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Full Court Press

Full Court PressThe recruiting culture of women’s college basketball is increasingly intense, according to a Tufts graduate’s new book.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.08.02] Thirty-five years ago, attending college on a basketball scholarship would have been an impossible dream for a female high school senior. Today, with over $1.2 million going to women's Division I-A scholarships every year, a lot has changed. But according to a new book by a Tufts graduate, increased opportunity comes with a price: an intense, pressure-filled recruiting process.

"As the stakes get higher, [women in basketball are] ready to head down the same path as the men," author Lisa Liberty Becker told the Boston Globe. "The coaches are not evil people. There is just a lot more pressure on everyone."

One of the first to shed light on the recruiting process for women, Becker interviewed nearly 100 athletes, parents, coaches, and others for her new book "Net Prospect: The Courting Process of Women's College Basketball Recruiting".

"Why does one school wind up with so many good players? How does a coach attract talent to a program? How do high school stars choose a school? What is recruiting like in Divisions 2 and 3, and how do their methods differ from Division 1? And will women's basketball eventually be tainted with as much slime and scandal as the men's game? Those are only a few of the questions that Lisa Liberty Becker attempts to answer in her book," reported the Globe.

The recruiting process, writes the Tufts graduate, has become increasingly competitive in recent years due to greater popularity and participation in women's sports.

"TV has given high school players role models," Becker - who played basketball while at Tufts --told the Globe. "More and more girls are saying they want to play in the WNBA."

But this increased interest comes with a price: greater pressure on young women athletes in the recruiting process.

"Recruiting is a big head game," Becker told the Globe. "The coach will say, ‘We really want you. You're our No.1 choice.' And that's what the player wants to hear. But people can make mistakes in recruiting, both players and coaches."

These mistakes can include choosing the wrong school - which, according to Becker, can be detrimental to players' athletic and college careers.

''There are coaching conflicts, and sometimes girls are unhappy if they're too far away from home, especially after 9/11," the Tufts graduate said.

Becker's knowledge and inspiration for the book came from a lifetime interest in basketball.

"From age six, I have always been involved with the sport, whether in a playing, coaching or writing capacity," said the Tufts graduate, who now coaches and lives in Waltham, Mass.

"I thought this would be an opportunity to showcase the analysis of many different perspectives while also promoting women's basketball," Becker said in an interview with her publisher.

The Tufts graduate's book has been met with praise.

"Becker's book is both a clear-eyed examination of where the women's recruiting process is today and a cautionary tale of where it may be headed," reported Booklist, a magazine run by the American Library Association.

The Booklist reviewer called Becker's book "required reading for high-school girls anticipating playing college basketball."

Which, given the climate of women's basketball, is good advice.


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