The rush is over. The recruiting rush, that is. Tough to tell if college basketball prospects and coaches benefited from it, though.
In 2009, The NCAA banned coaches from watching AAU travelling teams in April. Now the only evaluation periods during the traditional summer tournaments are July 6-15 and July 22-31. As Matt Norlander writes, it creates a huge bottleneck of coaches trying to get into the same events to scout players, and gets more players playing more games than ever before. Some log six or seven games a day.
For example, this year’s AAU junior nationals had 204 teams in one division. Not long ago, the event featured one-tenth that amount. Good luck trying to effectively scout that many kids – who are usually tired – in that timeframe.
“By the time they get here, they’re so beat up and worn out, it’s tough evaluating players,” Alabama State assistant Steve Rogers told USA Today. “I would go back to having an evaluation period in April. They’ve kind of crunched it all together now. I’m getting fewer looks at players, and you have to balance your time in the summer with basketball camps and vacation with your family.”
Recruiting’s always been an inexact science. Even the best coaches struggle to find hidden gems. But now … good luck.