Some schools become known as “factories” for churning out collegiate players, and Mansfield Timberview’s girls basketball program certainly has the assembly line churning.
Right now, the Lady Wolves program has 13 former players on rosters of college programs across the country.
Those players, by class year, include:
2013: Lili Thompson - Notre Dame
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2014: JaLea Bennett - Arizona; Megan Badejo - UT Dallas; Terriell Bradley - North Texas; Dayo Olabode - Texas Tech
2015: Ugo Nwarie - Alcorn State; Lauren Godbold - Connors University
2016: Allison Hinds - Jacksonville College; E’Lexus Murrell - Robert Morris
2017: Chennedy Carter - Texas A&M; Taylah Thomas - Arkansas; Trelynn Tyler - Tyler Junior College; Jary Ward - Paul Quinn College
Next year, Lauryn Thompson is committed to play at Virginia Commonwealth.
The ability to secure so many scholarships is part talent and part system.
Coaches say it’s about building on a successful program, but how you get a successful program in the first place is the big question.
Timberview head coach Kit Martin said there’s no magic formula. The success of her program dates back to the opening of the school in 2004, and having a great — and well-connected — coach to kick it off may have been key.
“Candi Harvey started the program and was a head coach at Tulane and Texas A&M before coming back to the high school game,” Martin said. “She was instrumental in getting the program off and running and had lots of college contacts to network kids from the beginning.”
No doubt, the ‘system’ component helps drive the engines of the factory. Networking and relationships with college scouts and coaches come into play.
Martin is in her sixth year at Timberview and was previously an assistant to Gary Blair at Arkansas, in charge of the Lady Razorbacks’ recruiting.
“The process is very familiar to me,” she said.
That’s not to say that other high school coaches don’t know or understand the recruitment game.
When a scout can cast their line into a stocked pond, it sure makes the fishing easier, too.
The Mansfield ISD Spring Creek Barbeque tournament has a reputation for bringing together some great talent and powerful teams. It’s easy for players to be seen in a single event.
That tournament this year is Dec. 27-29 at multiple MISD schools.
Martin said the tournament provides a lot of “visibility to colleges who can do a one-stop, three-day evaluation of kids which turns into opportunities.”
But there’s no doubt that scouts and coaches develop confidence and trust in how a player is brought along during their high school career.
Hinds said her high school days prepared her for meeting the new expectations in college.
“I think the most important thing is (Martin) taught us was to always have grit,” Hinds said, juggling basketball and finals recently.
“You have to be willing to accept changes, because she did challenge me every day and that’s one of the reasons why I am playing at the next level today.”