How Iowa lost Wes Washpun to Tennessee

[The scene: Tuesday afternoon, Carver-Hawkeye Arena offices, several weeks ago.]
[phone rings]

   Franicon_medium You've reached Fran-crest enterprises. State your business.

  Whoduniticon_medium Coach, you've been having problems recruiting, yes?

  Franicon_medium Who is this?  How dare you --

Whoduniticon_medium Settle down. I'm here to help. I am ... Whodunit, the world-famous Recruit-up Artist.

Franicon_medium Wow, Whodunit -- weren't you on VH-1 or something?
  Whoduniticon_medium Fox Sports Net Midwest, actually.
  Franicon_medium You're great, but you're for those pathetic coaches who can't get recruits.
  Whoduniticon_medium ...
  Franicon_medium Hey, I can recruit just fine. I got Basabe, Cartwright, White, Oglesby -- that's not nothing.
  Whoduniticon_medium But coach, we both know that Cezar Guererro turned you down, not to mention Jarrod Uthoff, Eli Carter, Pierre Jackson... I could go on.
  Franicon_medium OK, so I'm on a bit of a cold streak. Things will turn around.
  Whoduniticon_medium Maybe, maybe not.  What's your technique?
  Franicon_medium Well, I talk about the opportunity to play right away in a major conference on national TV, tell them about the new practice facility, and give them a tour of our fine city here.
  Whoduniticon_medium And what do you do when they ask about the losing record?
  Franicon_medium I'm honest with them. I say, yes we struggled at times last year, but we also showed clear improvement, and that they have the chance to get in on the ground floor of something that will be pretty special.
   Whoduniticon_medium I see... Fran, it's no surprise the recruits are turning you down.  You've made it all about you, about how much you have to offer, about how much you could do for them.

 


  Franicon_medium Well, what the H else am I supposed to talk about?
  Whoduniticon_medium When you just talk about all the great things you can give to them, the recruit thinks: "Why is he trying so hard to sell me on this place?  Does he think it doesn't sell itself?  Wait, this guy is desperate for recruits, that's why he's trying so hard."  Desperation is never attractive.
  Franicon_medium What am I supposed to do, pretend I don't need recruits?  I do!  
  Whoduniticon_medium Of course you do, that's your problem.  If a recruit looks hard at your record, at your depth, he's going to get the message that coming to Iowa means joining a team that is destined to struggle. That's why you need to steer the conversation as far away from Iowa as possible, make it about them, not you.
  Franicon_medium So, what, talk about how great they are?
  Whoduniticon_medium No, that's just more of a signal that you need them.  Pretend like you couldn't care less if they came to Iowa, like you already have Harrison Barnes, Marcus Paige and a 19 year-old Lew Alcindor committed to the team, and maybe you could fit another recruit in as a back-up point guard.  Talk about the holes in their game, how they would definitely need to improve their shooting or defense if they were to ever dream of cracking your starting line-up.
  Franicon_medium You mean I should insult them?
Whoduniticon_medium In a way, yes, but the point is to present the image that they need you more than you need them, that you're such a damn good coach that a player would have to be crazy to turn down the chance to play with you.  
Franicon_medium OK, I think I get it. Any other tips?
  Whoduniticon_medium Yes, wardrobe is very important. What do you wear to these recruiting visits?

 Franicon_medium  Suit, gold tie, nice shoes, Old Spice.
 
Whoduniticon_medium No, no, no... you'll never stand out that way.  Right now I'm wearing an ostrich feather coat, Bootsy Collins sunglasses and a rhinestone-encrusted top hat.  
  Franicon_medium Let me get a pen... ostrich coat, rhinestone boots ...
  Whoduniticon_medium You don't need to copy me exactly, just pick something distinctive.
  Franicon_medium Distinctive, right. Anything else?
  Whoduniticon_medium Just remember: forget everything you ever knew about being nice to recruits.  Do you have it in you to get ... mad?
  Franicon_medium I think I just might.

... LATER THAT WEEK ...

  Franmystery_medium Wes, good to see you. I hear you're considering Iowa.
Washpun_medium Yeah, it's down to you guys and Tennessee. I've been really encouraged by what you guys did last year. And it would be nice to stay near home. Do you have a pen, actually?  I think I'm ready ...
 Franmystery_mediumHold on there, fellah. How do I know you're good enough to play for the Iowa Hawkeyes?
  Washpun_mediumBut... but ... Bryce Cartwright played over 30 minutes a game ... you had Devyn Marble bringing the ball up the court... Jordan Stoermer!
 Franmystery_mediumYeah, yeah, yeah. Listen: your game is garbage. You can't shoot, you're two inches too short, and you can't play D.  Maybe... maybe you could make the practice team.
  Washpun_mediumMan, screw this. I'm out of here. And your skullcap double-goggle outfit looks ridiculous.
  Franmystery_medium[shouting after him] We don't need you! We've got a 64 year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabaar signed up for next year!

[pulls out phone, dials]

Franmystery_mediumI did what you said and ... and ... it all went to hell.  What am I doing wrong, man?
  Whoduniticon_mediumThat's a shame.  Did you tell him his game sucked?
Franmystery_mediumThat it was garbage!
  Whoduniticon_mediumAnd you got a new look?
  Franmystery_mediumI drew on hip facial hair and everything.
  Whoduniticon_mediumWell, keep at it.  You have to strike out a few times in the recruit-up game.  It's all about volume - tell 1000 more recruits they're garbage, and you're bound to get a few to take the bait.
  Franmystery_mediumAll right. Thanks for your help.
  Whoduniticon_mediumNo problem, Fran.
[hangs up]
[takes off rhinestone hat, glasses]

Cuonzo_medium   No problem at all.  [hits intercom] Ms. Currencysusanbanthonydollar, would you show Mr. Washpun in? Oh, and bring a pen. [laughs diabolically]

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