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Choice not Chance: Rules For Building a Fierce Competitor by Joanne P. McCallie

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Chapter 16

Recruiting Is a True Test of Will, Discipline, Character, and Evaluation Ability

Getting the Right Group of Players

I was heading from Oregon to Atlanta and on to Orlando. It must have been July, the height of recruiting season, and my least favorite time of the year.

Recruiting is a true test of will, discipline, and character, yet it is also the most vital component of building a winning team, no matter what the sport or gender. A coach can know all of the X’s and O’s and be the best motivator around, but if she doesn’t have the right group of players, all of the coaching in the world is not going to turn them into a championship team.

One of the realities of coaching at Duke is that recruiting is much more thorough than it was at Maine or even Michigan State. Because Duke is at a different place academically, we have to recruit players on a national and even international basis. We have to find girls who are a fit for the school and then determine as well if they are a fit for our team. Though it’s a challenging process, the fact that our academic standards are able to draw student-athletes from all over the world creates a great sense of pride.

The only way to honestly evaluate players is to watch them in person and try to talk to them and their families so you can get to know them. Even though it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, the two summers I spent coaching with USA Basketball did hurt me a bit on the recruiting trail. I did not get that time ...

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