Even the very best high school basketball players have off nights. Of course, those young men work in order to make sure those poor on-court performances are at least minimized. Generally speaking, an entire team is going to be counting on the one crown jewel player to pour in 20-plus points or haul in 15-plus rebounds night in and night out.
The pressure can be tremendous, and proving that one is able to carry the load is definitely something coaches at the next level are looking for.
However, some college coaches want to see those types of games — the disappointments. Coaches like Florida’s Billy Donovan and Marquette’s Buzz Williams want to see how a player reacts to adversity, but why?
“I don’t believe you can grow as a player unless you go through a significant amount of adversity,” Donovan says.
Donovan knows what he’s doing. You don’t take three consecutive teams to the Elite Eight by accident, and you don’t win consecutive national titles just joking around. Williams, too, has elevated Marquette to lofty heights. He relates a story of one of the most successful recruiting trips he has had.
“The rest of the game, it was almost like he was the coach on the team. He was an outstanding teammate, he was always positive, he was helping from the bench, and his body language was unbelievable.
(His) coach said after the game, ‘Buzz, I’m sorry he didn’t play very well.’ I said, ‘I saw everything that I needed to see.’ Because he played as bad as you could possibly play but everything that surrounded that game told me about me about the character of who he was.
That was the only time I ever saw him play (in high school) and he’s turned out to be our best player.”
Watch the full video of the two coaches providing some insight into their respective recruiting mindsets below.