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Tracking head coaches means tracking top recruiting targets

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We’ve discussed the July evaluation period a couple of times this week, as it’s become a topic of conversation among the folks that happen to populate my twitter feed.

It all got started on Monday when Sean Miller, Arizona’s head coach, took to twitter to rant about how much he disliked the new July schedule.

In a nutshell, these coaches are allowed on the road to evaluate for 15 days in a 19 day stretch, which can be a grind for both coaches and, more importantly, the players.

Here’s the irony in all of this: Miller is one of the few coaches that isn’t out on the road evaluating. He’s not in gyms trying to spot new players; he’s there to be spotted by the players he’s already recruiting. He’s on the road to be seen. He wants each and every one of the players that he covets to know that they are important enough to demand his full attention in the limited time he has to recruit.

He’s not alone, either. Take a gander at this nugget from Dave Telep’s latest recruiting blog:

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has this habit of being real early and staying real late when watching key targets. Give the guy credit, he’s maxing out his face time. And trust me, players notice.

Take Tyus Jones, for example. The question was directed to him: Which head coach did you see the most? “From my point of view, I saw Coach Drew, Coach K, Coach Cal and Coach Self the most because they got to the games early,” Jones said, referring to Baylor’s Scott Drew, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Kansas’ Bill Self. “I also saw coach Ben Johnson, the assistant from Minnesota, a lot.”

At the Peach Jam, coaches are right on top of the players so it was easy for the kids to see them. It was also easy for coaches to slide in and out of gyms with four games going on at the same time. Some coaches think they’re slick and will get there early, leave for another game and either try to claim presence the entire time or double-dip with two players at a time. Hey, there are different ways to get it done. All I’m saying is that the players notice and they talk. When Krzyzewski was the only coach in the gym a half hour before a game, he got a lot of credit.

The thing that makes Peach Jam so unique is that an overwhelming majority of the nation’s top prospects are in attendance, and since the event takes place in one facility, it makes it easy for those head coaches to bounce from game to game. This week, however, there are events in DC, in Milwaukee, in LA, in Philly. All over the place. Next week is Vegas, where all the tournaments are spread out around the city with a number of different events taking place.

Keep an eye on where those high-prolife head coaches — Coach Cal, Coach K, Roy Williams, Miller, etc. — are and who they are watching, and you should be able to get an idea of who they are zeroing in on.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: University of New Orleans aids area flood victims

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After over 20 inches of rain fell over three days and over 60,000 homes were damaged in southeastern Louisiana, New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger called his acquaintance, John Derenbecker, in the area to check in. Derenbecker and his family were fine, Slessinger learned, but many in the area were not.

I told (Derenbecker) to figure out who needed the help the most,” Slessinger told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “that I had my whole crew who could come help out on Saturday and Sunday.”

That led Slessinger and his team to the home of an elderly couple, Elbert and Ione Norred, whose house was ravaged by over four feet of flood water. The Privateers helped slog out debris, cut away wet insulation and whatever else needed removing from the soaked home.

“I appreciate everything you have done,” Ione Elbert told the Privateers. “Nobody knows how long it would have taken us to have done this.”

The Red Cross estimates that the relief effort for the flooding could cost upwards of $30 million in the region. To make a donation to the organization call 1-800-RED CROSS.

UNO’s baseball team also got in on the aid effort, heading to Baton Rouge over the weekend.

“We are proud to see our student-athletes, coaches and staff serve our fellow Louisianians in their time of need,” UNO Director of Athletics Derek Morel said in a statement. “The men and women of our program understand the importance of serving others and using our resources to help those in less-fortunate situations. We will continue to play for neighbors.”

Rutgers land 7-foot grad transfer from UNC Wilmington

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Brandon Ingram #14 of the Duke Blue Devils drives to the basket as he is defended by C.J. Gettys #23 of the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks in the second half of their game during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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Rutgers landed a commitment from seven-footer C.J. Gettys on Monday night.

Gettys is a graduate transfer from UNC-Wilmington, where he averaged 5.3 points, 5.1 boards and 1.4 blocks for a team that reached the NCAA tournament. Gettys is a slow-footed back-to-the-basket player, however, and that didn’t exactly fit with the way that UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts likes to play; think Shaka Smart’s VCU teams.

So Gettys opted for Rutgers, picking the Scarlet Knights over Dayton, Purdue and Chattanooga.

He is the fifth member of new head coach Steve Pikiell’s first recruiting class.

VIDEO: Seventh Woods dunks on UNC student

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Some poor UNC student decided that he was going to try and block Seventh Woods, a freshman point guard for the Tar Heels, on a dunk attempt.

What ended up happening was that he got windmilled on.

To quote Samuel L. Jackson, as portrayed the great philosopher Dave Chappelle, “You ain’t never seen my movies?” Woods was doing this as a freshman … in HIGH SCHOOL.

Former National Player of the Year Michael Brooks dies at 58

Brooks for All-American Brochure
Courtesy La Salle Athletics
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A Philadelphia basketball legend and a former National Player of the Year passed away on Monday night.

Michael Brooks, a 6-foot-7 forward who was named the NABC National Player of the Year in 1980, died in Switzerland on Monday night due to a massive stroke, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He was just 58 years old.

Brooks finished his career with 2,628 points and 1,372 rebounds. He never averaged less than 20 points in his four seasons in college. (Think about that for a second.) He was the No. 9 pick in the 1980 NBA Draft and averaged double-figures for four years before season-ending knee injuries sent him to Europe to play. Brooks was also named the captain of the 1980 Olympic team that missed out on the Moscow games due to the USA’s boycott.

Brooks, according to the Inquirer, had aplastic anemia, which required him to receive a bone marrow transplant last week. His body rejected the marrow, which resulted in the strokes that ended his life.

UCLA cruises in opener on Australian tour

UCLA head coach Steve Alford, second from right, watches action against Cal Poly with his assistant coaches in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Baker)
AP Photo/Michael Baker
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UCLA, who will be the most interesting team in all of college basketball this season, played their first game of an Australian tour on Tuesday morning, and they won in pretty impressive fashion.

The Bruins had triple digits on the board early in the fourth quarter, eventually beating a club in Sydney by the score of 123-76. For comparison’s sake, Washington and potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz beat the same team 101-80 a couple of weeks ago, so the win and the margin of victory is somewhat impressive.

Also worth noting: None of UCLA’s freshmen started. Steve Alford rolled with Aaron Holiday, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton on the perimeter — Holiday and Hamilton combined for 27 points, 18 assists and 11 boards while Alford had 17 points on just 10 shots — with G.G. Golomon and Thomas Welsh up front.

But the noteworthy performances here were from the McDonald’s All-Americans that Steve Alford brought into the program. In his first game in the blue and gold, Lonzo Ball, a potential top ten pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was just OK. He finished with nine points and four assists while shooting 3-for-9 from the floor. Leaf, however, was terrific, as he led the team with 21 points to go along with nine boards and three assists.

The first exhibition game is hardly a great way to predict how a season is going to play out, but given the pressure and expectations currently surrounding the program, everything the Bruins do this season is going to be scrutinized.

This isn’t a bad way to start.