Attitude Is Often The Deciding Factor

Casey O'Toole told me this interesting story at last week's End of the Trail Tournament. Casey was in one of the gyms, along with dozens of university coaches, watching one of the top high school post players on the West Coast. At the beginning of the game the girl was a scoring, rebounding, shot blocking machine who looked like she was having a great time playing with her teammates. Everyone in the gym seemed to nod in agreement that this player was destined for a big time career. Then she missed an easy shot, a teammate didn't see her open in the post, and a ref called her next blocked shot a foul. Casey told me then it was like someone had flipped the switch that controlled her attitude. When everything was going great she was great. Bu twhen things started going bad, this player made everything worse. No longer was she visibly having fun and basking in the competition. Suddenly she was surly and bitchy to the other team, yelled at her own teammates, snarled at the refs, and started to jog up and down the court instead of sprinting as she had been only minutes earlier.

It was at this time, Casey said, that Amy Tucker, Stanford's longtime associate head coach, reached into her bag, pulled out her program and a red pen, and literally crossed this player off of Stanford's recruiting list before getting up and walking out of the gym. Casey and I talked and wondered if this player had any idea, or would ever have any idea, that just a couple of minutes of bad attitude cost her a possible scholarship offer from one of the most prestigious schools and basketball programs in the country.

I'm sure there are some coaches who are willing to overlook the bad attitude because of the talent level and I'm confidant that because she is so good this girl will play somewhere in college. It just won't be at Stanford!


Casey said...

YES! I've finally hit the big time. I've made the blog. Really though, this is the one of the most amazing recruiting stories I've ever seen. It literally took this poor girl less than three minutes of game time to lose a potential spot in a great program. I wonder if she'll ever know.

bballfan said...

Glad you mentioned that... scouts also pay attention to players' behavior off-court, as well. I've seen them observing players behavior in the hallways and even hotel lobbies and elevators. Manners, language and other ways players conduct themselves all can affect a scouts opinion. They want to select players who will represent their team in a respectable manner, not players who use foul language and behave poorly.