Explain How Good Recruiting Works

#1

creekdipper

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#1
The perennial subject around here is recruiting. For the last year, a lot of the talk in multiple threads has been about who can and who can't recruit. So the question is this: what do the ones who can recruit do differently from those who can't.

If we can set aside the obvious and glib responses...they get top recruits, they cheat, they win, etc....what is it they do so much better?

For reference, we can use Holly. It's constantly said that "she could recruit," but how? By any objective standard, what individual qualities did she demonstrate that exceeded those of Kellie? The only thing that comes to mind was Holly's early success with Pat's recruits, but even then the team could look like a mess at times.

There are certain factors that lie beyond a coach's influence such as the school's academic reputation, geographic location (natural or cultural attractions, proximity to family, etc.), family legacy, friends attending, success in other sports, etc. Then there are things such as facilities, fan base, perks (overseas trips), tradition, and other things that the coach may influence or have direct impact while still relying upon outside help.

But what do coaches have to do to attract top recruits? Remember that it's not just McGraw, Graves, Mulkey, Auriemma that are the yardsticks. Recently-fired Astin and Warlick consistently pulled in top talent. How were they able to sell their programs when the on-court results were lacking (if success is the biggest factor)?

And what specifically is Kellie and staff failing to do? What techniques and/or qualities do they have to show or use?

If we're going to be critical, we ought to be able to give the recommended steps for improvement, just as we do when making suggestions for on the court. Seems only fair.
 
#2

madtownvol

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#2
Actually, this topic has been discussed but plausible explanations quickly get lost in the noise because many seem overly anxious to declare Kellie a failure after year 1.

But hope springs eternal.

So let's start with some positives. Kellie succeeded in keeping Jordan in the fold and it appears that Rennia is coming back for her senior year. Early successes not be to discounted.

Marta looks like a high potential signing and a lot of folks seem genuinely excited about Tess Darby's potential. If Jazz had not transferred (and we can call that event a strike against Kellie), I don' think there would be too much panic right now.

But recruiting is about connections and time. Holly had already established extensive recruiting networks and connections that carried over when she become LV HC.

Kellie, by bringing in a new staff, is basically starting from scratch because to survive at Tennessee she has to tap an entirely level of recruits than she pursued at Missouri St. Events like the Kellie Harper basketball camps and her media outreach will get kids thinking about Tennessee at younger ages and start to foster connections that can be cultivated down stream.

In the short term, she is smart by tapping talent from Europe, finding a talented but somewhat under the radar player, and a grad transfer. Those tactics plus conventional transfers will probably the transitional model for the next season as well.

Kellie needs to WIN and build relationships and so it will take a little time for her to become a consistent top tier recruiting through the conventional channels.

On the plus side, though most on this board are now railing against the transfer portal (and the potential prospect of no eligibility penalty for transfers), these changes creates instability that will effect all programs and will likely work to the LVs benefit in the coming seasons, if not sooner.

My unsolicited advice is to just chill out on recruiting. The chips will fall where they fall. The LVs have enough talent (knock no injuries) to be solid next season. And a lot can change quickly, given the likely shift in the transfer rules-- who knows, some of the recruits Kellie has missed could wind up in orange before it is all said and done.
 
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#3

tnvolfan65

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#3
And what specifically is Kellie and staff failing to do? What techniques and/or qualities do they have to show or use?
Kellie and staff aren’t failing to do anything. The 2020 class was very deep into their recruiting cycle by the time Kellie was hired. If you want to point out Ivey, Vic, or even Holly as a counter to this point—very different circumstances (as I believe the poster above pointed out). Ivey has been recruiting those players to ND for years. Vic was recruiting those same athletes to play for him at Miss State. And Holly was active in recruiting Cedes, Jannah, and Jordan to Tenn before Pat stepped down.

The only 2020 player I think we may have added if Holly wasn’t let go is Sydney Parrish, but she didn’t even give Kellie a chance. MAYBE Reese, but honestly I think we dodged a bullet there, and MD was always the favorite.

