The Lady Vols need posts, and a 6-4 player is tucked in the upper corner of East Tennessee. Emily Schubert of Elizabethton saw a familiar face in the stands this past Friday – head coach Holly Warlick. Go inside with InsideTennessee for an interview with the high school player.
Emily Schubert, a 6-4 post in the upper East Tennessee town of Elizabethton, could have made a college decision last fall, but she opted to wait until the regular signing period. Schubert’s game plan was to use her senior season to get better and hopefully attract additional colleges.
“I wanted to see what all of my options were and wait and see what happens,” Schubert said. “Depending on how I played throughout the season, I thought I might get more interest.”
Her gambit worked. Schubert, who already had been recruited by some mid-major schools, got on the radar of major Division I schools, including Tennessee, Utah, Virginia Tech, Rice, and Texas A&M.
On Friday, Holly Warlick was in the stands to scout Schubert. Assistant coach Dean Lockwood, the post coach for Tennessee, already had made the 115-mile trek to Elizabethton High School. When the head coach gets to the gym, that is an indicator of high interest.
“Six months ago I didn’t think these big schools would be interested and coming to watch me play, especially the head coaches,” Schubert said. “My dream when I was a little girl was to play for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, and I just think it’s incredible that they’re watching me.”
Schubert will continue on a path of due diligence. She wants to finish her senior season before she makes a final decision. Schubert also wants to take campus visits and intends to make a trip to Knoxville.
“I want to visit different schools, talk to everybody and get to know and see what I am going to join into,” Schubert said. “I don’t want to just jump on something. I want to see if I will be a good fit for that program.”
Part of that will include evaluating the rosters – and one look at Tennessee’s indicates a tremendous need for interior help. Mercedes Russell, a 6-6 center, is the only pure post returning next season. The hybrid posts are 6-2 Kortney Dunbar and 6-2 Jaime Nared.
“I am trying to find a program with really great people,” Schubert said. “I want to get better every day.”
The evaluations of Schubert typically include the same word – coachable.
“I will listen to my coaches and what they have to say and try to apply it to my game however I need to,” Schubert said. “I am a teenager, so whoever is coaching me obviously knows more than I do, so I need to listen to them.”
Schubert is agile and has shooting range to 18 feet. She runs cross country and track so fitness won’t be an issue. Schubert will have to get stronger at the college level and will benefit from a full summer of strength and conditioning.
When asked to evaluate her strengths, Schubert noted her ability to run, block shots and pass to teammates. Elizabethton plays a four-out, one-in offense, so Schubert is used to drawing the attention of the defense and finding open players, especially the three-point shooters.
“As far as some of my weaknesses, I need to develop more into a post player,” she said. “I haven’t really had the post coaching that some of these girls have had. I am going off athletic ability.”
That is not necessarily a drawback – and also not all that unusual – since Schubert is coachable and willing to learn. Post players have the steepest learning curve in college because of the physicality of the game and the need to develop countermoves. Schubert’s upside also has been mentioned repeatedly by those in recruiting circles because she has a high ceiling.
“I run well so I could be a stretch four,” Schubert said. “Or I could be a center, wherever that program thinks I will be best at. I think it’s great that Coach Lockwood came and watched me to see what I have to offer as a post.”
In hindsight, Schubert is happy with her decision to not sign with a school last year and end up in a position to evaluate multiple options.
“I think it worked out really well,” Schubert said. “I am just trying to take it day by day and play as hard as I can every day.”