For recruiting, assistant coaches carry heavy load

AARON BEARD AP Basketball Writer Published:

Rick Barnes hadn't even seen Kevin Durant play when Texas offered the high school sophomore a scholarship.

The offer came from an excited assistant coach, Russell Springmann.

While Springmann admits getting a little ahead of himself that day, in the world of recruiting it's an army of relatively unknown assistants like Springmann driving the college basketball bus -- the Caliparis, Krzyzewskis and the Barneses are routinely used as the game's closers.

The assistants often spend months selling a recruit on a school and its head coach, making the first handshake and befriending anyone around the player to learn anything they can to get ahead of the competition.

Former Pittsburgh assistant Barry Rohrssen says a good assistant serves as "the bridge" between a recruit and a head coach.

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