Do I think our 2020 class has a superstar? No, not exactly. But I think we got three very interesting pieces with a lot of potential. Darby looks exactly like a player who would drop 30 on us. Seems like a late bloomer. Salary also came on our radar late, but her film looks solid. And Saurez—well I don’t think we’ve had anyone quite like her before. Seems like somewhat of a point forward to me. If her defense catches up to her offense, she could be a weapon.

I think we’re on the verge of a top-10 and maybe even top-5 class in 2021 and that’s without having been a top 5-10 program in years. If that’s not the case, then maybe there’s a slightly more valid argument to be made. But I would caution this board as being somewhat of a public voice of Lady Vol fandom to trust the process, whether cliche or not.

Look at what Barnes has done with the men. Everyone complained about the 3-star recruits he was getting. Fast forward four years and that class was one of the most successful in Tennessee history and piggy backed into Barnes signing a top 5 class last year. Barnes originally targeted high character athletes that fit his system and vision and used them as a foundation for the culture he wanted to have here. I think Kellie is doing the same.

Even Dawn Staley took several years at SC to start signing elite talent. (It helped that one grew up in their backyard). But again it was a process. Coach up the talent you get. Then more talent will want to follow.

I’m as guilty as anyone in getting caught up in the rankings of recruits. However I think we’re seeing with Holly’s recruiting history that there’s a lot more to it. We can’t coach up anyone or get a system running with kids that are going to bounce every year whether it be for academics, behavior, drugs, or a grass is always greener mindset. We’ve also seen that recruiting rankings alone don’t win any ballgames. PS look at the hoopgurlz rankings of the first round of this year’s draft.

So again to answer the question—I don’t think there is anything Kellie and staff are failing to do on the recruiting trail. They immediately went to work on the 21, 22, and 23 classes upon arrival because they know that’s where inroads have to be made. In the meantime they’ve gone juco, transfer portal, and international to plug holes in the existing roster. Looking forward to what Kellie’s first full class looks like in November. (Or maybe April depending on how this covid stuff shakes out.)
 
#4

LasVegasBill23

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#4
Good recruiting involves assessment of what your needs are ..... and the proposed fulfillment of those needs by the recruit...... keeping in mind her future interplay with existing teammates.... her focus on team and not self.... and her commitment to always give her best effort for the benefit of the school (team)..... I coached high school hoops and professionally led a management team, and in each case placed a focus on team chemistry,.... working together for a common cause, knowing that my results would probably exceed my expectations if I had everyone having each other's back..... rowing in the same direction.....
 
#5

creekdipper

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#5
Hey, really appreciate the thoughtful answers and certainly agree with Kellie's philosophy toward the character of athletes being recruited and the Barnes-type approach (while also acknowledging that the staff is going after some of the same high-profile athletes that the current Top Ten teams are going after). I also have faith in the staff.

I'm still wondering about the nuts and bolts of the recruiting operation. I've read a lot of SI articles about men's recruiters staying in contact with athletes daily via social media, contacting them in middle school, etc. Is that what Reeves did? (And Ivey and other recruiters). We hear about recruits saying they "just felt at home" with campus and staff after visits, but aside from team and coaches' records and reputations, what gets them to visit in the first place? Are recruiters promising playing time that can't really be guaranteed?

Just interested in the whole process from those in the know.
 
#6

Volfan2012

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#6
Thus far we don't know if they are failing to do anything. 2020 can't be counted they got here when the recruiting was almost over. This year is huge and thus far they haven't lost a player I was expecting them to get. Evaluation will come after those players go elsewhere or they come to Tennessee.
 
#7

Bballnut1952

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#7
Thus far we don't know if they are failing to do anything. 2020 can't be counted they got here when the recruiting was almost over. This year is huge and thus far they haven't lost a player I was expecting them to get. Evaluation will come after those players go elsewhere or they come to Tennessee.
That’s pretty much it. There will be time to evaluate the 2021 class after all the players are committed. Stay optimistic until then is better than constantly complaining about it.
 
