"I was actually home probably three days during the month of July. You are going to AAU tournaments. And it's back and forth. There's not a lot of down time."
So, you are going all over the nation during that month.
"Oh yes, I keep an itineracy next to my bed because you'll wake up and not know where you are sometimes because you are hopping around the country so much. You'll be in New Orleans, then in Murphreesboro, Tennessee, then Atlanta, Chicago, then Augusta, Georgia then back to wherever. And that's just one leg of your trip. You are going back and forth the entire month. And you'll be at a place a day or two, then you go somewhere else."
What are you doing while at each of the tournaments?
"When you find a kid that you are really trying to recruit, trying to get, you are going to every game that they play that day so that they can see you there. But you are still evaluating freshmen-to-be, sophomores-to-be, juniors-to-be, and there will be young, young kids there. You are starting your list then on them. You are evaluating kids all the time."
How intense is the month of July for the players and coaches?
"My personal opinion, and this is just my personal opinion, but I think we should cut it down because those kids are getting really stretched out, we (the coaches) are being stretched out. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching basketball. But from watching those kids the first day of July, then watching that same kid the last day of July, she is a different kid after playing 50 to 60 games during the month. That really takes it toll on the kids, especially when they are 13 and 14-years-old."
What are you looking for when you recruit kids to play at Mississippi State?
"You are looking for a specific type athlete, a certain type skill-set. You can usually tell about a kid's skill-set early on, especially the kids who come from the good programs, the good AAU programs. You can usually project them by watching their hand-eye coordination, their agility, their touch. You also look for those diamonds in the rough who haven't been worked with. And there is one thing you want that you can't teach and that is size. You don't find a whole lot of women's basketball players that are great with their back to the basket. It's rare when you find them. And I think it's kind of rare with the guys, too, because I spent six or seven years recruiting guys for junior colleges. And you rarely find a guy who likes to score with his back to the basket, likes to hit, likes to be hit and likes to bang inside and score with bodies all over him. That's not something that somebody wants to do every day. If you find a big man like that, then you better be all over them.
"What you look for in wings, two and threes, you try to look for length and skill. If they don't have the great skill, then can you project that they will have that skill in a couple of years. Armelie Lumanu, who plays for us, when I first saw her on tape I saw that she was extremely long and raw but she was young. When I got her in the junior college I coached at I knew she was raw and would have to develop her skill-set but she was very athletic and had great length. When the skill-set and athleticism come together you have something special. I think last year you started seeing that combination a little bit.
"Just like with a big man that has a knack for it, finding a great floor general who has a knack for it and really understands what is going on and who knows that they have to be unselfish is kind of rare."
Do you prefer to sign a high school point guard instead of a junior college point guard?
"No, it's really what your needs are that determine what you sign. Let's say you have young kids who are all wings, you don't want to bring in a freshman point guard. If you can bring in a top-5, top-10 point guard that would be great, but you still need someone who has some age on them and has been battle-tested."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.