How to Use Five Cups of Water to Get Recruited
What kinds of things – beyond talent – are college coaches are looking for when they evaluate recruits? And what do cups of water have to do with getting recruited? Read these real-life examples of what coaches look for besides talent.
Summer is a time when many college coaches can evaluate talent in person. University of North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams reveals in his book HARD WORK what he looks for in prospects:
“If I am there to watch one individual, I’ll watch every move he makes. If I’m watching a group of players at an All-Star Camp, I wait for somebody to jump out at me and I’ll write his number down on my pad every time he does something I like. One summer I was at a tournament in Louisville and they had four games going at the same time. My assistants had me watching a player on Court 2. Every time the play would stop on my court, I would glance over to Court 3, and number 34 was just killing people. I kept writing down the number 34 over and over. He was so outrageous with his effort and rebounding and how he could run. At some point in the second half I just turned away from my court and started watching number 34. That player’s name was Richard Scott and he ended up being a three-year starter for me at the Kansas.”
In his book, Williams reveals the importance of having character and being a team player when it comes to recruits that grab his attention:
“I remember going to recruit Marvin Williams, and in one game he had 36 points. But that wasn’t what sold me on him. Marvin fouled out of that game, and while the crowd was giving him a standing ovation, he walked over to the end of the bench and grabbed five cups of water and handed them to the five guys who were going back into the game. I said to myself, ‘I really want this kid.’”
“They have to be kids that I’m going to enjoy being around every day. Since I became a head coach, I’ve had three recruits visit campus that my players thought wouldn’t fit in, so I stopped recruiting all three.”
In his book Through My Eyes, Tim Tebow dedicated an entire chapter to how he handled recruiting. It includes an interesting insight on how he was evaluated by then-Florida coach Urban Meyer and why playing multiple sports in high school can be an advantage to a recruit.
Tebow says during his junior year, Florida Coach Meyer was allowed to get out and evaluate during the Spring and watched him play a baseball game. Coach Meyer told him later he was really impressed with Tebow’s leadership and that he had never seen a right fielder impact a team the way he did. College Coaches are always looking for those kinds of things. They really love the kids that are leaders in different sports. They also are big on speaking to all kinds of people in the building to get various takes on character. If you are a character risk, they will find out, scratch you off their recruiting list, and go to the next athlete. They often get candid insights from the cafeteria lady, the janitor or someone else off the beaten path. Always do the right thing. Scholarships are on the line.
“Always do the right thing!!” said the High School Coach.
I had just finished delivering a presentation on the college athletics recruiting process at John Adams High School. Longtime Softball Coach John Woodruff, who had made sure his team was in attendance, was asked by Athletic Director Bill Groves to share an unforgettable story about character and missed scholarship opportunity.
Woodruff shared the story about a high level D1 college that was in the process of replacing its football coaching staff. Woodruff said one of the their assistant coaches was aware of a certain local high school football player. The player was a good one, but wasn’t evaluated to play at their level. He was good enough to play D1, but more of a mid-major level, like a Western Michigan or Ball State.
The coach was part of a staff that was let go, but he soon was hired to be head coach of another mid-level Division I program in the Mid-American Conference. As he left for his new coaching position, he drove to the high school of that player, ready to offer a full athletic scholarship. He knew that kid could play at that level.
The coach got to the school, and got the high school coach to locate what class he was to be in. They walked to the class to dramatically change the life of the young man.
He wasn’t there.
He had decided to skip afternoon classes.
The college coach wasted little time in leaving the high school. He was out of there! Along with him went a scholarship amounting to about $30,000 a year and the opportunity to play in the Mid-American Conference.
You could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium at John Adams High when Coach Woodruff shared that story.
“Needless to say,” Coach Woodruff said, “his father wasn’t very happy.”
“ALWAYS do the right thing!!!” he said, as every athlete was listening to every word of the story. “That young man decided to pick a Tuesday before Christmas break to skip afternoon classes. It cost him a scholarship!”
“I have a sign that reads, “‘Character is doing what’s right when no one is looking,’” said Coach Woodruff. “This young man wasn’t doing what was right, and the college coach was looking.”
And it cost him over $120,000 in scholarship money.
– Charlie Adams
Longtime Motivational Speaker Charlie Adams writes this weekly column on the recruiting process. Adams has a passion for helping athletes find the right fit at the next level. As the author of the motivational book Stoke the Fire Within, he speaks on Peak Performance topics and the College Athletics Recruiting process. His oldest child is currently an NCAA student-athlete, and his two other children have set goals to be college athletes. As a former sports anchor across America for 23 years, Adams saw a lack of education on the athletics recruiting process and families struggling with understanding how to handle recruiting. His articles and his special Talk “How to Find the Right Fit AND Significant Scholarships at the Next Level” are designed to help families understand what they have to do to have success in the process. He can be reached at Charlie@StokeTheFireWithin.com