can’t stress how important good grades are to your, the choices, the number of choices that you’ll have. Right. I, you know, obviously being a great player increases the number of choices. That you’ll probably have as a recruit, but being an easy acceptance at a school is what makes it a no-brainer for a coach to recruit you.

If it’s going to be a huge struggle for them to get you through the admissions process, then you know, there’s probably a better player out there that they’re going to there. They’re going to spend their time on to, to work through the admissions process. And it isn’t you. And I think if there’s anything I can stress, it’s just [00:33:00] start on your academics early and, and be that guy or, or woman that is a no-brainer based on the academic profile that you, you put forward and, you know, make just basically make it easy on the coach.

Mike Klinzing: [00:33:22] Do you think that message is out there? I mean, when you. When you initially talked to people or you have conversations just in general, in the basketball world. I mean, it seems, as you said, it seems like it’s a no brainer. It seems like it’s common sense that, Hey, if I’ve taken care of my academics, I’m going to have a wider range of choices in schools that I can consider.

But do you find that sometimes kids and parents are surprised that their basketball ability alone isn’t enough to get them what they want out of their college experience?

Karl Barkley: [00:33:52] Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s true. And it is unfortunate. I mean, I think you were talking about kind of the division one [00:34:00] focus of the sports culture in our country.

And I think what goes hand in hand with that is, is this lack of attention to academics. And I think you could put that on the players, but that, that goes to the adults in, in all these situations. Just as much, you know, it’s the AAU coach that, that runs a late practice and. Doesn’t give their kids time to do homework or, you know, parents who need to be emphasizing both, not just the, not just the athletic side of it, but making sure their kids are getting their schoolwork done.

And, you know, high school coaches, it’s the same way. Like all of these people have a responsibility, not just to make their, the, the kids under their supervision, integrate athletes, but also great students. And, you know, yeah, so much is made of the athletic scholarship. But what, one thing that I’ve tried to highlight as much as I can on this program, and there are a ton of [00:35:00] people doing the same thing on Twitter.

I think of Chadwick Hixon, you know, first and foremost, among them who was just putting out great information, especially for student athletes in Georgia about financial aid, but it’s just like the benefits of being a good student go well beyond just getting into school it’s you can go to school for free even if you don’t get an athletic scholarship, so yeah, maybe a little, little I guess,

Mike Klinzing: [00:35:28] There’s just such an education piece of it in terms of making sure people are aware of that fact, because so many people get caught up again and I’ve got to get an athletic scholarship and that’s how I, that’s how I get, that’s how I get to school.

And there are certainly other ways to go about getting a great education and also having a great basketball experience. I think there’s still because of just the mentality and what’s out there. There’s that division one or bust mantra that’s out there and [00:36:00] people don’t always see that. Look, Hey, if I’m not playing at a school that everybody’s heard of and I’m playing in smaller gyms, I could still have.

A tremendous basketball experience and I can have a tremendous academic experience and come out the other side of it with a valuable degree, that’s going to help me to get a great job. And I’m going to get to play four years of basketball. And maybe I’m going to have an even better experience than I would have had if I’d go to a higher level, because I’m going to get more opportunities.

Maybe I start a year earlier, or maybe I have a bigger role than I would have had if I’m up a level. And I think ultimately it comes down to, you have to find the right fit and you can define that however you want, there’s an athletic fit. There’s an academic fit, all that, you know, all that is a part of it.

And it’s just, you know, it is what it is. And if you can find the right place for you, and if you, as  direct can help to facilitate that. I mean, that’s really, [00:37:00] that’s really what it’s all about is trying to give kids the best experience that you possibly can.

Karl Barkley: [00:37:04] Right? Yeah. And it’s all about information too.

Just helping kids realize that, you know, pull the, pull the curtain back on division one scholarships in a way and help them understand that, you know, there are only a handful of, of division three sport or sorry, division one sports that actually even offer full ride scholarships. Like, you know, I think it’s five, I want to say, or six where, and men’s basketball and women’s basketball are among those.

So I think, but, but you know, ultimately if you aren’t playing one of those sports, you might be better off going to a D two D three or NAIA school. Cause you you’ll graduate with less debt potentially. And yeah, it’s just, I think it’s like it’s very much an oversold dream, the  bus vision and Yeah, it’s not the only way for people to accomplish their goals.

