The Money Men, The NBA, and Overseas Ball

August 30, 2008

A great article by Slam Magazine covers some of the new ground involving NBA players jumping to overseas teams. To be fair, a lot of the media has discussed this as a mass defection, but in reality only two middle tier players have recently gone to Europe, and those guys were, quite frankly, somewhat replaceable.

However, this is still a good discussion for long ranging business, and the two agents interviewed by Slam were the negotiators for Josh Childress’s move to Greece:

[…]Olympiacos contacted us. We got a call from the owner, and I think he was the one who identified Josh to the coaches and general manager, and I think the first reaction was they didn’t expect that Josh would leave the NBA to come to Europe.

The agents would not take credit for the idea, but they openly admit that they pushed Josh to consider the move. And why not? Josh Childress would never command that amount of money in the NBA, unless he became the beneficiary of some infamous GM blunder like the Jon Koncak debacle in 1989 (interestingly enough, also involving the Hawks).

Overall these events are great for basketball players, because they create more options. Basketball players have a lot of leagues all over the world, unlike football, and although it makes it more difficult for college recruiters and pro teams in the United States, those organizations will have to adapt.

Cody Shuffler Gets More Looks

August 29, 2008

We mentioned Cody Shuffler (SF/PF, 6’7″, 2009), a player with interest from NC State a few weeks ago, and now it seems Shuffler also has interest from Virginia Tech as well. A bevy of schools are recruiting Shuffler, including Davidson, Cornell, and West Virginia.

Shuffler apparently is high on Davidson’s list, and it would not be surprising to see him end up there.

The same article mentions that Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009), a high school teammate of Wake Forest commit C.J. Harris (SG,6’3″,2009) has received an offer from Penn.

Meanwhile, Tobias Harris (PF, 6’8″, 2010) recently visited Virginia with his family to see what the school has to offer:

“Coach Leitao and his coaching staff broke down Virginia’s offense and defense on film. Tobias had the opportunity to watch the team practice while coach Leitao was able to show how effective his offense works when done correctly. Coach Leitao stressed the importance of strong team, individual defense and positions on defense.

Harris reportedly also visited Maryland and Georgetown as well.

Derrick Favors Update

August 27, 2008

Alex caught up with big man Derrick Favors (PF, 6’10”, 2009), where he talks about the current thinking that he might stay in the state of Georgia, and whether he will be one-and-done:

NB: How long do you plan on going to college for?
DF: Hopefully for a year, for one year, but if I have to do two, three, [or] four [years], I’ll do it.

Favors is echoing the common idea now that if you can blow up enough in your freshman year, or your sophomore year, you make the leap. Florida State, NC State and Georgia Tech are all still being listed by Derrick, and it looks like even though Duke attempted to get involved, that seems not to have materialized…although it’s important to note that Duke’s Coach K and much of the Duke assistant coaching staff have been focused on the Olympics over the summer period.

Doron Lamb Dominates

August 26, 2008

Doron Lamb (SG,6’4″,2010) is impressive for not only being a good basketball player, he’s playing great basketball against players a year older than he is and holding his own. Despite the ragged nature of a Rucker Park event, Lamb looked like he could hang with the mostly older players at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 and he also dominated at the Nike Tournament of Champions.

Duke is in the mix for Lamb, who will be leaving the Big East dominated New York area to play his junior season for Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, which is solidly in ACC country. Right now it seems that Lamb is leaning towards the big East, but perhaps some of the ACC teams will get a shot after he spends some time away from the Big East. Miami has also been mentioned as having interest in Lamb, and the list is only likely to grow after more schools get a look at him.

The Army of Confidants

August 25, 2008

What’s the difference between a coach, a trainer, and a ‘hanger-on’?

During the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, as the hundreds of athletes paraded into the Bird’s Nest, announcer Bob Costas referred to the crowds of people as ‘athletes, coaches, trainers and the other various hangers-on’. As if the coaches and trainers were somehow simply there through no effort, knowledge or skill of their own. I’m not sure if Costas was simply trying to keep talking during the five-hour presentation, but it’s a statement that I wanted to open for discussion regarding when a person is actually involved with a sport/ahtlete in a mutually beneficial relationship and when a person is simply a ‘hanger on’.

