Lessons Learned From Being Fired (Part 3)

Lesson 3

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Recruiting is everything.

  1. I always ask a prospect what he values early in my first conversation with him.  No other coaches are asking kids this question.  If you sign players who can’t articulate their value system, then you will end up articulating it for them – and they won’t listen.
  2. Recruit kids that have won.  I’ve coached only one team that had a losing season since 1999.  That was the only team which didn’t have a player who had played in a  high school state tournament or junior college national tournament.  You must have champions before you compete for championships.
  3. Coaches too often recruit players based on which schools are recruiting them and ratings.  Tom Crean loved Dwayne Wade and Victor Oladipo long before anyone else did.  Neither player started for their 16U AAU team.  Be confident in your evaluations of players regardless of their recruiting interest.
  4. I will always stress to a recruit that he is not making a four-year decision, but rather a forty-year decision.
  5. There were over 800 NCAA Division I and Division II transfers last season and that number is trending higher this off-season.  Players cannot discern what truly matters in their recruiting anymore.  Their decision-making filters are clogged by too many opinions from people who won’t matter once the recruiting process is over.  I will always stress to a recruit that he should commit to a school where he can see his teammates as groomsmen in his wedding one day.
  6. Once you are confident that you want a recruit – fight for the first on-campus visit.  You’ll be his first love.
  7. Have a purpose for every conversation with a recruit.  “Tonight I want to demonstrate how XYZ University is a great fit for you academically,” for example.
  8. Hard work and effort still matter.  Recruits know who’s been to practice, games and which coach called him the most.  There is no substitute for miles logged and hours burned.

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