#8

PG1

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#8
Good recruiting is more than just depending on all these $ scouting services who get paid to rate players. Lazy College coaches form a list from these and then show up at these overrated showcase events and just watch these certain kids play and no one else. They offer based solely on those 2 things. Believe it or not good recruiting still consists of going and watching kids play for their actual HS team. Yes it’s during their college season but good coaches find time to do it. Our previous coach just offered the tallest or most athletic kids with no thought to BBall IQ at all.
 
#9

savannahfan

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#9
The perennial subject around here is recruiting. For the last year, a lot of the talk in multiple threads has been about who can and who can't recruit. So the question is this: what do the ones who can recruit do differently from those who can't.

If we can set aside the obvious and glib responses...they get top recruits, they cheat, they win, etc....what is it they do so much better?

For reference, we can use Holly. It's constantly said that "she could recruit," but how? By any objective standard, what individual qualities did she demonstrate that exceeded those of Kellie? The only thing that comes to mind was Holly's early success with Pat's recruits, but even then the team could look like a mess at times.

There are certain factors that lie beyond a coach's influence such as the school's academic reputation, geographic location (natural or cultural attractions, proximity to family, etc.), family legacy, friends attending, success in other sports, etc. Then there are things such as facilities, fan base, perks (overseas trips), tradition, and other things that the coach may influence or have direct impact while still relying upon outside help.

But what do coaches have to do to attract top recruits? Remember that it's not just McGraw, Graves, Mulkey, Auriemma that are the yardsticks. Recently-fired Astin and Warlick consistently pulled in top talent. How were they able to sell their programs when the on-court results were lacking (if success is the biggest factor)?

And what specifically is Kellie and staff failing to do? What techniques and/or qualities do they have to show or use?

If we're going to be critical, we ought to be able to give the recommended steps for improvement, just as we do when making suggestions for on the court. Seems only fair.
I take exception to the statement that you think Kellie is failing.
 
#10
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#10
I take exception to the statement that you think Kellie is failing.
So do I
2021 is going to be Coach K's first year of recruiting
2020 was filling in the blanks and sh has done that well, except for the need of a backup PG (Which can still happen)
It is by 2021's recruiting that I will grade Kellie
to do so before then is to grade the MizzSt version of the recruiting, not the SEC-TN version
 
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#11

creekdipper

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#11
I take exception to the statement that you think Kellie is failing.
I don't think Kellie is failing. That was a challenge to the several frequent posters who allege that she can't recruit... for them to specifically point out the recruiting tools that (in their minds) she is either failing to use or not using effectively. It was intended to be the equivalent of a rhetorical question.

Sorry for creating a false impression. As I've said before, I have faith on Kellie and this staff to get the job done. I'm also excited to see our new Lady Vols hit the floor and also to see how the vets have improved. I followed Kellie's Mo State team with similar interest and continued to follow them and cheer them on this past season.

As previously mentioned, I was hoping to hear a general description of how the people mentioned as "top recruiters" work their magic differently from less successful recruiters. And then hear from this staff's detractors in what individual areas they find our staff lacking rather than just saying "Holly could recruit" or "Kellie can't recruit" (which we're still reading in other threads even this very day).

If I still haven't made myself clear, I've been a Kellie supporter since before Day One and continue to be. I'm just tired of hearing general criticisms without explanations. It's the equivalent of saying "Marybeth can't play" without offering any details.
 
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#12

stllvf

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#12
great thread!
Let me add another realistic issue facing recruits - what if there is no basketball season in 20-21? And if that were to happen then seniors would be given another year of eligibility and (do the math) some universities could not take additional players because they had exceeded the maximum scholarshops.

and what would be the honest answer if a recruit posed that question to the coach?
 
#14

GameTime

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#14
In this next class we have basketball players first, and athletes second, which is how a modern, successful team has to be built today......

