Tag Archives: Coach K

Recruiting Pitches: Guessing What Coaches Say

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports recently sat down with UCLA coach Ben Howland and discussed the misleading negative pitches that opposing coaches use on recruits. Howland makes them play defense. His offense isn’t fun. He’s not easy to play for. Coaches trying to steer potential players away from Pauley Pavillion probably use any or all of these anti-UCLA pitches. Howland just points to the 9 former Bruins in the league and how they haven’t all been Top-10 recruits like Kevin Love who would make the league (see: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ryan Hollins, Darren Collison).

This got me to thinking – If those are the attacks that Howland has to defend, what negative pitches do other coaches have to deal with and what are their counter-pitches?

John Calipari, Kentucky

What they say: “Coach Cal will be looking for your replacement before you arrive on campus and will be booting you off campus before the tournament ends. He’ll act like he’s your best friend and really cares about you, but he only cares about one person: John Calipari. He’s put two schools on probation and had their Final Fours vacated before he sneaked out-of-town. You’ll be lucky if he’s there when you arrive on campus. P.S. – he’s never won the big game.”

Please come to Kentucky now...I may have to leave by 2012.

What he fires back : “I win. Period. Everywhere I have gone, I have resurrected floundering programs. But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What’s been your dream since you were in middle school? Play in the NBA? That’s what I thought. I can make your dream a reality. Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Camby…I can go on. I’ve had five players drafted in the first round in one individual draft. FIVE. You want to get paid to play? Play for me…I mean the NBA obviously.”

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

What they say: “How many of Coach K’s players get drafted in the lottery? How many become stars in the NBA? Sure there’s a few, but not all that many. Coach K is worried about his legacy and his program–not your future. He’ll make you do it his way or you won’t play. Plus, it’s Duke–a small private school known for smart kids. How much fun are you going to have there?”

He fires back: “Ask any player I’ve ever coached whether they regret playing at Duke. Whether they were one of the few to leave after their first season or two (William Avery, Elton Brand, Kyrie Irving, etc.), whether they were a star on a championship team, or whether they rode the bench. I guarantee you they will look back on their experience here as some of the best years of their lives. Duke is a family, and once you’re part of the family, you’ll always be part of it. And if you’re good enough to go pro, I will support you every step of the way. Just ask Kyrie Irving. And, by the way, basketball players are gods here. Trust me, there is no better place to play.”

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SEC Spring Meetings: Thumbs Up…Thumbs Down?

Mayo:  The SEC announced this week that they would be cutting the cord on their previous divisional set up within the conference this coming season.


The divisional set up was clearly done for the purposes of the football season, as there has to be a way to decide who will play for the conference championship. Basketball, on the other hand, has conference tournaments to decide that. Go figure.

A divisional set up simply does not make sense for a college basketball conference, which is why the SEC was the last to make the change. All it did was screw up the seeding of the conference tournament. You would have teams playing each other in the first round that really shouldn’t have faced off until the semifinals, potentially. That is a product of the divisions not being equal, as well. Last season, five teams from the SEC East received bids to the NCAA Tournament. The West? A goose egg.

Really, the only question is why it took so long for this change to be made. I’ll toss it to Giblin for his analysis on the move and how it shapes things in the SEC going forward.

Giblin: First, Florida coach Billy Donovan suggested the conference tournament be seeded by RPI.Huh? How did this guy win 2 National Championships? Yes, Billy. Let’s seed the tournament based off of computer ratings which has been a flawless system for college football and gone over so well with the media and fans. Idiot.

Seeding based off the RPI? Shut up Billy and start working on your end of game strategies.

Like Mayo said, why did it take this long? There’s a reason the other BCS conferences don’t have divisions – it’s stupid. Take a look at the Southeastern Conference’s standings from this past year. The SEC East was a lot better than the West last year going 27-9 against them in head to head competition. The unbalanced schedule led to two undeserving teams getting byes in a pretty competitive SEC tournament. That isn’t right. Have every other team face each other once, play a couple of rivals home-and-home every year. The other match-ups rotate on a yearly basis. Seed the tournament on overall conference standings. It’s not perfect but it’s better than what they have.

But Mayo, have you heard that the SEC is contemplating increasing their schedule from 16 games to 18, or potentially 22? That’s leave the schools with about ten out-of-conference games a year. Wouldn’t it be almost impossible to get a true gauge of how good the conference is? Seven or eight of the ten games would be cupcakes, so we’d be looking at three out-of-conference games to judge most of the schools on. 22 seems like a bit too much.

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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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