In truth, it has been a smart move by these recruits, namely, Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas to wait until the absolutely last opportunity to make a decision. There have been an unusual amount of coaching changes this offseason and they are keeping their names in the press far longer than many of the other high school phenoms. In many ways, their names have become bigger than OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and Michael Beasley the most talented five of this class. However, high expectations for college freshman seldomly go as planned. Kevin Durant had very little national hype coming onto the college scene last year because he was an early commitment to Texas. Greg Oden had the most hype and never really fulfilled it until his nasty fucking block against Tennessee in the tournament. (That block and the national championship game solidifed him as the number one pick in this summer's draft.) Anyway, my biggest fear is that PPat and Jai have set fan expectations too high by marketing themselves as the two biggest recruits for a host of talent depleted college teams - Kentucky, Florida, and Duke. Is it really their fault? Not really. I honestly believe it is a very difficult decision for both of them.
The difference with recruting these days is that talented kids have a large number of schools to consider. Rivals.com usually has at least 10 schools listed that each athlete is considering. You don't have to attend Kentucky, UCLA, Indiana, Duke, Kansas, or North Carolina to get noticed on a national scene. Players sometimes enhance their NBA stock by playing on less talented teams where they are able to shine and get as many minutes and shots as they want. However, for mid-level kids who aren't automatically making the jump after their first year, I think it is a lot smarter to play for one of the big six schools. As a college athlete, especially in basketball, you want to be playing late in the NCAA tournament. That means you want to be playing for a damn good team. NBA scouts love the NCAA tournament, and love players who play well in the NCAA tournament. Just ask Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Mike Conley Jr., and Al Horford in two months. As a player you want to give yourself the most exposure on the national scene as possible, and that means playing for a team that is good. There are of course exceptions, players that made a name for themselves on worse teams who made big runs in the NCAA tournament. (See Bryce Drew.) This brings me to the point of my post:
I don't understand why there aren't more versions of the FAB five, or Florida's version this year, the completely annoying five. If I were a top 50 talent, I would want to play with other players in my class who I had chemistry with. These guys play in camps, AAU, and highschool ball with each other for years before coming to college and have to have developed relationships with one another, not in the Christain Laettner/Bobby Hurley way, but in a "hey we could play well together" way. I don't think Randolph Morris, Joe Crawford, and Rajon Rondo liked each other at all. In fact, I think they genuinly disliked Rajon. OJ Mayo and Bill Walker spoke all through highschool about playing together, but now they aren't. That's why the FAB five was such a special thing, and why, as much as I hate to say it, Florida's team this year was a special thing. If only my friends and I were taller, more athletic, better basketball players, and had a better work ethic. It could have been great.