Coaches, media, shoe reps, agents all want a piece of the nation’s top high school prospect, while opposing players relish the chance to beat said prospect’s team. It’s part of the deal.
The attention overwhelms some and their game suffers. Some simply don’t live up to the hype.
This story from Yahoo! Sports’ Jason King details the pressures surrounding the nation’s No. 1 prospect – and why life as No. 2 might be easier.
“As soon as he went to No. 1 … it all went downhill after that,” DeMarcus Cousins’ mother, Monique, said told King. “People came up to me and said, ‘Your life is about to change.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ We didn’t have a clue. So many problems started coming up.
“You have a target on your back and you don’t know who to trust,” she said. “In the end you just stick [close] to the people that you know and pray the rest of the way.”
Cousins eventually ceded the top spot to eventual Kentucky teammate, John Wall, who thrived in the top spot. Wall also had help from a couple of seasoned advisors in Brian and Dwon Clifton, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Then again, maybe every player handles it differently.
The big dog in the class of 2011, Michael Gilchrist, seems to be handling it well. After helping Team USA to gold in the U-17 World Championships, then jetting back to the states for the Peach Jam, Gilchrist is taking a six-week break from hoops in an effort to re-charge his batteries.
Quincy Miller, the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2011, says he doesn’t mind that spot because he just gets to play hoops.
“At first, I [cared],” he told King. “As a sophomore I always wanted to be No. 1. But I’m not worried about that kind of stuff anymore.”
That’s the spirit! Why worry? You guys still get to be kids….for another 10 months or so.