Like I think one thing I try to highlight is, is division three athletes that have gone [00:38:00] pro out of school because that’s something, you know, a lot of kids grow up with the dream to play professionally and, you know, for, for many people that, that means trying to go to the NBA, which is obviously a pipe dream.

But I’ve loved learning about these stories of division three athletes who, you know, got, like you said, got a great chance to play in college. They weren’t, they weren’t benchwarmers, they were contributors. And then they came out and, and they’ve played in multiple countries around the world and, and got paid to do it.

And, you know, maybe they weren’t making millions of dollars, but they made a respectable living. And then they got to come back to the U S or wherever they wanted to settle down and use that degree that they, they worked for that was valuable. And and then, you know, roll over into. Into a career in corporate America and try to find something that fits there.

But yeah, there are some there’s so many outcomes that I think it just opens you up to a better, a [00:39:00] better set of opportunities than, than just strictly trying to focus on athletics and pursue that, that D one that D one dream,

Mike Klinzing: [00:39:08] I think you made a great point about being able to play professionally coming out of division three.

I think that those opportunities have certainly expanded as the game of basketball continues to grow, become more and more popular around the world. There’s more and more leagues, more and more opportunities for guys to play. And again, are you going to go and make a million dollars a year overseas?

Probably not, but could you go over there for a year, two years, three years, make some decent money and have a cultural experience that not many people at the ages of 22, 23, 24, 25. Get an opportunity to go and live in another country and expand their horizons and just see what other parts of the world are like in that, just from a life experience standpoint, the value of that, when you, as you said, when you come back and you end up getting a quote, unquote real job, the value [00:40:00] of having better than other country and, and adapt to that culture.

I mean, it’s, it’s just the, the value of that is, is unmatched. And then I think, again, if you have the opportunity to do it, you do it while you’re young, right? You do it when you’re 23 and you don’t have a family and you can, you can afford to go out and, and not make a huge salary, which you’re probably not going to, no matter what you do.

And you just have something that you can put in your back pocket that not many people get the opportunity to do. And those, those chances are far more prevalent than they were. 20 or 30 years ago, just because there’s a lot more leagues and a lot more opportunities to go play.

Karl Barkley: [00:40:39] Definitely. And I, and, but I think there is an, you know, we talk about information gaps with, with recruiting and college admissions, but I think there’s also an information gap there at the pro level where, you know, at least from the guys I’ve talked to and from the women’s basketball players, I’ve talked to, it’s all about finding one other person who’s done it.

[00:41:00] And then that’s your pathway, right? Like, you know, Brandon Federici to use that example again, he reached out to some other Centennial conference guys and just said, look, what did you do? Like what, how did you find an agent? What did you know? Did you need to put a highlight tape together? If so, like how long was it?

Who’d you send it to, did you go to training camp? You know, all these questions that again, it’s like, how do we crowdsource that information? Because there are opportunities available and, and make them more apparent so that, that people from the division three level can take advantage.

Mike Klinzing: [00:41:31] Yeah, it’s a great point.

I think a lot of times, especially if it’s your first time going through it and probably division three coaches, just as a general stereotype, probably are not going to be as familiar with that process as maybe a division one coach would be simply because of, again, the number of players that might get that opportunity.

So you do have to find somebody who’s kind of a role model. Somebody that’s a trailblazer that you can say, Hey, this guy, or this girl did it this way. Maybe if I can [00:42:00] reach out to them and they can help me and figure out how to connect me with the right people, then I can get that opportunity to go and play.

And. Like you said, then you come back from there and you’ve got a valuable degree from a good university. If you’ve made it, you know, if you made a good choice back when you were 18, you’re going to have, you’re going to have full, you know, you’re gonna have both things, you know what I mean? You’re going to, you’re gonna have both things.

And then the other interesting part of it is you start thinking about the way that college basketball is changing with the transfer Porter, old portal and all those kinds of things that look, if you go to play division three and you end up being a really good division three player, you have a desire to move up a level.

Like those opportunities are there now, too. And I think that even far more than they were in the past, simply because whatever, whether it’s the stigma of being a transfer or whatever it may be, it’s just like, that’s all gone away. So if you want to go to a higher level [00:43:00] and you’ve been a great division three player for two years, and you really want to go somewhere else, that opportunity probably is going to present itself as well.

Karl Barkley: [00:43:09] Absolutely. Yeah. Things were a lot more fluid than they were, I think, you know, even 10 years ago. I agree. And like you said, that stigma is, is gone. I think, you know, I will say there is more of a four year emphasis at the division three level, which, which for sure, personally, I’m biased. That was what I did.

