While the practice of college recruiting may not be the seedy practice that it’s made out to be in all cases, there’s no mistaking the fact that things that shouldn’t happen do.
In a post by Pete Thamel of the New York Times, Baylor head coach Scott Drew may have approached the family of Ohio point guard D.J. Cooper in the summer of 2010 in hopes of getting Cooper to transfer to Baylor.
In a voicemail to Thamel shortly after the post was released, Drew denied the allegations.
“I know for a fact, a fact that it did not happen. A 100-percent fact.”
When asked if he had many coaches trying to lure him from Ohio after he scored 23 points in an upset of Georgetown in that year’s NCAA tournament, Cooper smiled.“I was getting calls left and right,” he said. “I was getting some calls from different high-major schools and different people. I’m big on loyalty.”
Both Cooper and his high school coach declined to name the schools that approached Cooper, however Cooper’s mother Dionne did point out Drew as one of the coaches who attempted to convince him to transfer.
“He wasn’t necessarily calling and saying, ‘Come on over,’ ” she said. “He would say: ‘Oh, this is great. I knew you could do it. The exposure you’re getting now, you’re not getting it in the MAC because you’re not on TV.’ He was really trying to sell to me. ‘We know you can do these things, but because of where you are, you’re not getting the attention you deserve.’ ”
Drew also denied this, saying that after Cooper committed to Ohio he never had another conversation with either of Cooper’s parents. There have been plenty of stories of mid-major stars stepping out on this stage, with people wondering how they could be “under-recruited”.
But to have something along these lines, especially with there not being a head coaching change or any kind of issue at Ohio at the time is a bit weird.
What makes the story even more interesting was a profile of Drew done by Bill Reiter of FOXSports.com asking if the Baylor head coach is misunderstood, addressing the perception of both the coach and his program.
Of course Pearl was eventually relieved of his duties due to recruiting violations that stemmed from the recruitment of Aaron Craft, now the starting point guard at Ohio State.
It’s also interesting that Tennessee played Ohio in the second round of the 2010 tournament in Providence, beating the Bobcats 83-68. Tennessee would eventually fall to Michigan State in the Elite 8.
Cooper’s father was unsure of how many schools contacted them in hopes of getting Cooper to transfer, but it’s probably safe to say that more will come to light in the days leading up to Ohio’s Sweet 16 match-up with North Carolina.