Coaches Corner: Recruiting is the Key

For the first time in Lady Raider history the team has a player who was born outside of the United States. <b>Patrice Edwards</b>, a 6-6 center from Trinidad and Tobago, was recruited by Coach <b>Marsha Sharp</b> while at Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas. If you take a look across the court you see two players, <b>Erin Myrick</b> and <b>Judith Smith</b>, both from California.

"Our philosophy has always been to go out and find the best players we could to fit the positions we had open", says Coach Sharp. "We realized that last year in the state of Texas there weren't an abundance of big post players."

When recruiting inside Texas failed to produce a center, Tech's attention turned to Edwards and Myrick. Along with Myrick, her AAU teammate Judith Smith was recruited by the Lady Raiders.

Coach Sharp did recruit from inside the state as well last year. "I believe we signed the best 3-4 player in the state last year with Darrice Griffin. We were able to get the post players we needed, as well as the best player in the state."

When it comes to recruiting the best, nothing helps more than national exposure.

"The television package for the Big 12 has really effected our recruiting."

Many Lady Raider games within the Big 12 were picked up by FOX Sports Net, and FOX Pacific last year.

"Our two players from California were able to watch many of our games, get to know our players, and see our arena full of fans."

Three other players from California will be signing with Big 12 teams this year, two with Oklahoma, and one with Texas. This year's recruiting class was ranked fifth-best in the country last year.

"They are true to form, and from what I've seen so far all four of them will be able to contribute to what we're doing."

The Big 12 is one of the premier conferences in the NCAA providing an intense learning curve for players making the jump from high school ball to Division I hoops.

"I think there are two things that great players want, one would be to play in front of a big crowd which has been one of the biggest strong points for Texas Tech. And second, they want to play against the best in the country."

The Big 12 will be very competitive this season with five Big 12 teams, including Texas Tech, ranked in the top 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. Coach Sharp believes it only helps when recruiting players being in the Big 12.

"You have to recruit well, and I don't think there is another key to being great at the college level besides recruiting," says Coach Sharp in talking about how to have a winning season consistently. "Great players attract great players. You also have to have a philosophy of coaching that you don't compromise."

Marsha Sharp has been coaching for 23 years, and in order to have that sort of longevity she agrees that you have to be flexible.

"I coach different now than I did 10 or 15 years ago because this generation is different to coach than the past generation, and you can do that without compromising your principles."

Recruiting is a key for consistency. Whether it's staying in the great state of Texas, a trip out to the East Coast, or down to the Caribbean, Coach Sharp always seems to find the players she wants. Look for this year's recruits to make a statement on the court.

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