Dave Leitao picked up a commitment over the weekend, as Skyy Clark announced on his Instagram page that he will be joining his friend Amari Bailey in attending DePaul when they enroll in college.
In theory, this is terrific news for a DePaul program that desperately needs an infusion of talent; Leitao has won fie Big East games in two seasons as the head coach of Blue Demons, and the only reason his team isn’t a consensus pick to finish in last place again this season is because Georgetown’s regime change is not going as smoothly as one might expect.
Anyway, back to Clark and Bailey, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’ve never heard of them.
Even the most devoted fans of college basketball recruiting have never heard of these kids, as they are both currently in eighth grade. That’s right. DePaul, as of this moment, has more commitments in the Class of 2022 – kids that have yet to play a high school game – than they have in the Class of 2018.
That’s so DePaul.
And look, good for these kids. I wish I was good enough to be able to commit to a Big East program as an eighth grader. But the fact of the matter is this: Eighth grade commitments almost never last. The wants of a 14-year old are different from that of a 17-year old, they’ll miss out on the entire recruiting process in high school – spoiler alert: it’s fun to go on official visits and be pursued by big name coaches and schools. Perhaps most importantly, judging just how good an eighth-grader is going to be in four years is not easy to do. Kids grow and mature and develop at different stages. Ask Demetrius Walker or Derrick Caracter.
Hell, these kids are both committed to DePaul because they are friends that want to go to school together. But one lives in Chicago and the other in LA. Was your best friend in eighth grade still your best friend in college?
Then there is this: In the last 20 years, DePaul has not had a coach last more than five years. Three were fired. One of them – ironically enough, Leitao himself – had enough success that he was able to get a new job.
Odds are pretty good that he won’t even be in Chicago by the time these kids are ready to enroll.
So what are we actually doing here?