Teams caught up with the old ways the Lady Vols were winning so many games....They found out if they got back quickly enough on defense and set up their defensive scheme, we often did not have the basketball players, nor the offensive coaching (Holly) ability, to beat a zone defense....This went on for years, until Holly was out of here.

Kellie talks offense strategy in her interviews, while the former coaches mostly talked defense, defense, and more defense...Holly was not a fan of the 3 ball, she said it several times...Pound the ball inside even if the other team has packed in so tight there was no room for a pass to get through, but don't shoot the 3 ball...The 3 ball is the one tool that has evened so many playing courts, but Holly did not like it....

Darby is a basketball player....Has a great 3 ball.
Suarez is definitely a basketball player, with a great 3 ball...
Keyen Green is a basketball player, an athlete second.
Salary is a ball player, with excellent athletic ability to slash to the rim and shoot the demon ball too..

Striplin, class of 21, is a basketball ball player with a great 3 point shot....
More to follow, just be patient and don't let Darth panic you...He loves to do that.

Coach Kellie is trying to turn the athletes she inherited, into basketball players...In time, we will all be pleased....
 
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#15
In this next class we have basketball players first, and athletes second, which is how a modern, successful team has to be built today......

Teams caught up with the old ways the Lady Vols were winning so many games....They found out if they got back quickly enough on defense and set up their defensive scheme, we often did not have the basketball players, nor the offensive coaching (Holly) ability, to beat a zone defense....This went on for years, until Holly was out of here.

Kellie talks offense strategy in her interviews, while the former coaches mostly talked defense, defense, and more defense...Holly was not a fan of the 3 ball, she said it several times...Pound the ball inside even if the other team has packed in so tight there was no room for a pass to get through, but don't shoot the 3 ball...The 3 ball is the one tool that has evened so many playing courts, but Holly did not like it....

Darby is a basketball player....Has a great 3 ball.
Suarez is definitely a basketball player, with a great 3 ball...
Keyen Green is a basketball player, an athlete second.
Salary is a ball player, with excellent athletic ability to slash to the rim and shoot the demon ball too..

Striplin, class of 21, is a basketball ball player with a great 3 point shot....
More to follow, just be patient and don't let Darth panic you...He loves to do that.

Coach Kellie is trying to turn the athletes she inherited, into basketball players...In time, we will all be pleased....
Excellent post
 
#16

PG1

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#16
In this next class we have basketball players first, and athletes second, which is how a modern, successful team has to be built today......

Teams caught up with the old ways the Lady Vols were winning so many games....They found out if they got back quickly enough on defense and set up their defensive scheme, we often did not have the basketball players, nor the offensive coaching (Holly) ability, to beat a zone defense....This went on for years, until Holly was out of here.

Kellie talks offense strategy in her interviews, while the former coaches mostly talked defense, defense, and more defense...Holly was not a fan of the 3 ball, she said it several times...Pound the ball inside even if the other team has packed in so tight there was no room for a pass to get through, but don't shoot the 3 ball...The 3 ball is the one tool that has evened so many playing courts, but Holly did not like it....

Darby is a basketball player....Has a great 3 ball.
Suarez is definitely a basketball player, with a great 3 ball...
Keyen Green is a basketball player, an athlete second.
Salary is a ball player, with excellent athletic ability to slash to the rim and shoot the demon ball too..

Striplin, class of 21, is a basketball ball player with a great 3 point shot....
More to follow, just be patient and don't let Darth panic you...He loves to do that.

Coach Kellie is trying to turn the athletes she inherited, into basketball players...In time, we will all be pleased....
I think we will be pleased with the ones she is bringing in but IMO the ones she inherited will leave basically the same as they came in.
 
