Twitter mailbag: Coach G
July 28, 2009
One day Texas Women's Basketball head coach Gail Goestenkors is in Indianapolis at an NCAA Mock Selection, and the next she's having a pot-luck dinner with her team while back in Austin. Such is the life for Goestenkors over the summer months, but Longhorns fans have been able to keep tabs on her via Twitter @TexasCoachG. Coach G recently asked her followers to submit any and all questions, and here are her replies from her first Twitter Mailbag:
Who are you expecting and looking towards to step up and lead this year's team? I think Earnesia Williams and Brittainey Raven will be good leaders for us, but I also think the young players have all improved and will feel more comfortable to take on leadership roles.
Who do you think will be most improved player for Texas? I think our most improved player will be Ashley Gayle, with Yvonne Anderson right there, too. I'm really excited about the entire team. We only have 10 players on the roster, but they have all really committed themselves since last season. The incoming freshmen are going to give us a great boost as well.
What game are you most excited about this year? What's the biggest obstacle this team has to overcome? I'm excited about a lot of the games. It's such a great schedule. Playing UConn in San Antonio the second game of the year will be a great test for us, and then playing Tennessee on their home court is always an incredible and exciting challenge. For us to be successful, we need to stay healthy because we have just 10 players and we need to have more of an inside presence than we've had the last few years.
How does the upcoming season look for your team? As I've said before, I think this is one of the most difficult schedules I've had in my 18 years of coaching. I feel really good about this team. We have a small group, but they are very close and they understand that to get more, we need to give more. They have been working very hard this summer - workouts at 6 a.m., classes and study hall. They have made the commitment to be great in all they do and I couldn't be prouder. Their hard work will all pay off.
Getting back to your pot-luck, what was your favorite dish and who prepared it? As for the pot-luck, there was so much good food I think I might have gained five pounds. My favorite would have to be the fried shrimp that Cokie Reed made. She also made a spinach-artichoke dip that was incredible. Yvonne made her mom's secret recipe for green beans and Hamburger Helper with macaroni that was delicious. Lauren Flores made some fries that reminded me of that commercial where one fry has no snap or crunch to it, just lies there limp. Well, needless to say, there were plenty of fries left.
What kinds of things do you notice in a recruiting gym? How often, if ever, do you go into a gym planning to watch a player(s) and then get blown away by someone else? When I'm in a gym, I'm usually there to watch specific players. I notice if they're athletic, if they understand the game and play `team' ball or if they're selfish. I notice how they interact with their teammates and coaches, if they are encouraging and respectful and if they are willing to sacrifice and do the little things to help their team win. I also look for defense, rebounding, setting screens and taking charges. I will at times see another great player on the court and always get excited when we find someone new to add to the list - it's like a treasure hunt. That's how I saw Alana Beard for the first time. I was looking at another player and she was on the next court. So I always keep my eyes open.
Do you actually make out a "summer reading list" for the recruiting period, or choose on a whim? I don't make out a summer reading list. I never feel like I choose books, instead, I feel like they choose me. I just walk into a bookstore (the bookstores in Atlanta are the best) and wander around until something gets my attention. I also get recommendations from my coaching friends on the road.
How do you maintain fitness while on the road and sitting in gyms for such long periods? It's really hard to stay fit on the road because we are usually in gyms from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. - and the concession stands do not serve the healthiest foods. I think I've had popcorn every day I've been on the road. I try to get up early and go for a walk or run. I usually go outside because I know the rest of the day will be spent inside. I take NutriGrain bars with me everywhere so when I need a snack, at least its healthy, and I always bring my green and white tea with me. I don't drink much coffee and many hotels don't offer tea.
What do you miss the most about your home and Austin when you're away? What I miss most about my home in Austin is everything. My team, my cats, my friends and my church. These things all keep me centered and I miss them terribly, but July 31st (the end of this recruiting period) is right around the corner and I'll be home, sweet home.