Category Archives: Recruiting

1-on-1: UNC vs. Duke

—> Just like a game of pickup on the courts down at the park, we at EVERY MONTH MARCH will be playing a little 1-on-1 throughout the college basketball season.  Two of our writers will be squaring off in typical street-ball fashion on the ‘Debate Hardwood’ to discuss some of the most Hot-Button topics, schools and players throughout the NCAA. <—

So, over the next few weeks, we are going to begin some back-and-forth about recruiting battles that happen every day between rivals.

Where would you go if you were a top recruit? Why? Why not?

We see teams and coaches battle on the court, but the battle doesn’t end once the game is over. Coaches are at consistent odds with each other, competing for the best players to enlist into their program.

One recruit’s decision can significantly alter multiple programs at one time, and this can be lost on the casual college hoops fan. Let’s start with the biggest rivalry in college basketball: Duke/North Carolina.

DUKE

Pitching Duke on its own could be done by a half-witted fourth-grader while on the short bus on the way to school.

Not. That. Difficult.

However, when it comes to pitching Duke over their archrival North Carolina, the task becomes a bit more murky. Duke and UNC battle over the top recruits every single year, so this exercise is a pertinent one.

Take Austin Rivers, for instance.

He is, by all accounts, a top two or top three recruit in the 2011 recruiting class. His decision came down to UNC and Duke, and he chose Duke. That is an absolute game changer for both programs.

So, let’s take this from Rivers’, or at least a Rivers’-esque type of recruit’s perspective.

The old pitch against Duke would have probably have been: Sure, Duke is a great program. But how many guys has Coach K gotten picked in the top five or ten picks of the NBA Draft in the past five years? How many has he even gotten picked in the lottery? Now, the response to that is just two words: Kyrie Irving.

Irving did more for Duke than just playing in 11 games and bolting for the draft...

Irving did more for Coach K’s program just by being picked first overall in the draft than he really contributed on the court. Irving showed that Krzyzewski will take a guy into his program that will likely leave after a season, and that he will allow a guy like that to shine enough to be in the position to become a high draft pick.

That’s big for a guy like Rivers, or any other top recruit, these days.

What else is there really to say at this point about Duke?

Do you want to play in one of the most historic stadiums in college basketball history for some of the most passionate fans in the country?

Cameron Indoor Stadium—check.

Do you want to play for one of the three greatest head coaches in college basketball history? A guy who could have 90% of NBA jobs with the snap of his fingers if he wanted? A guy who has coached a gold medal team in the Olympics? Continue reading

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Filed under Draft Debates, General, Opinion, Recruiting

Mike Brey: Finally Something the NCAA Can Cheer About

The NCAA has had a pretty rough year.

Ohio State. North Carolina. LSU. Oregon. USC. Connecticut. Tennessee. We could keep going- the list goes on and on. All  these schools have either been hit with heavy NCAA violations or are currently being investigated for possible violations. Athletic Directors and head coaches are being exposed left and right. Every other day we would hear about a new program or coach under investigation. Even the “holier than thou” Coach K is being investigated! (Even if it is much ado about nothing).

But even ideas to spark beneficial changes in college athletics are being mocked. When SEC Commissioner Mike Slive suggested radical changes to improve the quality of student-athletes such as multi-year scholarships (athletes currently receive a series of one-year scholarships that can be revoked) or raising academic standards, South Carolina head football coach ripped the idea.

That’s a terrible idea, Commissioner. Do you sportswriters have a two-year contract, three or four-year contracts? … If you go bad, don’t show up to work, your butt will be out on the street. Everybody has to earn your way in life. That’s what I believe.

"Commissioner, Stephen has learned from this fifth suspension. I swear."

That’s right, Steve. Players have to earn their scholarships. But they don’t have to obey team rules if they happen to be your starting quarterback. Your boy Stephen Garcia has finally learned his lesson and changed. Fifth suspension’s a charm!

Coaches like Steve Spurrier and Jim Calhoun are all that are wrong with coaching in college athletics: it’s not about developing young men and women, it’s about exploiting them.

But there are some good guys in college athletics.

Which brings me to Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey.

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Coaches Facing Uphill Battles : Toughest Assignments for 2012

When ESPN and Sports Illustrated start handing out their Coach of the Year awards late in March or April, typically they are handed out to one of two types of coaches: a big name coach leading a powerhouse to an exceptional record or a coach on the rise leading a non-traditional power to new heights. The awards are great recognition for coaches who undoubtedly have done a tremendous job with their respective teams. But more often than not, they aren’t the coaches doing the best job coaching that season. The awards are earned from compiling a couple good years of recruiting together and developing players over time; not for just their successful records that year.

But if you want to really look for the best coaching jobs of the individual season, you need to start looking at the bottom of the barrel. Look at the squads who have almost no returning talent in the power conferences, where legendary coaches are on the opposing bench two to three times a week. Graduation, transfers, and early entrants to the NBA draft can leave coaches with rosters full of question marks. When expectations are at their lowest, that’s when a great coach can really make his mark and show his excellence in his craft. Finishing in with a .500 record might not mean a lot to the national audience, but the basketball junkies will recognize a job very well done.

With that said, let’s look at some coaches who will be trying to prove all those preseason prognosticators wrong.

Steve Donahue, Boston College 

Donahue will have to lead a young BC squad against the heavyweights of the ACC this year.

Here’s all you need to know about the daunting task Steve Donahue is facing this year: his top returning scorer is preferred walk-on Danny Rubin (4.1 PPG), who saw his playing time diminish in the middle of the ACC regular season. With Reggie Jackson’s early departure to the NBA and the graduation of six seniors, Donahue will realize how bare Al Skinner left the cupboard. Along with Rubin, guard Gabe Moton and junior Oregon-transfer Matt Humphrey will be the welcoming seven scholarship freshmen and a few other walk-ons. Although some of the freshmen will certainly be talented, Jeff Bzedlik learned last year how hard it is to compete in the ACC with a young, inexperienced Wake team. If Donahue can get this group to win more than five ACC games and show player development throughout the season, most Eagles fans will be thrilled.

Ed Cooley, Providence

A native of Providence, Cooley will try to resurrect the Friars and make them relevant in the Big East again. Losing first-round pick Marshon Brooks to graduation leaves quite a scoring gap for Ed Cooley’s young team and will be the reason most pundits are down on Providence. Throw in guard Duke Mondy being released from his scholarship and most will expect another bottom half finish for the Friars. But guards Gerald Coleman and Vincent Council have shown flashes of their talent and potential. But the Friars inability to consistently play team defense cost them in Big East play (8-28 Big East record previous two years) and ultimately Keno Davis his job. Cooley will be looking to build an identity that the Friar faithful can rally around and hopefully inject some life into the floundering program.

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Freshmen Focus: Who to watch in 2012

While most college coaches have been hitting the road and attending the summer all-star recruiting camps, Mayo and I decided to give a quick run-down on a bunch of formerly sought-after recruits who will be freshmen in the fall.The 2011 Class was loaded with talent and many will become instant household-names (if they aren’t already). But we’ll also look at a couple of the more intriguing recruits and a few sleepers too.

Best Incoming

Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky:

Davis will give the Wildcats another weapon in the post.

I’m taking Kentucky’s Anthony Davis here. Davis is many people’s consensus #1 recruit of this year’s class, so I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Davis’ combination of size and athleticism is tantalizing, and what’s more: he’s an impact guy on both ends of the floor. What will be interesting to me is how Davis will fit in with incumbent power forward Terrence Jones, who decided to stay at Kentucky for his sophomore year. Jones’ presence might curtail some of Davis’ impact as a freshman, but there is no doubt about the talent that he brings to the table. John Calipari will have one of those good problems of figuring out how to use both effectively at the same time. (Mayo)

James McAdoo, PF, North Carolina: The McDonald’s All-American Game MVP is an athletic specimen who like Davis can dominate on offense and defense. I’ve said before that McAdoo’s joining a loaded Tar Heel team that is very deep in the front court (Zeller, Henson, Barmes); but that’s not going to prevent the explosive McAdoo from seeing the court. He’s just too talented not to. Roy Williams has had deep teams before and he usually experiments a lot during November and December before finding a rotation he likes for conference play. Expect to see McAdoo getting 25-plus minutes and a spot on the NCAA All-Freshmen Team. (Giblin)

Biggest Impact

Tony Wroten, PG, Washington: Isaiah Thomas was the key spark for the Huskies when Abdul Gady went down with an injury last year but declared early for the draft leaving a void to be filled by the powerful lefty. Washington has some depth in the backcourt but Wroten, former Husky Nate Robinson’s cousin, has the size and skills to start at the point from day 1. He’s a legit 6’4” who uses his size well and distributes the ball very well. He’ll make an immediate impact and his play will go a long way toward’s deciding the champs of the Pac-10 (12?). Any guy who crosses up John Wall this bad is going to have a BIG impact (Green #1, 0:30 mark…might want to mute that horrendous music). (Giblin)

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NCAA Compliance made easy

On the list of major Universities across the country facing recruiting violations, scandal or even simple compliance issues, you’ll find the names of: Ohio State, USC, Indiana and in earlier times Georgia, Arizona State and even Boston College.