Getting into coaching is both extremely difficult and extremely easy (relatively). Texas head coach Rick Barnes broke into coaching by reportedly waiting eight hours to be interviewed after a head coach forgot he was waiting. It’s hard from the perspective that Barnes had to be smart enough to coach well, willing to work long hours for little pay, but it’s ‘easy’ from the perspective that Barnes only needed to put himself in the right place at the right time to get his start. One eight-hour wait for an interview isn’t equal to the years required just to be an entry level medical doctor.

Rick Barnes is certainly not a ‘hanger-on’, and I consider him to be an excellent coach (who I wish had stayed in the ACC) but given that all it often takes to secure a position in coaching is to show up and know the right person, often people in positions of sporting authority are hardly qualified to do so. USA Today reports that there is some thinking that coaches should have at the very least some psychosocial training in dealing with kids:

“So many coaches come from outside of the school system — as much as 60-75% — and in many cases the age of coaches is getting younger,” said Chris Stankovich of Columbus. “Yet they have in many cases, zero training to work with kids. As a result, there have been a spike in the number of inappropriate relationships.”

In other words, daycare workers usually need more credentials than coaches. While on one hand, this is acceptable – many youth coaches simply are volunteers who are willing to help kids – many others are the very definition of ‘hangers-on’, and this is extremely prevalent in basketball. Many kids are not only being recruited by top level universities, but they also have dozens of people whispering in their ears about their decisions. Those people whispering are looking for some kind of benefit.

John Henson already a ‘local’

August 21, 2008

When a five star, big time ACC commit moves to your city, you can immediately claim him as a ‘local’ ball player to add to your city’s sports history. This is the case as Tampa embraces UNC commit John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009) as one of their own, already comparing him to ‘past local legends’ mere days after his arrival.

Scroll to the end and you’ll see some Henson video from the GBOA South in Atlanta a few weeks back. One thing I notice with Henson is his similarity to Rasheed Wallace on his alley oop dunks. Not to put to much pressure on him, or anything.

Michael Snaer waits, and Boost Mobile Elite 24 on ESPN

August 21, 2008

Florida State target Michael Snaer (SG/SF, 6’5″, 2009) was originally intending to announce his college destination in the middle of August, but now has decided to wait until a few more visits. UCLA is still in the mix for Snaer despite reports that it was down to Missouri and FSU.

Boost Mobile Elite 24 on ESPN2

UNC commit Dexter Strickland (SG, 6’3″, 2009) and several ACC targets will be participating in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event, which will be at fabled Rucker Park.

You can catch the action Live on ESPNU at 8 p.m. EDT, Friday August 22
*Re-air on ESPN2 late night Monday, August 25 at midnight EDT.

As always, if you’re a college basketball fan who can’t get enough of this stuff, sign up for the email list.

Invisible Players

August 20, 2008

A lot of young players think that if they play well enough, recruiting offers will magically pour out from the top colleges. The reality is that college coaches aren’t picking up the local paper every day to see the box score. Getting recruited is as much about accessibility as it is about playing well, and AccessAthletes founder Matthew Allinson has an interview with Terry Threatt, a talented running back who rushed for 1,759 yards in his junior high school season and averaged 7.1 yards per carry and 6.3 yards per carry his senior season. I know we focus on basketball here, but Terry’s story is important for all high school athletes wanting a college scholarship.

Terry did not just wait for coaches to hear about him at his rural Oklahoma high school, he attended and played well at the NIKE camp and the Oklahoma State mini camp, but Terry still did not get much interest due to a lack of response when coaches inquired about him:

Threatt found himself in the unfortunate situation of having a first-year head coach who was unfamiliar with the recruitment process. After the camp, the University of Missouri expressed interest in recruiting Threatt. He received a phone call and a letter from the Tigers, but their interest waned quickly after several requests to his high school coach for more information went unanswered.

