Be careful, coaches.
You don’t know who the kids you recruit are talking to.
Twitter, facebook, smart phones and national exposure camps and big-time AAU tournaments have made elite amateur basketball a very small world. Now, superstars from Southern California and Toronto and everywhere inbetween not only compete against each other dozens of times, they become friends.
They talk. And tweet and text and facebook.
And as this story from USA Today’s Jason Jordan shows us, the promises told to these recruits are being discussed.
“I had a school tell me that if I came there I’d definitely be Player of the Year, but then I talked to my friend and he told me that they told him the exact same thing,” Aaron Gordon, a top ten recruited who’s being courted by the likes of Kentucky, Arizona and Stanford, told Jordan. “I don’t know how we’re both going to be Player of the Year.”
“They all say the same things. All of them,” Julius Randle, Rivals’ No. 1 recruit in the country, said. “You can almost say it with them after a while. But that’s their job, so I understand. The funny thing for me is hearing that they tell another player he’s the priority in the class when they told me the same thing. We just laugh about it.”
It’s a tough situation for coaches to be in.
On the one hand, they don’t want to tell, say, Gordon that he’s their second option at power forward because they are holding out hope that Randle comes along. Would Gordon still be interested in a school if he’s their safety net? Isn’t it fair for a coach to tell one recruit that he’ll be the primary ballhandler if he goes to their school while also telling another recruit that he’ll be the primary ballhandler if he commits first, with the understanding being that only one of those commitments will be accepted?
On the other hand, it’s difficult to assume that the kid the coach is pursuing — and that kid’s parents — will understand the complexities involved. It’s tough for coaches, but they are going to have to adapt.
Technology is changing the world at a very quick pace. Coaches gotta keep up.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.