But, one name that you won’t find on that list – LSU.

Lousiana State has somehow remained in the clear when it comes to NCAA violations. How you may ask? Well, I think we may have finally found the answer…

Meet Super Compliance Guy, a master of the NCAA Rulebook and Jay Bilas Favorite.

Maybe Jim Tressel, Pete Carroll and Kelvin Sampson should take notice –

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UNC Recruit Values Spelling

Highly rated shooting guard P.J. Hairston made his decision to attend North Carolina over rival Duke undoubtedly for multiple reasons. One in particular, though, was fairly surprising given the aura and profile of Coach K’s program: they kept spelling his name wrong in recruiting letters!

It just goes to show you how mechanical and robotic the recruiting process can be for all college sports. Millions upon millions of letters get sent out to potential recruits starting early on in high school. If you have the right size and weight and build, you can bet you will get some initial letter inquiries expressing interest in your services. It is surprising, though, that Hairston, being the high profile recruit that he is, ran into these issues. You would think that after weeding out the pretenders, schools like Duke wouldn’t have issues like this with guys they are targeting; though, it also begs the question of how seriously they were considering him if they didn’t check their spelling.

It reminds me of a story I was told about current Georgetown guard Markel Starks’ recruiting process. Starks was very highly recruited out of Georgetown Preparatory School, and one night he was attending a function with his coach where he spotted the head coach of one of the programs that was most aggressively recruiting him.

His coach said, “Go up and introduce yourself and say hello.”

So he did. When he came back to his coach, he said, “That guy had no idea who I was.” And, in that moment, Starks, who knew that John Thompson III knew very well who he was, had his mind made up about where he was going to school.

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Trouble for Pitino? Louisville loses top 2012 commit

Pitino's loss could be Haith's golden ticket in Missouri.

Trouble could be a-brewing for Rick Pitino yet again this summer. Fortunately, at least this time the problem is basketball related.

Rodney Purvis, a five-star recruit and ESPN’s 10th ranked player in the class of 2012, decommitted from Louisville on Monday, leaving Pitino and his staff in quite a bind.

This makes the second major loss for the Pitino camp over the past week, as the Cardinals also lost top assistant and recruiting genius, Tim Fuller.

Fuller, who recently took a job on Frank Haith’s staff at Missouri, was the key to Purvis’ recruitment at Louisville and it looks like the shooting guard’s commitment was ultimately swayed by Fuller’s decision to move on.

The Skinny

Purvis has gained notoriety as a superior wing player and is best known for his rebounding and strong finishes at the rim. At 6’4″ and almost 200 pounds he presents a Dwyane Wade type build that could be a tough assignment for any defender hoping to slow him down on the perimeter. He’s really a transition player with tons to offer in terms of athleticism.

However, the biggest knock on his game has to do with his lack of a perimeter jumper. He is good with his mid-range but scouts seem to be a bit weary about having a shooting-guard on the floor, who essentially can’t put it in the rim from farther than 15-feet.

Landing Strip?

With his recruitment back open and schools surely salivating at the thought of having the beast slashing in from the wing for their squad, he is sure to be a hot commodity throughout his senior season.

As for possible destinations…

Purvis has referenced Missouri as a possible landing spot (following Fuller there) as well as a few other schools – North Carolina State, Duke, Kentucky, Florida, Baylor specifically – as places of interest as he moves forward.

Louisville is apparently still in the running for Purvis and it appears that Pitino will make a run at the kid, but don’t expect much in return as the North Carolina native seems to have his mind pretty well made up on the Cardinals.

Impact

The 6’4″ combo-guard could be a huge addition to any team across the nation but I think no coach would be more grateful of his presence than Haith at Missouri. The Tiger’s new man has some big shoes to fill, following Mike Anderson’s successful tenure, and he’ll need a top-25 recruiting class in 2012 to help build a solid framework if he hopes to make a name for himself in Columbia.

As for Louisville, losing Purvis is a big subtraction but Fuller’s departure could be the biggest loss. The recruiting guru’s absence could lead to more trouble for Louisville with the 2012 class, as Fuller had a hand in many of the possible commits for the Cardinals and without the presence of a superstar like Purvis other recruits may be less likely to join in.

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