I loved it, you know, and it was a way to, to really get to know a place, get to know the people, get to know the community and you know, that’s somewhere that I it’s like a second home can always go back to and have a deep connection to that program. But, but at the same time, you make a great point that I think the levels between D one D two D three and AIA Juco are all blurring a little more than they used to.

And, and those pathways whether it’s because you know, D [00:44:00] three coaches are former, do you want assistance? Like my coach Lee. Or, you know, a oldest Lassie at McAllister who I interviewed who, who had experienced, you know, at the D one level with Davidson and Sienna. You know, there there’s that crossover and they’re just more people I think that are, are connected and aware of, of where people fit and, and have knowledge about how to help people realize dreams if they do want to move up.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:27] I do think that you’re a hundred percent, right. In terms of, when you talk about building a program, it’s nice to be able to have players for four years. And I think that in an ideal situation, most coaches would prefer to build their program. In that way, the reality probably says that not everybody can do that because all you gotta do is look at the division one transfer portal and realize that that becomes very, very difficult.

And we also see that sort of jumping around. We see that expanding down into the lower levels of the game, whether it’s high school [00:45:00] players that are playing at multiple high schools or people jumping from one 18 to the other. And we see that all the time at the, at the grassroots and the high school level more far more than what we used to.

And so you’re starting to see that, as you said, it’s blurred the lines between the different levels in college. So I guess the point here is, is that you probably even have more so than when even 10 years ago when you were, when you were in college, where if you do end up making a choice that for whatever reason ends up not being the right fit, you have an opportunity to probably fix it, but you’re better off.

If you do find the right place coming out of high school, you’re going to be far better off. Have you found, have you started to build relationships with. With coaches. So we’ve kind of talked about, you know, the players that you’re getting a chance to interview and talk to and gain information from. And then the players who are coming to you and families that are coming to you for information, have you started to build relationships with division three coaches where they [00:46:00] can help you provide even more information and just to be able to navigate that whole, that whole thing.

What’s the, what’s the relationship with coaches? Have you started to explore that piece of it yet?

Karl Barkley: [00:46:11] Sure. And sorry, someone’s shooting fireworks off,

Mike Klinzing: [00:46:13] right? It’s all. It’s all good. See, the nice part is, is that when I’ve taught, as long as I’m talking and you’re not, that’ll be edited out without any problem at all.

So hopefully they won’t shoot off as many when you’re talking. So I

Karl Barkley: [00:46:25] know

Mike Klinzing: [00:46:26] if not, if not, we’re celebrating a great podcast, Carl, that’s

Karl Barkley: [00:46:30] the way there you go. No, on the, on the networking side of it. Yeah. I’ve had a chance. To meet some great people. I think I came in with a good division three network, partially because I, as I mentioned, going to Davidson basketball camp as a kid, as a camper when I was younger.

And I, I think I went from the time I was six or seven until, you know, I was a junior in high school. So I got to know these coaches year after [00:47:00] year that are there. And Davidson does a great job of bringing in staff from all different levels from different countries. And there were a ton of T3 coaches throughout the years that I got to interact with and that I’m still in touch with.

And then after I, I guess, went to college, I would come home in the summer and to make a little extra money. I would coach at the camp and, you know, I was coaching the little kids, but at night, got to play with some of the other coaches we’d run, pick up or some of the Davids and guys and. Through that network, some of those former players have become coaches.

You know, some of the, some of the other camp counselors who were there are now D three head coaches. So I feel like from that, I had a great starting network and you know, through, through them again, word of mouth has been the best, the best resource. I’ve just gotten to know friends of friends and got their recommendations on cool stories or people I should talk to.

And so that’s, [00:48:00] that’s been another fun side of it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:48:01] Has that been the big, has that been the biggest value of that network of coaches is connecting you to people that you can then interview and glean more of your information from, is that sort of how you’ve utilized the network at this point?

Karl Barkley: [00:48:14] Yeah, absolutely.  And I think also it’s just a, it’s a character check for me that if, if I’m getting a recommendation from someone who I’ve known for that long and they’re vouching for this person, then yeah. You know, I feel a lot better bringing them on and giving them a platform and, and highlighting what they’re doing.