#17
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#17
I think we will be pleased with the ones she is bringing in but IMO the ones she inherited will leave basically the same as they came in.
We have yet to see an off-season progress based upon a full season of assessment.
How bout we wait until the meal has time to cook before we eat it
 
#18

Amb3096

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#18
great thread!
Let me add another realistic issue facing recruits - what if there is no basketball season in 20-21? And if that were to happen then seniors would be given another year of eligibility and (do the math) some universities could not take additional players because they had exceeded the maximum scholarshops.

and what would be the honest answer if a recruit posed that question to the coach?
That is an interesting question. They allowed it for the spring '20 sports, so I presume that they would make concessions for those players that decided to stick around for an extra year? It would make sense....

...that is, if the cancellation of football just torpedoes the rest of college sports altogether for a year or two.
 
#19

savannahfan

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#19
I don't think Kellie is failing. That was a challenge to the several frequent posters who allege that she can't recruit... for them to specifically point out the recruiting tools that (in their minds) she is either failing to use or not using effectively. It was intended to be the equivalent of a rhetorical question.

Sorry for creating a false impression. As I've said before, I have faith on Kellie and this staff to get the job done. I'm also excited to see our new Lady Vols hit the floor and also to see how the vets have improved. I followed Kellie's Mo State team with similar interest and continued to follow them and cheer them on this past season.

As previously mentioned, I was hoping to hear a general description of how the people mentioned as "top recruiters" work their magic differently from less successful recruiters. And then hear from this staff's detractors in what individual areas they find our staff lacking rather than just saying "Holly could recruit" or "Kellie can't recruit" (which we're still reading in other threads even this very day).

If I still haven't made myself clear, I've been a Kellue supporter since before Day One and continue to be. I'm just tired of hearing general criticisms without explanations. It's the equivalent of saying "Marybeth can't play" without offering any details.
I'm a little slow….. Sometimes I react rashly to things I read and don't follow exactly what the writer is trying to convey. It is easy for me to get a false impression I just didn't study what you were saying. (never was a very good student):confused:
 
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#20
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I don't think Kellie is failing. That was a challenge to the several frequent posters who allege that she can't recruit... for them to specifically point out the recruiting tools that (in their minds) she is either failing to use or not using effectively. It was intended to be the equivalent of a rhetorical question.

Sorry for creating a false impression. As I've said before, I have faith on Kellie and this staff to get the job done. I'm also excited to see our new Lady Vols hit the floor and also to see how the vets have improved. I followed Kellie's Mo State team with similar interest and continued to follow them and cheer them on this past season.

As previously mentioned, I was hoping to hear a general description of how the people mentioned as "top recruiters" work their magic differently from less successful recruiters. And then hear from this staff's detractors in what individual areas they find our staff lacking rather than just saying "Holly could recruit" or "Kellie can't recruit" (which we're still reading in other threads even this very day).

If I still haven't made myself clear, I've been a Kellue supporter since before Day One and continue to be. I'm just tired of hearing general criticisms without explanations. It's the equivalent of saying "Marybeth can't play" without offering any details.

I'm a little slow….. Sometimes I react rashly to things I read and don't follow exactly what the writer is trying to convey. It is easy for me to get a false impression I just didn't study what you were saying. (never was a very good student):confused:

I think the considered concern with Kellie is not this year's recruits,,, so much as next year's recruits of which we have one commit. (Striplin) At this point it should be 2-3. There are still highly sought after players on the board, but the value of a salesperson is their closings not in their objectives.

We see other universities getting the "gets" and we need to see us getting them too

Teonni is the big question mark. She has many reasons to come here, yet she has refrained...why?

These are the things I consider may be causing questions in recruiting. JMO
 
#21

NeedOrange

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#21
Kellie and staff aren’t failing to do anything. The 2020 class was very deep into their recruiting cycle by the time Kellie was hired. If you want to point out Ivey, Vic, or even Holly as a counter to this point—very different circumstances (as I believe the poster above pointed out). Ivey has been recruiting those players to ND for years. Vic was recruiting those same athletes to play for him at Miss State. And Holly was active in recruiting Cedes, Jannah, and Jordan to Tenn before Pat stepped down.

