Big shoes to fill (cont.)
Posted: Thursday April 5, 2007 2:47PM; Updated: Thursday April 5, 2007 3:28PM
Goestenkors -- who had an assistant handle radio duty at Duke -- will have to fill those shoes, but more importantly she'll have to win over the players and coaches from the 13,000 Texas high schools. It is, after all, those players who make up the bulk of the rosters of Big 12 South teams.
The recruiting game is different than what Goestenkors knows, coming from an area where AAU dominates the scene. In Texas, relationships with high school coaches are vital to recruiting. That's why Conradt and her staff spent much of their winter breaks shuttling between some of the biggest high school tournaments in the state and their own games.
Of course, Goestenkors has made some inroads in the area. She signed Houston's Lindsey Harding, an All-America and the top pick in the WNBA Draft on Wednesday. Just as she was able to win over Harding, Goestenkors will likely win over more of the state's top recruits. However, the Michigan native may have to work a few new words into her vocabulary. (Note to Gail: Y'all and fixin' to are good places to start.)
Goestenkors' credentials -- including a stint with USA Basketball -- will appeal to many. She's also shown she can help players improve and adjust their games. Harding is a prime example of that. Well known for her defense in the past, Harding changed her game this season to give the Blue Devils what they needed: more scoring. As a result, she earned Naismith Player of the Year honors. Goestenkors was the Coach of the Year.
Despite a Sweet 16 upset loss to Rutgers, Goestenkors showed the ability to adapt. Her team was picked to finish third in the ACC after losing Monique Curry and Mistie Williams to the WNBA. Instead, Duke rolled through the regular season undefeated and earned the tournament's overall No. 1-seed.
Now, as she rolls into Texas, Goestenkors will have to adapt once again. But if her track record is any indication, there's little doubt she'll be a success.