“The players we want stand out from the rest. They’re the guys that play hard on every possession, who play hard without the ball in their hands. We’re looking for individuals with good character. When I recruit, I watch how a player interacts with his teammates and his coaches. For instance, does he look his coach in the eye when he’s getting instruction? If you’re a jerk, I don’t want you.”
-Jeff Capel, Duke Associate Head Basketball Coach
“When my assistant coaches come back from scouting, the first thing I ask is, ‘Does that player make his team better? Does he make the right passes at the right times? Is he good with his teammates?’ We watch to see if they run or walk to the time-out huddle, and how they get themselves ready to play before a game. If you’re a great player but you can’t be coached, we don’t want to bring you on.”
-Travis Ford, Okla State Head Basketball Coach
Mental Toughness can be defined as “programmed execution of effective decisions and actions.” Players who lack this essential trait rarely advance to the next level, despite superior talent and athleticism.
Bottom line, mental toughness is the most important ingredient for consistent high performance, the #1 attribute required for individual achievement and team championships.
In the past few years, San Diego State has landed 5 players rated in the Top 100 high school seniors in the nation, beginning with Kawhi Leonard (’09) and including current players Trey Kell and Malik Pope.
But Coach Steve Fisher and his staff will tell you that those recruiting “stars” (3-star, 4-star, etc.) are largely meaningless, that these ratings can be political, clouded by where a kid goes to school, or whether top colleges are recruiting him.
For instance, point guard DJ Gay, the winningest player in school history, was a zero-star recruit. As was Jamaal Franklin, now in camp with the Memphis Grizzlies. Against UCLA, the Aztecs started 3 zero-star recruits.
“They’re a good football team, but they didn’t do anything spectacular. We’ve got to go back, look at ourselves in the mirror, and ask: What do we want from this team this season? And how do we want to go about it?”
“Basically, you’ve got to look at yourself and figure out the things you’re not doing to prepare yourself for a ball game, whether it’s film study, practice intensity, or focus in meetings. Whatever it is, it’s all on us.”
-Colin Lockett, SDSU receiver, after a loss to Ohio State
“I was watching the Broncos and Ravens game and I noticed all the uniformed personal in the stadium standing with their right hand over their heart during the national anthem. I also noticed several football players on the sideline joking, talking, or jumping up and down, showing no respect.
“The NFL has always been conscientious about presenting a front of honor, integrity, values and pride in America. If any player demonstrates excessive exuberance or unsportsmanlike conduct after a play, that player/team is penalized and often fined. So why does the NFL allow some spoiled, immature millionaires to disrespect the country, our national anthem, and all that the League stands for?”
–Concerned NFL fan