Sunday, November 25, 2007

The One And Out Super Recruit is a gift that keeps on giving

As we have seen, the majority of coaches would rather take a one-and-out superstar, than not take him. This was the case even before the new 19 year old NBA rule was in place. But with the NBA rule in place, it makes this even more predictable because you know that the players who would have gone straight to the NBA, are very likely to be one and out.

So why are they going after them? Is it just because of a shot at the national championship? Or is more than just that? Because for every Carmelo Anthony, Mike Conley and Greg Oden, there is a Kevin Durant, Spencer Hawes and DJ Wagner.

Of course there is more to it. Just ask Ben Howland. Before he got Kevin Love, he had to find diamonds in the rough and scrap to get touted players even though he was a Final Four coach at UCLA. But once the big star of Kevin Love signed on the dotted line, a number of players from 2008+ converged on UCLA, Drew Gordon, Holiday, Lee, etc.

Look at Syracuse's talented freshman class of 2007. You think the signing of Carmelo did not have an impact on them going there as well? Or the players committing to USC and Tim Floyd after he got OJ Mayo, starting with Devon Jefferson perhaps and continuing with the 2008+ players.

Each one of the big signings creates a sonic boom, and the upcoming recruits in the pipeline pay close attention and are influenced by where the players they were looking up to went to. So getting one of them can get you tax-free recruiting dividends for years to come!

And speaking of superstars, after seeing the positive impact Pitino had on Derrick Caracter, there's a what-if Sebastian Telfair might be asking himself when he wakes up in the middle of the night. What if he played at PitinoVille for a year and got himself sorted out and disciplined? That one year could have resulted in a much better NBA career for him.

But only a handful of coaches are able to do that. When the coaches star is brighter than the players star, then the coach has a lot more flexibility in dealing with a super star recruit. The likes of Pitino, Coach K, Roy Williams, Lute Olson can point to their rings, final fours, number of wins and success and can discipline the players. But when a superstar goes to a place where he is the biggest star (OJ Mayo at USC, Michael Beasley at Kansas State) the coach does not have as much flexibility. If you are Frank Martin you can't just bench Michael Beasley for a month because he doesn't go to class. The boosters and the runners will eat you alive. But if you are Pitino or Coach K, you can certainly do it.

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