Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?
Coachable – One of the most important questions I ask about a recruit is, “Is this kid coachable?” It is easy for a player to look good when things are going her way – making her shots, getting the calls, etc, but her true character is revealed when she is tested. The way a player responds to bad calls, teammates making mistakes, and coaches correcting her are a true indication of whether or not that player is coachable. We look for a player who is a good team player; who picks up her teammate instead of putting her down. Also one who is able to keep her cool and play hard even if things are not going her way. I pay attention to her interactions with her coaches and her teammates and her demeanor when she is not in the game – is she sulking? Is she cheering for her team? A player who is more concerned with the outcome of the game than her individual performance is a big part of being “coachable.”
Complete player – We are always looking for players who can play at both ends. We are a very defense oriented team, so regardless of the number of points a player can score, if you she is not going to defend we are not interested. We like kids who are multidimensional. Athletes who can do more than just shoot, or just rebound, or just handle the ball. A player who can play multiple positions and understands the value of playing defense.
Winning attitude – Kids who are a part of winning teams often have that competitive edge and that willingness to do whatever it takes to get the win. We love the kids who step up and show leadership during crunch time, “winning time.” The kids who want the ball at the offensive end or want the tough defensive assignment. The kid who is willing to outwork her opponent to get the loose ball or big rebound. The players who generally have this winning attitude understand the game and the little things necessary to win and move on. You will see a great deal kids who are successful and win at every level.
Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?
We have a current player who we recruited initially but was not overly impressed with her as we followed her during her high school season. She decided to come to our school and she is a nice kid so I figured she would be someone who could be on the team and could possibly help us down the line, but my expectations were pretty low as we didn’t think her skill level was too high and was unsure of her work ethic as she did not do a whole lot in the off season. Once practices started, we were shocked at the energy she brought to practice and the fact that she continually outworked some of the upperclassmen and earned a role as a spark off the bench for us. In terms of production, she was the most efficient player for the minutes that she was on the court. After her freshmen year, we challenged her to push herself in the off season and come back with a goal of “all-conference” as a sophomore. She was able to be a huge factor for us as our sixth man and was awarded honorable mention all conference. I can tell that she was happy with the recognition but wants more, and we expect her to push for a first team selection next year.
She has excelled for a number of reasons. One, I do not think she had a great deal of coaching at the high school level and she has been very receptive to the instruction she has received from our coaching staff. Two, she has an innate desire to get better and works hard during the season to do so and put a lot of effort into getting better in the off season as well. Lastly, she is a complete team player and does anything and everything to make the team better. She could start for us but we told her we liked her as the spark off the bench and she accepted that role and excelled, whereas other players may have sulked.