Stiles would like to see better work ethic
Jackie Stiles grudgingly acknowledged her age — she’s 31.
And now making a living, in part, by working with youngsters Stiles probably feels more and more like shaking her head and saying, “Back in my day…”
Believe it or not it has indeed been nearly 10 years since Stiles completed her eye-popping playing career at Missouri State (then Southwest Missouri State) in Springfield, Mo.
In addition to everything else she has accomplished in the game, Jackie Stiles just may have been the hardest worker in the history of women’s basketball.
And even though she is impressed by the talent out there and is optimistic on the direction the game is going, a lack of work ethic in younger players is a bit troubling to her.
Stiles was in Rolla last Thursday to put on a clinic as part of the Licking Summer Camps.
There were 95 campers at the event, which was relocated twice for various reasons and finally held at the Missouri S&T Student Recreation Center gyms next to the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building.
Stiles worked with the campers for nearly four hours, followed by Q&A and autograph sessions.
The campers were all ears…because their respective coaches have filled them in on the greatness of Stiles.
Stiles twice led the NCAA in scoring (2000, 2001), became the first (and so far only) Division I women’s collegiate player to score 1,000 points in a season and shattered the nation’s career scoring record.
She was the 2001 Wade Trophy winner as the nation’s best college player, when she led the Lady Bears to the NCAA Final Four. Later Stiles was drafted in the first round of the WNBA Draft by the Portland Fire and was named that league’s rookie of the year in 2001.
She played just two years of professional basketball due to a variety of injuries.
Stiles now runs her own business, J. Stiles Total Training, traveling the nation giving camps, clinics and motivational talks as well as doing personal training and sports broadcasting.
“It’s been very, very busy,” she said of her schedule. “I’ve been all over the place. Along with (Licking Summer Camp founder/director Dave Almany) we just had our first-ever college skills camp in Springfield. And we have two more scheduled in Portland (Ore. )and in Philadelphia (Pa.) I’m going to Colorado Springs after this and to Texas. And I’m learning a lot of Missouri towns very well. It’s been non-stop.
“It keeps growing and growing. A big thing has been Dave (Almany) has really been a mentor for me in my business. He is teaching me how to market. We’re doing the college camps together and we’d like to do a (national) high school camp together.”
The trademark of Stiles’ game was the non-stop running, moving, defending, shooting. She seemingly never stood still on a basketball court.
And she was always shooting somewhere, be it in the gym or on outside goals. Always dribbling. Always playing the game. Constantly. Basically you’re gym rat taken to the extreme.
In today’s young players Stiles says she just doesn’t see that devotion to the game.
“The biggest difference, I think, is back when I was growing up there were no cell phones; not all the distractions there are now,” Stiles said. “But what these kids have now are opportunities (that we didn’t). We never stopped playing; outside shooting, playing pickup games.
“I see better talent and more interest in women’s basketball now than ever before. Girls are playing at a younger age. It’s incredible. But I don’t see the work ethic. Kids seem to be a little more entitled.”
She adds most of that is simply a change in today’s society. But one thing has stayed the same…the great ones make themselves great.
“You see it everywhere,” Stiles said. “What I want these players to know is the work ethic is what’s going to make you special. Putting in the time…that work ethic.
“There are really no short cuts.”