College coaches visit Prairie

Some big-time schools came to watch a big-time player the other night at Prairie High School. They saw more than one strong performance, though.

Coaches representing Arizona, Gonzaga, and Washington were in the stands to watch Prairie junior Heather Corral. She did not disappoint.

After a slow start shooting-wise, Corral finished with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting. And she played her typical stellar defense. A 6-foot-1 guard with long arms, she had five blocked shots. She also added a steal, three assists, and six rebounds to her full stat sheet, helping the Falcons clinch their 14th consecutive league championship.

The Corral family is used to the attention. Heather’s older sister, Ashley, plays Pac-10 ball at USC. Now it is Heather’s turn to get the recruiting treatment.

But the one thing that many fans fail to realize is that when these coaches come to see one player, they are paying attention to all the others, as well.

Angela Gelhar has already signed with Saint Martin’s in Lacey. But she must have looked really good to the bigger schools when she drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter. She ended up with five and a team-high 23 points.

Then there was the solid play of sophomore Megan Lindsley, who was 4 of 6 from 3-point range, plus she had five assists. 

She had to make an impression. Now, that does not mean she is necessarily high on the lists for Arizona, Gonzaga, or Washington, but trust me, coaches talk to their peers. A lot.

Not predicting Lindsley’s college just yet. But let’s just use a solid performance by a sophomore as an example here:

Let’s say a sophomore who is not a Pac-10 athlete impresses a Pac-10 coach with her play. A coach from a smaller conference or a Division II school, for example, might get a call from that Pac-10 coach. “Hey, I was in Vancouver to watch Corral, and I saw someone there who you might want to take a look at.”

Trust me, those conversations happen.  

Or friendships in the coaching ranks can lead to this scenario: A Division II coach who has known a Pac-10 coach for years, calls the coach to ask if he/she has seen anyone that did not make his/her recruiting list but might work out there.

It happens.

So when the big schools come to watch the “big-time” player, remember, they are watching every player on the court. And when a sophomore pours in 3-pointers like they are lay-ups and keeps finding the open teammate for a better shot, that player will get noticed.

It is a win-win situation.

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