Monday, April 21, 2008

Why It's Hard For Local Teams To Recruit Blue Chip Players?

Recruiting Players

Lets look at SHU, SJU and RU and the recruitment of 5 star players. I could leave SJU out of this because they have a great history going back many years and have gotten more 5 star guys than RU and SHU. But we all know SJU had some things in place that made them attractive. The living stipend that gave many players more money than their parents were making, the prestige of playing at MSG, the national schedule, and the TV appearances. SJU had alot to offer. Recently we have seen Rutgers get a few blue chip guys in Rosario and Enchique, Both of these young men most have great charactor and visition because we all know they were offered the world to attend other schools. Ditto Chandler before them and even Inman, and Hamedy (sp). It takes a certain type of kid from a certain type of HS program to do what these kids have done.

When looking at SHU and RU, and even SJU now, they start at a disadvantage that they can never get around. They will not cheat or shall I say do creative recruiting. Rutgers is not going to give a kids dad without a HS diploma a job in a plant in Newark or Piscataway paying him $80,000. Or give the family a super low mortgage on a condo nearby. SHU will not give a kids AAU coach a job. The mom will not start a new job at SHU in September. You are not going to see many nice cars in the players parking lots at SJU, SHU, or RU. Unless of course they were borrowed or purchased by parents and relatives. What about the great after game handshakes. A hand shake is just that at the three area BE programs. I have heard at other super programs across the country it can be a handshake with a surprise. Especially the further away you go, and the schools with boosters that love basketball.

Maybe this stuff does not happen any longer but it was a time when kids deep in the South or Midwest would shake hands and when the person let go they had a couple of hundred if not more. What about the great car deals by boosters and alumni who just love good ole state u? Still remember a local HS star driving that great firebird he purchased when he signed with a school while living in the Queensbridge projects. Some might just allow you to borrow a car.........for a year for no money down, and $75 a month. If you missed a few payments, that's fine as long as good ole state u was winning and you were producing.

The bad thing is most kids who experience these perks rarely complete college in 6 years. They might go back 10 years later and complete at the local state college, but while playing basketball at good ole state u it was all about the basketball program.

I honestly think the NCAA knows who is really cheating. They can see it. I grew up in Harlem NY and if I walked down a street years ago (Harlem is now upscale believe it or not and people are paying thousands to live there) I could look and see who was selling drugs, taking numbers, looking to get into trouble, etc. It was plain to see but trained folks in the police department and city allowed it to go on. Well I can see who is doing what every time I am at a game, when I attend an AAU event, when you see certain folks benefiting indirectly from a kid signing with a particular school.

Yes the local schools have a hard time competing against some of the larger more established programs. Now though many continue to do creative recruiting, they also have alot of legitimate things to offer. Here is where schools like RU, SHU, and SJU need to step it up. They have great practice facilities (so does SJU), great places to play (so does SHU), and great fan support and media coverage. Playing at some of those schools is like playing in the NBA. You are a celebrity all over town. The local restaurants, college bars, malls, schools, etc. You are loved and adored. But locally many of the schools have to step it up. Where are the plans for new practice facilities for RU and SHU? Where are the plans for a new playing facility for RU or at least a renovated RAC? Where are the marketing plans to get that curtain up at the Pru Center for SHU? How about getting the season sold out at The RAC? How about SJU drawing an average of 14,000 at The Garden? selling out the games on campus? Yes the product has to be better but the facilities and fan support will only assist in attracting better players.

Lastly. Alot of stuff goes on in College Basketball. We all know the stories. Some true some not true. I do not believe the old saying where there is smoke there is fire because of personal experience. But I do believe what I have seen and heard from certain folks without an ax to grind.

It will always be hard for certain schools to compete on the large stage. Yes there will be a Davidson or George Mason every so often. But when the huge university programs with unlimited expense accounts come calling and recruiting it is very hard to beat them. Player watches a game being played in North Carolina on TV. It ends at 3 and he prepares to go to his 6 O;Clock game. He walks in and there is the Head Coach from the team he watched on TV sitting in the stands. he says to himself wow!!! Of course the coach jumped on a private jet and flew into Newark Airport or Teterboro and would be home by 9 for a late night dinner. It's having resources at your finger tips.

Well this is just something for folks to think about when wondering why certain players might not attend a particular school. Your staff could be doing everything right, but it might not be enough. Lets see what happens this year and next. It will be real interesting.


darrenmaloney said...

It is hard for local teams to get blue chip players because you have yellow chip coaches. Both head coaches and assistants at local schools would get a C+ rating at best. Kids just have better options.

Hill couldn't get the job at Marist, Drexel, Wagner, Fordham, Siena...only Rutgers would pull the trigger on a career assitant with very little evidence that suggests he could turn around a Big East program.

Norm has some juice on his resume but not enough to warrant a Big East job...think anyone else in the league would have hired him?

Gonzo has legit Big East credentials but he is one bad decision or day away from having his career being jeopardized. He has done that much damage with league office, his bosses, refs, etc. Needs a mentor that he will listen to (doesn't listen to many this is a stretch) to lock him in a room and scare him straight about how close he is to blowing it.

Anyway...sorry to be the pessimist. Kids aren't passing up legit coaches and programs to take a gamble with these average joes.

LFBall said...

man I miss your posts. Where have you been. I really enjoy what you write whether I agree or not. You continue to make things very interesting. Plus, behind some of your anger is a person who really knows alot of stuff regarding college basketball and even more about local programs. I wish you would post more!!!

darrenmaloney said...

I'm not angry!!! Just offering my two cents which can be negative about the local programs because they are awful on a number of levels.

Read my post again. It isn't is reality. Forget the head coaches, the assistants are weak as well. Unless you rate your assistants on how little they know about basketball and how well they get some sandwiches and grape sodas for the bus ride. Or how much they get for everyones big east and final four tickets. Then you'd have to rank Jimmmy C as the best!!

LFBall said...

I was really stretching the angry stuff. I am still laughing about your comments. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.