It’s not a secret that the single most important part of being a college basketball coach is recruiting.
The ability to communicate with your players, game-planning, and understanding the x’s-and-o’s is all important, but it is also all secondary to being capable of bringing talent into your program. If you don’t have players on your roster capable of playing at the highest level, you won’t be winning many games.
And that is why you are seeing so many AAU coaches heading to the collegiate ranks. If recruiting is all about building relationships, then doesn’t it make sense to hire the guys that already have the relationships?
That’s why Dalonte Hill, who has strong ties to the DC Assault, was such an important hire for Mark Turgeon at Maryland. It is why Ben Howland hired Korey McCray from Atlanta. And it is why Richard Pitino has hired Kimani Young as an assistant at Florida International.
Young is a former player at UTEP and spent a year on St. John’s staff, but what he is known for is his association with the New Heights AAU program. That program has produced players like JayVaughn Pinkston (Villanova), Devon Collier (Oregon State), Ashton Pankey (Iona via Maryland) and Corey Edwards (George Mason). That list doesn’t include Chris Obepka, who may be the Class of 2012’s best unsigned player.
Is the younger Pitino hoping that this hire nets him Obepka? If he is, he learned this tactic from his pops. Rick hired Kerry Keatts from Hargrave Military Academy, which may have helped him land Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock.