WSU's Mastro recruiting NorCal for 2 decades

WHAT DO housing trends in Northern California have to do with Washington State recruiting? Plenty, as it turns out, in talking to Cougar assistant coach Jim Mastro.

Mastro worked his territory hard during the recently concluded spring evaluation period – not just because he enjoys recruiting as much as he does, because it’s a requisite to find Pac-12 quality talent in parts of the region.

“The talent level in Northern California is not as good as some people might think, especially in San Francisco, San Jose, the Bay Area. You really have to find the diamond in the rough type of guys. Through the coaches I know, that have been there a long time, you kind of get an idea of where those guys are at,” said Mastro.

And Mastro knows the coaches in his primary recruiting area -- one that stretches about five hours by car from Santa Rosa to Santa Maria -- quite well.

“I’ve been in Northern California for basically 25 years off and on, so the hardcore coaches who have been around forever, I know those guys well,” said Mastro. “It’s really good for us because I do know them so well, I get a lot of information from those guys not just on their players but on other players in the area. Being in the area for that long and having the ties, it helps.

“The really good areas that have the most kids are Sacramento, Fresno -- the Valley, because all those people moved inland when the housing market was so big and so expensive. You saw about 10-15 years ago all the talent start going into Tracy, Fresno, Sacramento, Rockland – it all moved inland because the housing was so much more affordable.”

IT’S WORTH NOTING HERE Mastro’s contributions to the 2015 class. He ran the recruiting point on no fewer than six of WSU’s 2015 class signees. And in a cycle marked by lots of chaos and flipping at the end, every one of Mastro’s pledges stayed true.

“In the coaching world, in Northern California, you’ve got to really go find ‘em and do a good job of evaluating,” said Mastro. “I hit about eight schools a day (on average) this time. I had a Friday where I hit 11. You want to hit 7-8 a day if you can, even the ones that might not have any (Pac-12 quality) players for this year because you know the coach, or they’re going to have players later on,” said Mastro.

This week and next will be spent systematically pulling it all together, all the information and data gleaned from the past month on the road.

“You put together a strategic plan for each kid this week,” said Mastro. “What is it going to take, where are we at with him. You put a strategy together, you’ll start ranking everybody. You have the kids that you like and you have to go through and prioritize.

“Just like with everything else in coaching, you have to have a passion for recruiting. There’s a winner and a loser, and there’s no in-between. And I think your attack on recruiting has to be that way, with that mindset and passion.”

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