You know, I want to give, I want to get people that are, that are out there doing good stuff in the world that chance to promote themselves and, and talk about their program and what they’re trying to build, because I recognize it is it is kind of a recruiting pitch and an advertising moment in some ways.

And so I just, yeah, I think, I think as much as anything, it’s a voucher of, of credibility and that these guys are, are good people.

[00:49:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:49:00] All right. I want to ask a two part question part one, give us a, give us an elevator pitch for I’m somebody who’s never heard of D three direct I’m a player and parents.

I’m a, I’m a family of a kid who is considering playing division three college basketball. And I hear about D three direct, but I’m not sure exactly what it is. Give us the 30 second / one minute elevator pitch on what the three direct is. And then we’ll follow that up with the next part of it is where do you see it going?

What’s your vision for the future two years down the road? How do you see it changing? Are there things you’re considering adding? So we’ll kind of where are you now and where do you see it going?

Karl Barkley: [00:49:49] Sure. Yeah, I think in terms of the elevator pitch, it’s, it’s basically, you know what I mentioned earlier, it’s like, I want to be the resource for, for the families.

And for the student athlete, [00:50:00] from, from the time that they’re recruit through college and all the way into the, into the real world, right? Show them that, you know, by starting early, arming them with quality information and helping them to make informed choices. College admissions process that that can really open up the door to not only a great athletic and academic career in college, but also just a wealth of opportunities.

And whether it’s networking career you know, pro athletes, athletic whatever it may be after graduation, but helping them understand that an informed choice in the college admissions process can lead to some great outcomes afterwards. And I would say in terms of where I want this to go, I’m still working on it.

I’m not, I don’t think I’m in a rush to, you know, monetize or I’ve had a lot of people ask me that question recently. And, and I think I’m, I’m just continuing to. [00:51:00] To network, to reach out, to ask questions, to understand what people want to know and how they best digest it. I think something, like I mentioned earlier, I’m going to start doing a little more blogging and a little more long form writing to, to answer people’s questions and the things that I, you know, get, get very frequently in via DM on Twitter or Instagram and try to highlight some of those answers there so that people can just make that information more accessible.

But yeah, I think I’m just enjoying, rolling with it now and gonna continue to, to grow out the, the interview series and see where it goes. I think at this point, yeah. I’m not, not in a rush to do anything too drastic. It’s just, it’s been fun. So, yeah.

Mike Klinzing: [00:51:50] Yeah, absolutely. I think when you start something out as a passion project yeah.

You know that regardless of [00:52:00] what it is or isn’t, or what it’s going to turn into, that you want to continue to do it. And that’s kind of how we felt with the podcast is, you know, we eventually reached a point where we want it to be able to monetize it. And we’ve been able to do that to some degree with some sponsors that, you know, we have some great companies that have been with us for a while and that’s been tremendous.

And yet at the same time, I know and completely understand that if for some reason that was to go away, Jason, I would continue to do the podcast just because we love talking to people across the basketball landscape. And I think it sounds like you’re in that same position where it may eventually turn into something that you’re able to monetize, or it may take a slightly different form or whatever it may end up being, which would be great.

But. You’re going to continue to do something that has been a passion project for you that you’d love to do. And you love seeing the results and being able to help the kids that you’re getting in contact with. And I’m sure, just, just being able to have the interviews, like you [00:53:00] said, to be able to hear the stories of people who are doing unique things, and it’s always fun to talk to smart, intelligent people who are doing interesting things, because then you learn and you grow.

And that’s one of the things that’s most gratifying for us with the podcast is you get to have conversations with coaches. We get to have conversations with entrepreneurs like yourself who are doing interesting things. That, again, not everybody thinks about it in that particular way. And so I love hearing the different mindsets and the way that people about and just do what they do.

And that’s really, what’s most interesting to me. When you look at the totality of what you’ve done to this point, what is the most frequent question? Or questions that people who reach out to you have about the process of choosing a school. What do you get? What do you get asked the most by players and their families?

Karl Barkley: [00:53:56] Yeah, it is amazing how many people are just starting at [00:54:00] zero information. Right. And I think the most common, the most common question that I get is, you know, when should I start going to camps? When should I, when should I expect to be getting recruited went, you know, should I be putting videos up of myself or it’s basically just, how, how should I, how do I get recruited in this day and age?

