Monday, April 23, 2007

Recruiting Sagas

The college basketball recruiting process is almost over. Usually at this time of the year it is pretty much over. In the past there only remained a few players debating whether or not to go to college or be drafted by the Portland Trailblazers. But this year has been different, players have made recruiting a 24 hour soap opera that has lasted since last October until now. And I have a little news for these recruits - only hopeless romantic housewives and Jimmy Wood enjoy soap operas.

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.

9 Comments:

Blogger Jumping Bull said...

Don't forget that it would be hard to keep Leonard on the floor very long due to his propensity for throwing balls at other player's heads and spitting in their ears.

April 23, 2007 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Pikey said...

I agree why wouldn't you want to play with good players, still get recognized and go far into the NCAA tournament to a final four and maybe even the national championship. Also just glad to see you all are writing again, there for a minute I thought you all had a carpel tunnel epidemic running the The Awesome USA

April 24, 2007 at 2:42 AM  
Blogger Codename Curveball said...

I am surprised that you put IU on that list of the big six. Maybe 10 years ago that wouldn't have looked misplaced, but sandwiched between UCLA and Duke, it just looks funny.

April 24, 2007 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Thelonius Monk said...

AwesomeUSA! will be back in full force soon. Three of the staff members are in the middle of law school finals, and one is preparing for an oral argument and his finals during the next two weeks. They also have a bachelor party, a wedding, bar classes and bar exam coming up soon.

April 24, 2007 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Jesus' Son said...

Please. Seems like AwesomeUSA! needs to reassess their priorities.

April 24, 2007 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger the butler said...

Law School Schmlaw School.

April 24, 2007 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Runs With Two Horses said...

Why do you guys keep telling people that I'm in law school? I'll admit that the whole "registered sex offender" status is alarming, but I don't see why we have to sugar coat things for our readers. I'm just a man, take me or leave me.

April 24, 2007 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger Codename Curveball said...

This is sad. My heart sinks just a little bit every time I open Awesome to see no new posts. It's like when I run to the mailbox hoping my new Hustler has come, only to find three bills and a flyer asking me to join the neighborhood association. Why did this have to happen? GODDAMN YOU, LAW SCHOOL. GODDAMN YOU.

May 1, 2007 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Jesus' Son said...

I have an erie feeling that AwesomeUSA! is dead.... which can only mean that law school did actually kill someone and that I will never read the debate concerning vampires and humanzees. As of right now, I think Vampires would win, which is based on pure intuition. Also, I now am down to 4 webpages that I check religiously, and 3 of those are ESPN pages. What an empty feeling TMonk, Runs, Natty and Leonard Peltier have left in my soul.

May 12, 2007 at 8:04 PM  

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