As the head basketball coach at Oral Roberts (1993-1998), Tulsa (1998-2000), Illinois (2000-2003) and now Kansas (2003 present), Bill Self has compiled a career coaching record of 279-129. Solid recruiting has been a key component in each of his successes. Here's what he looks for in a recruit.
STACK: How can an athlete impress you?
Self: Coaches love guys who are relentless hustlers, even when they know or think that no one is watching. Too many kids get hung up on who's checking them out that they forget why they're really playing.
Play to your strengths. Be who you are as opposed to trying to be someone you think other people want you to be. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you shouldn't address your weaknesses, but don't address them in a way that doesn't help you succeed.
Lastly, I think the importance of winning is oftentimes lost with tournaments. If you lose at 10:00 a.m., you're playing again at 3:00 p.m. It's like there's always a next game. So I say: keep up your effort and intensity, and do what it takes to help your team win, because a lot of times, those things are lost when you're playing multiple games daily.
STACK: Do you have to play in a big city to get noticed?
Self: That's a myth. Too many parents think they need to get their kids into a high profile situation. If you're playing in a summer league circuit, and you can play, people will know about you.
STACK: If a player wants to play for you some day, how can he make it a reality?
Self: A: Take care of your business off the court; be responsible and make good decisions. B: If you only put in time when you're expected to, you won't get good enough fast enough. You have to put in time on your own. And, this is very important, don't just spend that time playing. Let it be a combination of playing and developing your skills.
STACK: Any final thoughts?
Self: Don't ever get too encouraged or discouraged by where your game is. Everyone matures at a different rate. If you're ahead of your class, it might be in large part because you're further along in the natural maturation process. So don't be content, because guys who aren't as mature might catch you. And if you're a little behind, it might be because you aren't as mature. So keep at it. You may end up passing the other guys as you finish maturing.
I hear too many discouraged kids say, "I'm not big enough or strong enough." Well they should become the best ball handlers and the best skill guys. Then, when they are big and strong enough, they'll be ready to play. On the flip side, I see lots of kids who are big and can dominate because of their size, but they don't really work that hard. They need to remember that their days of overpowering will be done when they reach 17, 18, 19 years old if they don't develop a strong work ethic.
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