In another opinionated piece, I will keep this one very brief. Tough (Elite) kids come from Tough Parents.
In a recent tweet, ESPN/Peach State talent evaluator Keil Moore retweeted a comment from elite 2014 pg, Brooke McCarty. To paraphrase, it went something like this:
"Back in the gym after a break. Rest, it has been real. Now I am back working on my future".
Anyone that has seen Brooke McCarty play respects her game. She is 5'5 and 120 pounds, max. However, she is a LIONESS! She competes and fights with the best of them. Her motor is incredible. In July, she played 5 tournaments, around 25 games, in 25 or so days and plays the majority of most games. She is a machine!
You do not have to search hard for the reason of Brooke's ambition. Surely she is self motivated, but her mother the equivalent of her on the sideline.
Attend any of Brooke's games and you will be able to pick out her mother real quickly. She usually is sitting at half court, as focused on the game as her daughter. She yells for her daughters team to box out, get a stop, play real defense, get tough, finish in the paint and all the effort commands one can think of. She is on point! She encourages her daughter when needed, she gets on her daughter when the situation determines it. She is tough on Brooke and consequently, Brooke is tough on the competition!
The explanation of why some kids are tough and some are not can not be adequately examined in a simple blog written by me. What I can say is that it appears to me that the parents that always make excuses for their child, fight their battles, hide them from competition, and treat them with kids gloves produce weaker basketball players.
Players like the Ogumike sisters of Stanford blow holes in the argument that affluent, well to do parents, produce kids that do not have that edge. Tough players have long been considered a by product of poverty and family obstacles. There are plenty of kids that have never wanted for anything, yet will bite to get in done.
I recently saw one up close. Haley Peters is an animal. Her work and practice habits are on another level. The Duke forward is reportedly borderline genius academically. Her brother walked on at Duke, $60,000 a year tuition and all. She obviously does not come from a family that is hurting financially. Peters is not the most athletic, yet, runs the mile in times better than most guards. She hits the weight room to the tune of getting kicked out by concerned coaches. Her story reminds me of current Texas guard Chassidy Fussell.
Fussell is willing to drive to San Antonio to work with a trainer, just to get additional reps. Her work ethic is almost legendary in Austin. Her parents could afford to hire her a personal trainer in HS and she pushed him to work out more. The former military man and Fussells' trainer has detailed to me her constant need to get better.
The common denominator between McCarty, Ogumikes, Peters and Fussell is that all of these elite players are tough and come from tough parents. Becoming elite is seemingly no secret. Tough expectations produce tough kids. Tough kids persevere to become elite, just like their parents expected them to be!