The evolution of recruiting chronicles the recruiting journeys of USSSA Pride players. Each player narrates their own story and how they ultimately made the decision on where to play college softball. Watch how recruiting has changed through the years from the stories of each player. The evolution of recruiting begins in the 1990s and ends with the recent processes of our Pride rookies.
The next recruiting story is that of another UCLA Bruin legend, Andrea Duran. At UCLA, Duran helped lead the Bruins to two National Championships. The NFCA All American was named the 2006 Pac-10 Player of the Year after leading the team in seven offensive categories. Duran left UCLA ranking in the top 10 in seven offensive categories including runs scored, triples, and stolen bases. Following her college career, Duran won Olympic silver in 2008 and has won three NPF Championships with the USSSA Pride.
Athlete: Andrea Duran
Alma Mater: UCLA, 2006
Year you committed: Fall 2001
How old were you when you committed: 17
How many official visits did you take? 4
How many unofficial visits did you take? 0
Did you make a recruiting video? no
How old were you when you first learned/thought about playing getting a scholarship to play in college?
AD: I was probably about 13 when I started getting really serious about getting recruited. My older sister had gone through the process so I always knew it was a possibility.
When did you first start getting serious about the recruiting process? Explain the steps you took (videos/emailing coaches/camps/tournaments/showcases/visits).
AD: I started playing travel ball when I was 11. I played 12u and one year of 14u when I was 13. When I was 14 I made an 18 gold team, but decided to play 18a. Since I played with older girls I got most of my college exposure from tournaments and my coaches talking with college coaches. To be honest, I did not write any letters to coaches, I did not go to any camps and I never recorded a recruiting video. When I played we did not have showcase tournaments or unofficial visits. I might have emailed coaches, but I do not remember. I just remembered that my teams tried to go to all the top tournaments across the state. I am from central California so we traveled to northern California and southern California a lot. When I was 15 and 16 I played 18 gold in central California. When I was 16 my team was in danger of not qualifying for nationals and that is when Gary Hanning from the OC Batbusters came out to watch me to see if I could possibly be a pick up player for them if my team didn’t qualify. My team ended up qualifying, but Gary gave me the opportunity to come and play for his team the next year. I played for the OC Batbusters my junior and senior year of high school. Gary was very proactive in getting his athletes recruited. He asked us where we wanted to go or talked to us about where he thought we should go and he tried his best to make it happen for us. I was fortunate enough to play for one of the best travel ball organizations in the country known to produce great softball players, therefore, our team got a lot of exposure.
Describe how you committed to your school (include years).
AD: I had 5 official visits set up with CAL, Washington, Fresno State, UCLA, and Texas. I took 4 of my visits. UCLA was my fourth visit and when I was on my way home I called Coach Enquist in the car and told her I wanted to be a Bruin. I think this was the fall of 2001. I ended up not taking my Texas trip.
Why did you commit to this school and why at that time?
AD: I committed to UCLA because it just felt right. UCLA is one of the most decorated softball schools and it could be very intimidating to go to a school like that. My goal was to play softball and to get a good education. UCLA is one of the best universities to do both. Winning is contagious there. The motto at UCLA is ‘Champions Made Here’ and it’s true, the standard at UCLA is to win Championships and every Athlete and Coach lived by that standard. In addition to this very infectious environment probably the one thing that won me over the most was the girls. Yes, UCLA breeds greatness, but they are also promote family. That is what I loved most about the team, everyone got along it really felt that I would be taken care of there and I knew it was a place I could always come back to. I knew I was not only going to leave a better student and Athlete I was going to leave a better person with lifelong friends. Living in LA was an added bonus!
Former UCLA Head Coach Sue Enquist:
[Dre will go down as our hardest worker in my 27 yrs. Nothing was handed to her. She started in the outfield and became the greatest 3Bman in our history. She embodies that iconic player who always believes they are a work in progress. I always believe an athlete ‘arrives’ when they realize they never ‘arrive’..you’re just constantly a work in progress. Her parents instilled those values in her.]
What happened from the time you committed to the time you stepped on campus?
AD: I continued to play travel ball. I woke up every Sunday at 5am and drove down to Orange County for practice with the Batbusters. I never stopped working hard after I committed. The goal on my travel ball teams was to win the tournaments we played in and to beat our rival teams. Yes, the goal was to be recruited, but ultimately we just wanted to win!
Looking back on your recruiting story, what stands out the most?
AD: I think going on my official visits. It is the first time you get a taste of what college will be like and being away from your parents. Each of my visits were so unique and I think they are something that I will always remember.
What’s your advice to athletes now on the recruiting process?
AD: The best advice that I can give is that everyone’s recruiting journey is going to be different. It is a very individualized process and girls and parents need to remember that. Do not worry about the girls on your team and who they are getting recruited by. There are so many schools and opportunities out there that there is a spot for everyone. One of the best things you can do is make a list of what you want. Do you want to live far, close, in warm climates in cold climates, big football school etc.? Ultimately, go to a school that is going to make you happy because college is the next four years of your life.
Former UCLA Head Coach Sue Enquist:
My goal in the recruiting process was to learn as much about the family as the student athlete. [Andrea’s] parents influenced her to believe:
- She had to EARN everything. They NEVER asked for guarantees.
- They must be the hardest worker out there.
- Being a good teammate was equally important as being the best player.
- Their personal standards would always be higher than any team they were on.