And, you know, sometimes it’s a parent asking for their 13 year old and sometimes it’s a 19 year old, who’s already done a year at a D two and decided to transfer in one’s help. Right. And, but yeah, it is, it is this amazing. There is this amazing gap of knowledge between people who have gone through the experience who have been recruited and people who are figuring this out for the first time and families with, with no direct relatives or, you know, maybe, you know, older siblings who have done this before.

So I think, [00:55:00] yeah, there’s a huge need to just continue to fill that gap of information. And like I said, I’m gonna try to put it in a form memorialize these online so that there’s, they’re more accessible and people can find them. So I think that’s the, that’s the, really the problem at the moment or the solution that I’m trying to try to be with.

Mike Klinzing: [00:55:17] And that is absolutely true. In terms of the lack of understanding and knowledge about the process of recruiting and finding your way to a college. There’s absolutely a lack of knowledge there. And it goes back to what I said earlier about Jason. I started the podcast. There’s an absolute knowledge gap for how to navigate the youth basketball space, the grassroots basketball space, where people just, they don’t understand, they don’t know what to look for in a program.

They don’t know what a good coach looks like. They don’t know where they should be and who they should kind of hitch their wagon to. And it’s sort of the same process. Like I always [00:56:00] feel like there’s such a lack of understanding that if we could educate people across the landscape of basketball, we could make the game of basketball.

So much better because you’d have people making good choices, which would then reward the people who are doing things right in terms of the coaches and the programs and all those things. But because people are educated, they oftentimes get themselves into situations that are not the best. And they don’t know that there’s something better or they get sold a bill of goods by someone and they kind of get stuck in this place.

And then their kid has a bad experience. And again, this could be as a fifth grade AAU player, or this could be as a college freshmen, but if you’re not educated, it’s really, really tough. And the nice part about living in the year 2021 is there’s guys like you out there that are able to provide that information, right.

You’re able to provide that information in a [00:57:00] way that. In 1988 when I was trying to make my college decision and I had no idea what I was doing and my parents had no idea what they were doing. And my high school coach had never had a player that was capable of playing college basketball at the level that I was playing at, there was nowhere, there was no information.

I mean, there was absolutely not. I’ve told this story before on the podcast, but I had a visit. I got offered a to come down for an official visit at Kent state, which is where I ended up going. And I said, this was, I think the summer after my junior year, maybe the spring after my junior year. And I told him, you know, I don’t want to take an official visit because, you know, I got to save those visits for North Carolina at Ohio state and duke.

When they, you know, when they call me and I had no, you know what I mean? I had no idea. I mean, I had, no, I had no idea at that point. It was just me being naive. My parents not having gone through it, my coach having not gone through it. And you know, at this point, if I, if I would’ve been able to [00:58:00] seek out information somewhere who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have, maybe I still would’ve been delusional in 2021, but nonetheless, if I would’ve had an opportunity to find the information back then I would’ve quickly found out like, look, if it’s after your junior season and not one of those schools have even sent you a letter, there’s a pretty good chance that they’re not going to be rude to you ever.

And you should probably take this official visit to Kent state and, you know, I, but I just didn’t know. And so to be able to provide kids with that kind of information, to help them to make a better decision. To me, that’s just, it’s so invaluable and we need more people doing more of these types of things, because I think the educational piece of basketball is what really it’s, what really hurts the game is people just aren’t aware of what, what they should be looking for and what they should be doing.

And that again goes from, from the first time you pick up a basketball as a first or second grader, if you could find a league where you can shoot on an eight foot basket instead of a 10 foot basket, your kid’s [00:59:00] going to be way better off, but people don’t know. And so they go and play in a five on five lead for six year olds shooting at a 10 foot basket instead of advocating for something better.

And I think that educational piece is, is vital. And it’s going to just see where things, where things go from from there. I’m sure you feel exactly the

Karl Barkley: [00:59:16] same. Yeah, definitely. And I, I, you know, part of me just wishes, I didn’t start playing travel ball until I was like 13 or 14, you know, my first season of travel ball and.

I, you know, before that, like I said, it was the summer and winter thing, I would play rec ball in the winter and, you know, I started playing middle school. So I had that going. And then in the summer we’d go to Davidson basketball camp or, you know, maybe drive down to winter basketball camp and because my cousins were down there.

And so these very, you know, nothing crazy, I wasn’t working out with a private trainer. I wasn’t, you know, doing, doing anything insane. I hadn’t been playing intense basketball since I was in [01:00:00] fourth grade, but I, I just wish there was a rule that parents could not put their kids into that, that high level of intensity of one sport until they were 13 or 14.

