After a long hiatus, Interview with the Agent is back. And boy do we have an interesting subject. Odell McCants is a new entrant into the sports agent profession, and he plans to make quite a splash with the representation of his first client: Patrick Patterson. With the NBA Draft only 3 days away, you better believe that McCants is working his butt off, and hopes that the 2010 Draft becomes his coming out party. McCants was gracious enough to lend a bit of his time to us even though he is quite busy with little time leading up to the draft. The result of my interview with him is below.
Darren Heitner: With the NBA Draft only 3 days away, where is the highest you reasonably see your client, Patrick Patterson being drafted, and why?
Odell McCants: It’s always difficult trying to forecast what will happen on draft night. We all know how each draft seems to bring surprises in the way of trades or particular players rising or falling from their projected spots. Having said that, Patrick has worked out for every team with picks 6-14. We went into the pre-draft phase with that as our strategy and let’s just say we’re hoping for the top half of that range.
Heitner: Speaking of Patrick Patterson, he is your first athlete client ever. How did you end up becoming his agent of record?
McCants: The opportunity to work with Patrick came from establishing a trusting relationship with both Patrick and the Patterson family.
Heitner: Tell us a little bit about what you have done professionally prior to landing Patrick Patterson as a client.
McCants: Out of college I served on the staff of a U.S. Congressman for three years. I led the start-up of a business process outsourcing company, spent several years as a project management consultant with a global business management consulting firm, and most recently, led business development and major account management for a $100 million division of a human resources consulting firm.
Heitner:What skills do you have that will translate well into becoming an athlete advisor?
McCants: In addition to my love and passion for the game of basketball, my political experience, project management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and experience selling to and managing relationships with senior executives at Fortune 500 companies provide all of the skills needed to successfully advise professional athletes.
Heitner: Are you recruiting other potential clients now that you have your first big client under contract? If so, what is your recruitment strategy and what tactics have you employed?
McCants: Right now the main focus of Capitol Sports Management is preparing Patrick for the upcoming draft and supporting his transition to life as a professional athlete.
It is truly a blessing to have Patrick as a client and we will actively recruit other potential clients. Our strategy is to pursue individuals who are high caliber athletes and outstanding individuals. We are implementing an agency model that will engage clients in business, personal and professional development opportunities that are unique and different to the traditional sports agency model, and have the potential to extend beyond their sports careers. So with that, there must be the right fit for both the athlete and Capitol Sports Management.
Heitner: I would imagine that rival agents see a new entrant representing a potential lottery pick as his first client and figure that it would be easy for them to poach Patterson from you. Have any particularly interesting stories to share about that?
McCants: Really don’t have any stories to share in that regard.
Heitner: What have you done for Patterson since signing him as a client? What kind of costs have you had to incur? How have you afforded those costs?
McCants: Since Patrick selected Capitol Sports Management to represent him, my time has been spent executing his pre-draft strategy. This has included selecting his personal training location, St. Vincent Sports Performance for strength, conditioning and nutrition, and coach Ed Schilling for basketball skills. Both based in Indianapolis. I have been monitoring his personal workouts, scheduling team workouts and holding daily conversations with team executives to keep a finger on the pulse of the draft.
In addition to draft preparation, I have been busy scheduling media appearances and interviews, working with our online marketing partner to launch phase one of Patrick’s website (www.PatrickPatterson.com) and pursing potential marketing and endorsement opportunities for Patrick.
It’s my personal policy not to discuss financial details. But recognizing that many visitors of your site are seeking industry education, as I first did and continue to do, I will say that most of the costs in this start-up phase have been in building the agency infrastructure, client training, and in travel.
Heitner: What is something special about Patrick Patterson that most people don’t yet know? It can be something off-the-court.
McCants: First, he is truly the honorable person that he is known to be. What you see and what he is known as is the real Patrick. What people may not know is he’s a follower of technology and is a huge movie fan.
Heitner: Give a piece of advice to our readers who hope to one day break into the business of representing athletes.
McCants: My career advice is always to follow your passion. After doing many things, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to do just that. But assuming that’s why your followers visit your site, I know it’s an old cliché, but this is a business. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and your career comes with lots of personal and professional responsibilities that are 24/7. I believe success in business comes from finding a niche, be it by sport, geography, type of athlete/personality you want to work with, or service you want to provide. Then prepare, deliver what you say you will, and work hard.