Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Don't mess with Team Webster

Beware! Yes, if Team Webster approaches you at the local basketball gym for a 'friendly' game of three-on-three, well, don't say we didn't warn you. You might think C.J. is the ringer of the trio but we're not so sure anymore. We recently engaged Sharon Webster, C.J.'s mother for a question-and-answer session and we
promised not to ask about her three-point range or rebounding ability. Little did we know that mom is the enforcer, having the backs of her husband and C.J. whenever they take to the court

Here's the evidence:

Haven't you heard from whom C.J. get's his talent? Honey, let me tell you momma got moves. Ain't no shame in my game! My rebounding is ridiculously radical. Three-point range...not so much. However, I am still known for getting into foul trouble in the paint. Got a tech and was thrown off the court in league play this past summer for an "accidental" elbow to the mouth of an opponent. But it was worth it, we won! Church Ladies 48 vs Singing Baptist Men 40. That one particular player couldn't sing for awhile, but he recovered okay.

Yikes. We will make sure to call her Mrs. Webster every time from now, probably with a visible genuflection thrown in for this Queen of the Court.

Here's our Q and A:

Q - When C.J. was a high school junior and senior, what was the recruiting process like for you as a parent? Were there calls day and night interrupting meals? Did the mail deliverer give you dirty looks due to all the recruiting materials sent to C.J.?

SW - Yes, there were hundreds of calls from schools all over the country. When we would initially speak to a coach, we would tell them the best time to call. When they would get overly eager and call during dinner, my husband would answer the phone and not so politely tell him that we're in the middle of dinner and to call back later. Except my husband sounded more like Mr. T... "We eatin fool, call back tomorrow and not at dinner time!" I would look across the table at C.J. and cringe, feeling very uncomfortable for the poor fellow on the phone. C.J. would look back at me and just shrug his shoulders and say "I told him what time to call me, I don't feel sorry for him." Then C.J. would just continue stuffing his face full of food.

And yes there was tons of mail. Too many trees had to suffer so that C.J.could receive the "just keeping in touch" bi-weekly mail.

Q - If there was one, what's the most amusing thing you recall from any of the home visits by college coaches?

SW - I won't mention names, but I still snicker when I think about this particular recruiting visit. We had scheduled a visit via an asst coach to meet with him and the head coach of a well-known out of state private school. So the assistant shows up without the head coach! Well, we had attended a really great parent recruiting education seminar hosted by RCS Sports (Jim Hicks), and learned that if a school is really serious and truly wants your child, then the head coach will always be apart of the process. So we sat down and asked the whereabouts of the head coach. The asst coach gave some lame answer and/or excuse that I can't even remember. Anyway, it wasn't going to fly with me. So I cut everything short and stood up so that he knew it was time for him to leave. In the meantime, you could smell all these delicious aromas coming from my kitchen. The dining room table was set beautifully for our expected visitors. I was getting a bit ticked off about the whole thing by now. Anyway, the guy was taking his time about leaving, so I went into the kitchen and started fixing to-go plates for C.J.'s high school coach to take home with him. Mind you I had not offered Mr. Assistant Coach a crumb. The guy was unbelievable, he comes over and looks at Coach Nic's plate and says, "that sure looks good, is that peach cobbler?" I give him the evil eye and answered very matter of factly, "yes it is." Trying to be sarcastic, he's says "no thank you, I already ate before I got here". Then he BURPED really loud in the middle of his sentence! I opened the door to show him out, and fanned the burp out behind him.

Q - How was C.J.'s initial destination (Texas State) determined as the one for him? Was it totally up to C.J.? Was there family input?

SW - There was lots of input from C.J.'s entire family. All of my brothers were student-athletes and now most of them are coaches, so it was hard for them to keep their mouths shut. My husband and I had C.J. compile lists and work his way through it with pros & cons. When it got down to the final three, then C.J. had to make the decision.

Q - After C.J. was injured and then went through various coaching changes, what was going through your mind during this time?

SW - I always knew that things would work out for C.J. Among his God-given talents, basketball is one which he truly loves and cherishes. This was just a detour on his road to success. I always told him there is a lesson, something God wants you to learn from all this. C.J. is stronger, wiser and better since going through this experience. Although I was trying to stay positive and give C.J. good motherly advise, there were times when I wanted to get on a plane and pay a visit to one particular coach and just beat him like he had stolen something! Wham! Pow! But I'm over it now. You know, stuff happens...get up, move on, get over it.

Q - Were there any 'restrictions' placed on C.J.'s choices when deciding on a new D-1 school (We can't fully remember but sort of recall C.J. saying Hawaii was ruled out due to its location)?

SW - I met Coach Nash and was very impressed with him as a person as well as with his b-ball program. The location was indeed a factor. C.J.'s dad told him that he had to choose a school that he (Dad) could drive to in one day or get there by plane within four hours. Overall, it had to be a good school academically and the head coach had to be a man of character who would hold his players accountable.

Q - How did the decision for C.J. to attend San Jose State come about?

SW - When things didn't seem to be panning out for C.J. to attend Virginia Tech or Gonzaga, we moved on. We were not going to sit on our hands and wait for Bill or Seth to make up their minds. C.J. was concentrating on schools in PAC 10 & WAC, I was more interested in getting him a little closer so I contacted LSU and University of New Orleans. I thought C.J. could be the next "Big Baby", but LSU never responded, imagine that. UNO responded immediately and was very interested, but they did not make our short list. However, once C.J. started on his California schools list, it was all over. CalPoly, Long Beach and Fullerton were battling it out for C.J. We really took a liking to Asst Coach Marlon Morton @ Cal Fullerton. However, their new incoming head coach didn't seem to be interested and passed on C.J. Coach Morton gave C.J.'s info to his good friend Don Williams @ San Jose. When C.J. flew out for the official visit, the choice was made. C.J. canceled his visits to Hawaii and a couple other schools. He was sure this was the place for him. He was really impressed with Coach Nessman and could see Coach Nessman's vision for the future of the SJSU MBB and wanted to be right smack dab in the middle of it.

Q - What advice would you give to parents who have sons or daughters just entering the recruiting process?

SW - Read the coaches bio's. Get a feel for who they are and what experience they may/may not have.
Get educated about the recruiting process.
Be knowledgeable. Don't believe everything coaches tell you, find out for yourself.
Research the school's academic standing. Find out graduation rate for athletes & non-athletes.
Question the head coach about his contract. Renewing? Contract terms? If the coach is out next year, 9 times out of 10 your kid is out also!
How does the coach see your child fitting into their program? In what capacity or role?
What type of support system do they have in place for student-athletes?
After you as a parent have investigated, researched and asked loads of questions, what is your gut feeling about the head coach? Is he/she a strong leader? Is this a person of good character and moral standards?
Don't be afraid to get in somebody's face about your kid, even if your child is 6'10 & 265 lbs.

Thank you of The Court for your time and participation -- it's been quite informative. Please do let us know when you will be at Walt McPherson Court for one of the SJSU games and the refreshments will be on us. In fact, bring all of the Church Ladies as we would love to witness them against all foolish takers.

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