Right. Let the kid really make a decision right there about what they like and, and, you know, Outside of maybe soccer. I played soccer and I was like five years old. And I just moved on, but I tried baseball, flag football you know, try tried a bunch of different things. Some I was good at some, I wasn’t great at it.

And ultimately it became a thing where I wanted to be playing basketball more often and so fell into that. But I think, you know, nowadays you talked about your own experience and maybe, you know, maybe you would have, maybe wouldn’t have been different in the current age. I think what’s so hard for kids right now is that you, there are way more opportunities for you to [01:01:00] compare yourself to others.

Right? My, my, and which creates context in some ways, but I think. Social media is a very, creates, a very skewed perspective. You see all these people it’s very glamorous. Like you kind of want those things, the, the outcomes of what they’ve earned and the offers that they have, but you don’t really understand the context of what they put in to get there.

I think I was extremely lucky in my own process. I had, you know, some great high school teammates who you know, we’re, we’re very good at basketball and we’re getting letters from I’d walk into the coach’s office and there’d be a stack of letters from Clemson and UMCC and, you know, Western Carolina and all these schools that were recruiting my teammates.

And I saw what they were doing every single day in practice. And I saw the level they played at and I was like, okay, well, I’m probably not the one, right? Like that’s not me, but I just, with social media, I think you, as I said, you see the end result, you see the offer, but you don’t understand what level [01:02:00] of player they are.

And. I think that’s the big, big, big problem now is like, how do we get kids to context to help them understand that they shouldn’t be trying to go D one maybe, and they’d have a way better playing career and enjoy their college experience a lot more. If they were shooting for a D two D three NAIA situation.

Mike Klinzing: [01:02:19] And it also sets up for a little jealousy, right? I mean, absolutely. When you’re a kid and you sit there and you’re like, Hey, I’m a good player. And I see this kid, who’s getting the division one offer. And I feel like, well, he’s getting all this love on social media. And so I can’t, I have those same things and that doesn’t even include parental egos, which sometimes are worse than player egos.

Yeah. And you start factoring that in and it just becomes a whole thing. As you said it’s so much easier to compare back in the times when I played, I mean, I didn’t, you know, I mean, I might’ve known I’ve said this before, but I might’ve known the 50 best high school players in the country from the blue ribbon college [01:03:00] basketball yearbook, which used to get printed every year.

And I would go in and I would read that thing. But as far as me thinking about who I was playing against, I mean, I wasn’t traveling. I mean, I may be the furthest I ever went for a tournament in the summer. And there was only at that point, there was like in the city of Cleveland, there was maybe two quote, unquote, AAU travel teams, whatever you want to call it.

That was it. I mean, it was like the best 24 players in the city, maybe playing, you know, on those two teams. And I think the furthest I went away, it was, you know, maybe an hour and a half, two hours away from home. And now. Kids are traveling all over the country. If you’re a D, if you’re a division one player, you’re traveling all over the place, you know, the entire month of July.

And so it’s just, it’s so hard because you have this whole social media world of players that you’ve never even seen. You don’t even know. And yet, as you’re scrolling through on your phone, every two minutes, you’re scrolling through Twitter, you’re looking at, oh, this kid’s got an offer and how come I don’t have anything.

And [01:04:00] it’s just, as you said, it sets up this, it sets up this false narrative. Well, it’s an unrealistic dream.

Karl Barkley: [01:04:04] Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Klinzing: [01:04:08] And as you said, you’re not seeing the behind the scenes work that those kids put in in order to earn that. And then you’re also just, you know, yeah, you got an offer, but you know, where’s where does that offer fit?

You know, it’s just all this stuff that goes into it. It’s just, again, education is really what’s needed. And I think that’s where you’re providing a tremendous amount of value to the people who find your stuff. And look at what you’re trying to do, because they’re at least able to get a truer picture of a, your vision of what that experience can be like.

And that’s really what we want people to know is, look, this is what you’re getting in for whether you’re going to the division one level, two level division, three level. If you have a good understanding of what it is that you want to get out of the experience and what the potential experience is going to be like at a particular institution, you’re going to be able to make a much better [01:05:00] choice.

That’s going to impact you for the rest of your life. I mean, it’s not like it’s just four years, as you’ve said, a couple of times that whatever you experience you have is going to pay off. If you make the right decision, it’s going to pay off tenfold a hundred fold over the course of your life without question.

