UMass-Lowell head coach Pat Duquette and his older brother former Major League Baseball general manager Jim Duquette have taken different paths to lead organizations, but there has been a similar common denominator throughout their careers: Their ability to scout.
The two of them, as well as their cousin Dan, have spent time at gyms and ballparks all over the country scouting for similar characteristics in players for decades in their respective industries.
Both Jim and Pat said they are looking for the same things – athleticism and a strong work ethic – when projecting an athlete in their sport.
Jim remembers how many “man hours” went to go into scouting amateur players. He would show up four hours before a game for batting practice, infield practice and get a chance to make evaluations. He said he remembered going to Texas to see Cameron Maybin and Jay Bruce in high school and said, “between them I saw two at-bats that they actually swung the bat in the game. The rest they got pitched around or walked.”
As a basketball coach, Pat’s experience is a little different. Jim cited a time he was with Pat visiting a high school player, a possible prospect for Boston College when Pat was assistant coach there.
“He went to see this kid in North Carolina after the game [against Duke] and he showed up about 10 minutes before the game started,” Jim said. “He watched layup lines, he watched the guy take some foul shots. He watched two eight minute quarters and he says, ‘Let’s go. He’s not for us.’”
“It took him a total of 16 game minutes and 10 minutes before the game and I think we were probably there no more than an hour and he knew that a guy didn’t fit in their equation. I’ve always kidded him about that aspect of it the evaluation process. I wish we had the same deal, that we could do that in baseball, but we can’t pull it off.”
Pat has already locked in five verbal commitments for his 2014 recruiting class at UMass-Lowell. Those recruits will be able to sign as soon as November 13, the first day of the early signing period for the 2013-14 recruiting calendar, but he has already shown the acumen that has made him one of the best recruiters at the Division I level.
“He’s really good at evaluating talent,” said Bryant head coach Tim O’Shea. “He’s one of those guys that could talk to anybody.”
“He’s a phenomenal recruiter because he’s a very thorough evaluator of players,” said Bucknell head coach Paulsen, who hired Pat as a young assistant at St. Lawrence. “He just has a great ability to establish a rapport with all types of people.”
Pat said he credits the staffs he’s worked on with for him strengthen his evaluation skills. “I think it is one of my strengths,” Pat said of his ability to scout. “I’ve spent a lot of time doing that here because it’s something that I know and I know it’s something that’s going to be critical for the long term success of the program. Being a first year head coach I’m sure I’ve got a lot of weaknesses and hopefully can offset some of them.”
Luckily for Pat, scouting is in his blood.
Ryan Restivo covers the America East for Big Apple Buckets, read his America East preview on ESPN.com as part of the ESPN Insider College Hoops 2013-14 Preview. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.