So, even though Terry played well enough to garner some DI interest, coaches quickly gave up when he was perceived as inaccessible. This should serve as an important lesson for athletes wanting to be recruited; if coaches can’t find you, you are invisible.

Athletes have to learn a little marketing, a little networking, and they can’t just sit back and wait for coaches to take notice, nor can they expect their coach to always have the best options for them.

Thanks to Matt for the story.

John Henson relocates; More on Kyrie Irving;

August 18, 2008

John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009), the Tar Heel commit who wowed coaches and scouts over the summer, will not be playing his high school ball in Texas this season. When the school semester starts next week, he’ll be at Sickles High School in Tampa, FL.

Kyrie Irving

So, we brought up ACC target Kryie Irving (PG, 6’2″, 2010) in a recent post, and how the entire Big East is well aware of him, but now several ACC schools have started getting interested as well. Alex has an outstanding interview with Irving, in which he outlines where his recruitment stands, which includes Wake Forest as one of the schools pursuing him the most at the moment. An interesting note, as we stated before he is a teammate of UNC commit Dexter Strickland, and if he were to commit to another ACC school, he’d find himself seeing Strickland on the court quite a bit after their high school careers are over.

Boston College: MIA?

Just what, exactly, is going on with Boston College basketball recruiting? It’s gotten very quiet in New England, and very little news of interested prospects. With only a few reported offers out:

Taran Buie, SG, 2010
Jason Morris, SG, 2010
Travis McKie, SF, 2010

for the next two classes, and with a lot of graduations, either Al Skinner has faith in the talent he’s already got or there are a lot of kids he’s looking at that are under the national radar.

With that in mind, maybe we can guess at a couple of players they might be looking at, like Toso Adebamowo (SG/SF, 6’5″, 2009), a solid scorer with a perfect stroke and a great defender, who plays his ball at Marianapolis Prep in Thompson, CT. Marionapolis Prep is a Class ‘B’ school, in comparison to Brewster Academy or Worcester Academy, which are Class ‘A’ schools. Adebamowo has seemed to be a guy with flashes of promise.

As always, if you’re a college basketball fan who can’t get enough of this stuff, sign up for the email list.

ACC Recruiting Roundup, Volume 2

August 17, 2008

Alex has an article on Wake Forest basketball commit Tony Chenault (PG/SG,6’1″,2010), where the scorer talks about his recent commitment to the Deacs:

“[It’s a] great school. They [are] known for producing great point guards like Chris Paul. They let their players play . . . [and are in] one of the best conferences in the country,” said Chenault as to why he picked Wake, an ACC power in the 21st century.

Thanks to Alex for the heads up on the future ACC player.

Derrick Favors cuts his list

Derrick Favors (PF, 6’10”, 2009) has cut his list to ten schools, and both Georgia Tech and NC State are still in the mix. Popular opinion seems to be that GT is still the leader, but Favors has not publicly said that.

Dexter Strickland Dunks Away Critics

The Adidas Nations camp takes current high school prospects and pairs them with an “NBA Mentor” during the camp. Not sure if Dexter Strickland, who played the camp after a somewhat light summer schedule was paired with former Carolina players Antwan Jamison or Raymond Felton (both of whom are repped by Adidas), but he was able to answer some of his critics with the camp highlight dunk. To be fair to Dexter, the critics are foolish in this case; Dexter is getting knocked because he chose to rest after an injury, did not play a heavy summer schedule and since he was MIA from the big time events, his stock supposedly slipped. That is laughable and hurts the credibility of a ranking system that pulls that stunt. It’s an old GM joke about a scout who’s favorite player is always the last player they saw.

Anyway, here’s a pretty good rundown of the Adidas event.

Kyrie Irving has ACC interest

You might have heard about Kyrie Irving (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2010), and you might have known that he plays for the same high school team as Dexter Strickland, and maybe you even knew that he had a whole bunch of interest from the Big East. But you probably didn’t know that he also has interest from Maryland, Virginia Tech and UNC.

Irving is officially on our ACC watch list.

Dominic Cheek’s List

Dominic Cheek is expected to announce a preliminary college list in September, and Wake Forest appears to be right in the mix.