CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Will Wade has met a wide variety of people during his first decade as a basketball coach.
Between players, coaches, parents and staffers across all levels of the sport, it's understandable how one could amass quite a collection of contacts.
However, the new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach appears to be better connected than most.
"I didn't even know how to find how many contacts I had in my phone until I was given some direction, so I was certainly stunned," Wade said when he first discovered the exact length of his list.
As of Thursday afternoon, Wade had 3,543 names and numbers stored into his iPhone, which was 14 more than it was just three days earlier when Nooga.com interviewed him for a similar story.
For comparison, out of ten WRCB staffers polled, not one had a contacts list greater than 600 people.
"I worked at Harvard for two years and we recruited the entire country, so we cast an unbelievably wide net," the 30-year-old said when asked how he built such an incredible network.
While he obviously doesn't talk to all of them on a regular basis, he makes good use of the majority of numbers during recruiting.
Known as grinder, Wade has developed a unique, up-tempo scheme that isn't for everyone, and the same goes for the type of program he plans to run at Chattanooga.
Wade has his own criteria for identifying recruits who will have success in his system and be a benefit for his program, and many of them can't simply be found by clicking through a list of highly-ranked recruits on Rivals.com or 247Sports.
"I'm not concerned with levels. There's good players at all levels," Wade said. "We need the right fit for us. Not only athletically, but we need the right fit with guys who think the way we think, talk the way we talk and believe in the same values we believe in."
Wade's first two freshman signees are prime examples of that thought.
Greg Pryor was scarcely recruited at Memphis Ridgeway High, overshadowed on both his high school and AAU teams by a long list of top-level talent. He had plans to attend Southwest Illinois before Wade called up the junior college's coach, and now Pryor is signed, sealed and delivered to the Mocs.
Anthanee Doyle originally signed with Division II Queens University in Charlotte, but the school's coach Wes Long to UTC when he was added to Wade's staff. A few minutes of tape and a meeting with the athletic combo guard proved he had every attribute Wade was looking for.
"A lot can be said about basketball skill and on the court skill, but there's a lot of mental skill," Wade said. "Do you have a chip on your shoulder? Do you want to be here? I think it's very important to find guys who want to be here."
The returning roster of Mocs arrived on campus this week and will begin offseason conditioning and its first on-the-court activities with Wade next week.
The first-year coach still has one scholarship available for the upcoming season, but plans to be patient in filling it.
Or maybe it just takes that long for Wade to work down his phone list to ensure he's left nothing uncovered.
"We're not going to just give it out. We're going to be very picky with it, and if we need to, we can do a mid-year enrollee in December," Wade said. "We'll just wait to see what shakes loose, and we'll make sure we find the right guy who can not only make an impact for us on the court, but will also graduate from Chattanooga."
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