The only 2020 player I think we may have added if Holly wasn’t let go is Sydney Parrish, but she didn’t even give Kellie a chance. MAYBE Reese, but honestly I think we dodged a bullet there, and MD was always the favorite.

Do I think our 2020 class has a superstar? No, not exactly. But I think we got three very interesting pieces with a lot of potential. Darby looks exactly like a player who would drop 30 on us. Seems like a late bloomer. Salary also came on our radar late, but her film looks solid. And Saurez—well I don’t think we’ve had anyone quite like her before. Seems like somewhat of a point forward to me. If her defense catches up to her offense, she could be a weapon.

I think we’re on the verge of a top-10 and maybe even top-5 class in 2021 and that’s without having been a top 5-10 program in years. If that’s not the case, then maybe there’s a slightly more valid argument to be made. But I would caution this board as being somewhat of a public voice of Lady Vol fandom to trust the process, whether cliche or not.

Look at what Barnes has done with the men. Everyone complained about the 3-star recruits he was getting. Fast forward four years and that class was one of the most successful in Tennessee history and piggy backed into Barnes signing a top 5 class last year. Barnes originally targeted high character athletes that fit his system and vision and used them as a foundation for the culture he wanted to have here. I think Kellie is doing the same.

Even Dawn Staley took several years at SC to start signing elite talent. (It helped that one grew up in their backyard). But again it was a process. Coach up the talent you get. Then more talent will want to follow.

I’m as guilty as anyone in getting caught up in the rankings of recruits. However I think we’re seeing with Holly’s recruiting history that there’s a lot more to it. We can’t coach up anyone or get a system running with kids that are going to bounce every year whether it be for academics, behavior, drugs, or a grass is always greener mindset. We’ve also seen that recruiting rankings alone don’t win any ballgames. PS look at the hoopgurlz rankings of the first round of this year’s draft.

So again to answer the question—I don’t think there is anything Kellie and staff are failing to do on the recruiting trail. They immediately went to work on the 21, 22, and 23 classes upon arrival because they know that’s where inroads have to be made. In the meantime they’ve gone juco, transfer portal, and international to plug holes in the existing roster. Looking forward to what Kellie’s first full class looks like in November. (Or maybe April depending on how this covid stuff shakes out.)
Great answer! The only point I want to reaffirm is that recruiting usually (there a exceptions) boils down to relationship. Those coaches that make a top 10 players final grouping are those that have built a relationship and have demonstrated a desire to have the player in their program.
 
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#22

tnvolfan65

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#22
I think the considered concern with Kellie is not this year's recruits,,, so much as next year's recruits of which we have one commit. (Striplin) At this point it should be 2-3. There are still highly sought after players on the board, but the value of a salesperson is their closings not in their objectives.

We see other universities getting the "gets" and we need to see us getting them too

Teonni is the big question mark. She has many reasons to come here, yet she has refrained...why?

These are the things I consider may be causing questions in recruiting. JMO
Why “should it be” 2-3? Because we fans are ansty? You realize it’s April right? These kids haven’t even started their official visits yet.

I think the reason we’re seeing an influx of commitments is the uncertainty around Covid-19. Will they get visits? Will there be sports in the fall? But these commitments are coming early in the cycle. Maybe moreso on the football side than WBB, but I imagine a lot of shuffling is going to take place before NSD.

As far as Teonni—Tamari knew she wanted to be Lady Vol for months, but her mom made her complete all of her visits and make a fully educated decision before committing. I’m sure Teonni will go through the same process whether she ends up at Tennessee or not. If more families thought like this, there may actually be less transfers year to year.
 
#23

creekdipper

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#23
Sometimes I react rashly to things I read and don't follow exactly what the writer is trying to convey. It is easy for me to get a false impression I just didn't study what you were saying.
I think we all do that, just as I sometimes write too hastily. I'll take the blane for this one. :oops: Thanks for the post! Saul Goodman!
 
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