—> 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.
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 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