Q: I’m getting recruiting letters from schools in the West Coast Conference, but my friends just laugh and say a Pac-12 scholarship is all that counts. What should I tell the West Coast Conference coaches when they call?
A: Tell them your friends are idiots.
OK, they don’t want to hear about your “friends”. Plus I put “friends” in quotes because a true friend wouldn’t laugh at any scholarship offer. How many of them are getting letters?
All right, enough of that. Here’s the thing: It’s not at all important whether you go to a Pac-12 school or a WCC school. (Or an SEC school as opposed to a Missouri Valley Conference school; nor whatever major you want to compare to a mid-major.)
What matters is that, after you graduate, you can look back and say to yourself, “I’m glad I chose that school.”
Notice the word “I” there — there’s no reference to “friends.”
The decision you make has to be best for you, not for your so-called friends. It may be that going to Pepperdine and spending four years in Malibu is better than going to Washington State and spending four years in Pullman. (See if you can find it on a map)!
She said, “I remember getting my first recruiting letter before my sophomore year, and I was so excited — until I saw what school it was. I said to myself ‘I’m never going there’.”
Well, of course, that’s just where she wound up going, and she couldn’t be happier.
I asked her what she, as a senior, would tell herself, as a sophomore— about the recruiting process.
After she thought about it, she said, “I would tell myself not to assume I know anything about any school until I see for myself.”
And there are a lot of variables. From how close you want to be to home, how big a school you want to attend, to what your chances are of playing a lot of minutes.
This player, for example, said “I don’t want to sit on the bench,” so she opted for a school that would give her the chance to play right away.
Some people may not mind waiting their turn — but it’s important to remember that coaches recruit new players every year. If they get some hotshot freshman who plays your position, your two years of riding the pine aren’t going to count for a thing.
But you know, at that point it might not matter, and you may be loving your college experience so much you don’t mind not playing. Or you could hate it so much that you transfer — as a lot of kids who get blinded by the bright lights of the big conferences often do.
Remember, Damian Lillard was the sixth overall pick in the NBA draft and might be Rookie of the Year — and his friends probably laughed when he got his first letter from Weber State.
In the end, it didn’t matter that it wasn’t the Pac-12.
What mattered was that he got a chance to play, to improve and to show just how good he really was.
Feature image courtesy Forbes.com