King Rice: I definitely think Vanderbilt can recruit at a high level. A lot of schools try to use our academics against us, which is very funny to me because to have high academics, that's better for the player. I'd rather be at a school that has high academics than be at a school that's not respected for their academics.
VM: The NCAA has reduced the amount of time you can have contact with recruits. How much harder has that made your job?
KR: Recruiting works better the more success you have. If we can get on the road and make contact and do a great job of evaluating and knowing which kids that we feel fit at Vanderbilt, I don't think it makes it harder. Getting to know the recruits may be a little harder because you don't get to talk with them as much as you used to. I think if you do a great job evaluating, you'll know who you want, you'll get on them right when you're eligible to get started recruiting, and then you'll have the success that you need to have.
VM: Vanderbilt has had recent success landing quality backcourt players, but hasn't been able to land a dominating inside player who can control the boards and score consistently on the block. Is that something the staff believes it can change in this next signing class?
KR: We have six scholarships to give this year, and we're going to concentrate on all the positions, but you always want to recruit a lot of big guys with the hopes that you end up finding the right one for you. I think that just getting out there, you have to evaluate and look for the kids who do the things that make you think that they fit in your program. With guards and big men, it all comes down to finding the kids early, watching them enough, and knowing once you make the decision on them that they can help you. The kids just have to follow through by working on their games.
VM: During Coach Stallings' tenure at Vanderbilt, he has been in the running and come close to successfully signing a couple of five-star McDonald's All-Americans but has come up the bridesmaid instead of the bride. What do you think needs to be added to the recruiting process to land that first 5-star player?
KR: It takes the right type of kid. We have a lot of great things at Vanderbilt. There are some very good young players in Tennessee, and that will give us an advantage to be able to watch them and know who they are early. We have to do our jobs and be excited about where we are and go after these kids. Sometimes, coaches talk themselves out of whether they can get someone, and I'm just the type of cat that I believe you have to go after somebody. Sometimes, they're going to say "no," but you can't let that hurt you. You've just got to keep going and keep working, and I truly believe with Coach Stallings as our head coach, we're capable of recruiting anybody in the country.
Coming Up in Part Three, Does The Princeton Offense Hurt Recruiting?