Karl Barkley: [01:05:16] Absolutely. And I do want to, I just, I do want to say one thing, we talked about transfers earlier and I’ve tried to bring a couple of people on that have transferred for interviews because I, you know, as much as it is ideal. For the kid to find their perfect fit, whatever it is first go round. I think you can also have a great experience and great outcomes out of college if you do transfer.

And I just I’ve wanted to try to point that out that you know, it’s not a, it’s not a make or break, right?

Mike Klinzing: [01:05:51] It’s not irreversible,

Karl Barkley: [01:05:53] correct. It is. It is an important decision. I think you should spend a lot of time thinking about it. You should do your research. You should think hard [01:06:00] and try to get it right on the first time, but, but know that your life isn’t over and your playing career, isn’t over.

If all of a sudden you get to a school and you know, maybe the coach leaves and all of a sudden, you’re not a priority on the team anymore. Or something happens with the situation that, that makes it. So you just don’t feel like that school is right for you anymore. And just, yeah, one, I want to reiterate that that is.

So it’s not the end of the world and that you can still have a great outcome experience.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:30] Let’s face it. And as adults, I always tell people, you know, that are going to school. My daughter’s going to be a high school senior next year, and trying to figure out where she’s going to go to school. And in that process in irrespective, and she’s not going to play basketball in college, she’s just trying to make a decision about a school.

And, you know, the kids are always like, well, whatever, you know, what do you want to do? And what’s your major going to be? And you know, I’m always like, look, I’m 51 years old and I still really don’t know what I’m going to be or what I want to do. I’m going to have a [01:07:00] day job. And I teach her today. That’s something that you know, that I’ve done now for 26 years and I’m going to continue to do it.

But there’s all these other things that I have a passion for with the game of basketball and this podcast. And I say all the time, like I’m 51. I’m not sure what I want to do. So to ask a 17, 18 year old kid to make a decision that. You know, as you said, you want to take your time. You want to try and make that decision.

But my goodness to make that decision at 18 and think that it’s going to be perfect every single time is that realistic. And I think it’s a great point that you make that look, you want to take your time. You want to try and make a good decision coming out of high school, but if you end up making a decision that turns out to be the wrong one, for whatever reason, you can always, you can always fix it.

And that’s an important thing to keep in mind. And again, there are resources that can help you the same way they’re helping you coming out as a, as a college freshmen, they can help you if you end up needing to transfer in the middle of your college experience.

Karl Barkley: [01:07:57] For sure. Absolutely. It is. It is a totally [01:08:00] unfair question to ask a 17 or 18 year old to make.

But you know, I think with the right, with the right process, you can, you can really make an informed decision. And again, that’s, that’s the goal with T3. Absolutely. Just trying to help people put those pieces together and understand. First and foremost what they want out of college. Like, I think you, you just, you need to break the question down into its component parts instead of just thinking like, what’s the perfect school for me.

It’s like, first, do you like the winter? Right. If you hate the winter, then don’t go to a school in, you know, in Maine. Right. If you hate the heat, don’t go to a school in, in Florida or like these, these very more binary questions that are easier to answer. And then all of a sudden you start chipping away and you have a better, clearer picture of where you are.

I want to go. Right. The list becomes a lot narrower. Yeah, totally. And then on the topic of you know, not knowing what you want to do, I think, I think, you know, if I were to ever go back and give a speech, give a talk [01:09:00] at Swarthmore, you know, invited back as an alumni. I think that would be the theme is just after graduation and in life in general, just no one really knows what they’re doing.

We’re all kind of figuring it out and. You know, I just remember being a two points, being a high school senior, and being a college senior and seeing all these other people, doing incredible things, getting into places, getting high, paying jobs, moving to cool cities. And you know, it’s hard not to look at yourself and be like, what am I doing?

Right. Like how do I not have that? Or, or, you know, what’s the next step. And I think as much as you can, and this is difficult as a, as a young person, but, and it’s something we all still struggle with myself included is, is just drop that lens of comparison and stick to what you are enjoy. Right? Like you said, with your podcast, you know, [01:10:00] it’s, it’s the game of basketball and it’s something that you enjoy talking about that you enjoy meeting other people who are passionate about it, and that’s why you do it.

And I think that’s ultimately the way you’re going to get the most fulfillment. You know your life, whether it’s college, whether it’s, you know, your post-graduate careers is just stop for two seconds, don’t get caught up in what other people are doing and really, you know, take a second to figure it out.

