Seems to me as I continue to read and hear folks speak about impact recruits, we have gotten away from finding that jewel who has gone un-noticed. The guys that need development and an opportunity to grow into their body as they learn the game. Guys like Charles Oakley, Karl Malone, Steve Nash, and many more who I have not mentioned.
It seems everyone is looking at the same players from the same type of HS or travel team programs. If a kid is from a known power house travel team or HS program, the recruitment is enhanced and everyone wants them. Sometimes the same player would not be recruited highly if they were not part of the types of teams I mentioned. Parents and advisors know this and push kids in the direction of those type of programs. Can anyone blame them?
But what happened to the days where a college assistant would find that very good player at a HS in the middle of Ohio that no one noticed, Which was the case with Charles Oakley when he went to Virginia Union. I honestly wonder if this practice needs to be implemented by some teams in an effort to catch up with the higher level high major teams. For example does anyone honestly think local D1 University with the nice campus can really beat North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, UConn, UCLA, Duke, etc. for players those programs actually want? Yes I know Rutgers beat out Duke for a current player and barely lost to Duke for a player a few years back. But as you can see that lost player is a role player at best for Duke. Also, I wonder if the role player at Duke had an affect on the player from his HS choosing Rutgers. Maybe he saw what happened to the role player and decided he wanted to play!
But in a nutshell very few players the power programs want seem to get away. Sure Iona beat out Kentucky years ago for Jeff Ruland. But that's a story to be shared during a non Jimmy V week. Sure St. Johns use to beat out larger programs. But there are a few reasons that happened and most who read this blog know them. Plus Lou Carnessecca was a heck of a closer. Lou could walk around the block with a kid wearing a University of Virginia sweatshirt and when they returned he would have a St. Johns cap and polo shirt on lol.
I say all this because I have thought of all the jewels who become much better than the so called experts predicted. Can anyone say Brevin Knight from Seton Hall University.....oops I mean Stanford University. He wanted to go to Seton Hall but they were not that interested. How about his little Brother Brandon Knight? Well all he did was get away and become The Big East Player of The Year during his Jr. season at Pitt. How about Mr. Nevins at St. Joe's. He should be at least a 2nd round pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Fooled the heck out of me! This is what happens when you get playing time and a chance to develop your game. Maybe Mr. Cheek will feel this way? maybe not? We all will know on Friday.
This brings me to a story I wish to share with you about time I spent in North Carolina, a place I hope to have a home very shortly. I like attending a HS basketball event called the Bo Jingle Shootout, named for the sponsor, a chicken restaurant chain popular in the south. Great event sponsored by a organization in the Charlotte NC area headed by Jay Bilas (TV Guy), a Football guy whose name escapes me, and Dell Curry, retired 15 year NBA vet. Great games and great atmosphere. But even the Dukes and North Carolina's of the world have missed on players participating in this event. Maybe because many of the kids are from nice schools such as Charlotte Christian, which at one time was coached by ex NBA player Bobby Jones.
This is the case with the Curry family of Charlotte. We all know the story about Steffen Curry and how he has tore up everyone in his way with a smile and a face belonging to a 14 year old. I would bet many missed out on him because of his young looks and small frame. But look what has happened. He had a so so game at MSG and he was still the best player on the court as small Davidson College beat The University of West Virginia last night. Yes the same University of West Virginia with a HS All American or 2, a coaching payroll of over $1,000,000, and a budget we do not even need to discuss. I am not here to talk bad about WVA. I happen to be a WVA Fan from my days attending school at little Davis and Elkins College, in Elkins West Virginia. I am just comparing the programs and showing what happens with good coaching and finding that Diamond in the Rough player. Still remember Steffons Dad attempting to get Va. Tech to recruit his son. But as I always say, things happen for a reason. I wonder if he would be as good had he attended a larger school?
This brings me to something alot of folks have forgotten. Steffen has a younger brother who I saw play in the BoJangle Event. You could tell he had game. but guess what? Just as the Knight family went through recruiting wise, so did the Curry family. The Knights have a dad who was one of the best ever out of NJ until an injury at Seton Hall. More to that as well, but that's another story. The Curry's have a Dad who was a heck of a shooter and 15 year NBA vet. Both stories involve the sons of ex players. But here is the part most have missed or forgotten.
Steffens Brother Seth attends Liberty University where he leads that Big South team in scoring and minutes played as a true freshmen. He is averaging over 20 points a game with highs of 26 in a win over The University of Virginia, and 24 in a close loss to Clemson. Neither school recruited him. This kid is in his brothers shadow but even back when I saw him in HS, you knew he had potential. Just had that young look and smaller frame. Did schools not learn from the Brevin Knight experience? Did they not learn from the Stefan Curry experience? Heck, if Momma Curry has another baby I would sign the kid at his 2nd birthday party.
Area schools really need to get away from the ranking stuff and fill needs by actually watching kids play and understanding what is needed for them development wise. Sure it is great getting the Micky D type guys, but there are so many kids out there similar to the NBA draft pick from Rider University who go under the radar. That's real recruiting! Finding that diamond! The kid who turns out being a stud and discovered by your staff. Remember rankings are nice for scrap books, but once a kid gets on campus he has to continue to develop and perform.