Challenge One - Recruiting

New WVU head coach Dan Dakich will face many hurdles in the days, weeks and months ahead, but one of his first challenges will be building a recruiting base for the Mountaineer program.

A quick look at the current Bowling Green roster shows five players from Ohio, two from Indiana, and single players from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and West Virginia.

As one might expect from a coach who has spent his entire playing and coaching career in the Midwest, the roster reflects a predominance of players from that area of the country. The question is, can Dakich attract players from those states to WVU? And can a successful Big East conference program be built on players more attuned to hearing about the Big Ten or Big 12?

In basketball, even more than in football, recuriting often depends on the charisma and personality of the head coach. There are a few college coaches that can recruit anywhere in the country on the strength of their names, or on the programs they run. The rest must depend on areas of familiarity, contacts, and just plain hard work to attract talent.

Dakich's base of operations have obviously, and understandably, been based in the areas in which he has played and coached. Will he be able to extend that pipeline further eastward?

The other option, of course, would be to expand recruiting into new areas while keeping touch with the traditional hunting grounds of the WVU basketball program. The Mountaineer football program is attempting to do that, and the results this year seem to have resulted in another step forward.

In basketball, however, that might be more difficult. So much of college hoops recruiting is now tied up with getting the right connections to AAU and other summer league coaches and administrators. "Knowing the turf" is almost mandatory to make inroads in some recruting areas.

Will Dakich, who is nothing if not a dedicated and intense worker, be able to make those inroads into Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C.? Does he have other areas targeted? Will jucos be a major part of his early recruiting efforts?

We may get an inkling of Dakich's plans today, but the results won't available for review for at least a couple of seasons. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Dakich and his staff approach the giant rebuilding job that awaits them.


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