What’s your own live your own journey, right?

Mike Klinzing: [01:10:27] Yeah. You have your own journey, your own journey. And don’t, don’t look at other people and that’s, that’s not easy to do. And we all know

Karl Barkley: [01:10:34] that it’s really not. I have a lot of confidence, but it’s something, you know, I still struggle with. And, and I think is, is important to talk about that.

It’s like, no, one’s no, one’s perfect. No one, no one really knows exactly what they’re doing or has everything figured out or planned.

Mike Klinzing: [01:10:53] Even though it might look like that, especially on social media, especially on social media, it looks like everybody has it together, but the reality is we’re all [01:11:00] struggling.

I often think about that question, Carl or that concept. When I think about my parents. Right? So you think back to the time when you were a kid and you look at your parents, you’re like these people have it completely together. They know exactly what they’re doing. And like now I think about I’m 51 years old.

And by the time when my dad was 51, I was already 26 and long since out of the house or whatever. And like, I know that I’m 51 and like, I’m a Yahoo, you know what I mean? Like I’m, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just trying to figure it out. I’m like a big kid. And yet, you know, I think back to, you know, what my parents were like in the way that I kind of revered them as people who had it all together.

And I’m sure that they were the same way that I was, or that I am right now. And I think everybody, I think everybody feels that way, even when it looks like what you present to the world is, Hey, I got this thing figured out. Nobody really has it figured out. And I think that it’s important to share that with young people that look.

It’s, it’s not, [01:12:00] it’s not always, it’s not always easy. It’s not always smooth. You’re going to go through times where you’re going to doubt yourself, but you just keep trying to try to press towards what is important to you. And if you do that, you’re going to end up more often than not. You’re going to make end up making good decisions that are gonna help you to have a better life.

And that’s really what this whole thing is all about.

Karl Barkley: [01:12:19] And you’ll, you’ll do an interesting thing is I think, I think in my, in my own experience, you know, I, I was talking about law school earlier and how that was kind of my goal out of undergrad. I worked at the law firm in DC and it was an, it was a great first job.

It allowed me to get on my feet financially and, you know, explore a new city and meet a bunch of great people. But I, I looked around that place and saw forecast it out. If I go to a great law school, if I get into the that’s to the best, this is where I’d be coming back potentially as a young attorney.

And I looked at those people who were fresh out of law school, and I looked at the life they had, and I was like, I don’t want that. [01:13:00] You know? And then after that, I decided to I moved to China, I worked with a group called pro skills, basketball who was looking for someone to go over there full-time and, and jumped into that with them.

And I remember my dad as I’m about to fly out, you know, in the weeks before he looks at me and he’s just like, what is this, what is this doing for your career? Like, what is this, you know, what’s the next step? And I didn’t really have an answer, but yeah, I look back on that time, I ended up being there for like a year and a half and it’s like, it was something that I was passionate about and I think it was some of the most fulfilling.

No, it was definitely the most fulfilling job experience I’ve ever had and fulfilling from a cultural standpoint. And yeah, I grew a ton, so it just did I make a lot of money? No, but I had an incredible time and experienced. Yeah, exactly.

Mike Klinzing: [01:13:54] Brendan and Logan are great guys. They open out with us. So yeah, they’re the, those guys are, those guys are really good at what they [01:14:00] do for

Karl Barkley: [01:14:00] sure.

They’re great. They’re great. And grassroots and yeah, they really had a cool vision with China. So it was, it was fun to be fun, to be a part of that and to help them help them realize that over there.

Mike Klinzing: [01:14:10] Absolutely. All right. Before we get out, Carl, I want to give you a chance to share how people can reach out to you.

How if I can find out what you’re doing. So share your social media, give people an opportunity to email. However you want to get it out there for people to reach out to you and find out the good things that you’re doing.

Karl Barkley: [01:14:26] Yeah, pretty much everything is accessible off Twitter. So is D3Direct on Twitter, we also have an Instagram, but the, the more long form stuff is coming on sub stack soon and full interviews that we do are posted on YouTube periodically. But Twitter is really the best chance for you to engage with us and, and where, where I monitor the most. So feel free to throw us your questions there, or tag us or whatever you want to do.

Mike Klinzing: [01:14:56] Great stuff, Kyle, we cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your [01:15:00] schedule to join us tonight. We really appreciate it. And to everyone out there, thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks

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