I think it is a good time to say a few things that will make people think about future actions. Let me start with a short story about the City of Chicago. Years ago DePaul University was the toast of the country with Head Coach Ray Myers. With a team of very good local players who grew up loving DePaul and two kids from New Jersey including Whitney Hustons brother, Coach Myers took the team into the NCAA's and they became the darlings of America.
Great story and one that could not have happened without the assistance of local HS and AAU Coaches. Ray knew how to wine and dine these guys and make them feel important. He listened to them and they always left feeling they were part of something special. Those Coaches, including many who are still in power in Chicago, had the same type power as NY/NJ HS and AAU types but used it differently.
Lets look at Philadelphia. Years ago Temple University went out and hired a new coach from "The Neighborhood." That neighborhood guy was John Chaney who was an outstanding player in his time, a very good D2 coach at Chaney State, and a fixture at summer games in the Baker league and Sonny Hill HS League. Temple not only hired John Chaney local legend, they hired an entire city and the gates opened up to Temple to get the best in the City. Put that with Johns greatness as a coach and motivator, and the rest is history. Soon Temple became a national player and had to build a larger arena. The big thing here is the community felt they were part of this rebirth and celebrated the success. They were so good that when national type recruits came in for visits to places like Villanova, the Villanova staff would make sure to drive all the kids being recruited by both schools past the then (no bad side now) bad side of Temple.
Think NY/NJ will not embrace the same way?
I now turn to the NYC area including New Jersey. We laughed when St. Johns met with local AAY types to discuss the coaching opening. What are they doing we all including me cried out! I could see Gary Charles walking in with a 5 piece suit and matching hat. I could see Jim Salmon with his Playaz gear on stopping by. I could see the New Heights staff attending. I could see Riverside and The Gauchos in attendance. What would they talk about? Now reflecting on what happened in both Chicago and Philadelphia, I see what happened as brilliant. Nothing had to happen. But they all felt as if they had a say whether they did or not.
Look at all the winning programs and you will see Head Coaches who are very connected and personable. You will see guys who many in the AAU ranks feel are approachable. It is a gift that only one recent coach in the area had. That was Tommy Ameker the ex Seton Hall Coach. Tommy made everyone feel he was their personal friend. Everyone felt they could get to him. Everyone felt what they had to say to him was accepted. Tommy would take a call from a AAU guy pushing a kid with D5, yes D5, talent and act as if he was really interested because he knew in the future that coach would have an Andrew Bynum type kid. Trust me on that one lol.
Well now we are heading into a new basketball season with new coaches all over the place. Yes the X and Os are important. Yes they need to be out generating interest. And yes the recruiting is very important. But when they start the recruiting process they must understand the importance of the current players on their rosters. These are the same players who have come from high schools and AAU programs they will be contacting for future players. These programs must be also recruited. And that starts with the professional and considerate treatment of players signed and in the program. Trust me Pat Kennedy The Ex DePaul Coach realized this and will never ever recover even though he is at a Towson University riding it out. What goes around comes around I always say!
This brings me to the main points. I think one of the biggest mistakes is running kids off teams thinking you will get better talent. I love the fact Mike Rice has convinced Carroll to honer his scholarship and attend Rutgers. Do I think Carroll will be an impact player? No! He will be solid! But I know who his Dad is lol. I am disappointed at what is happening at St. Johns. Omari Lawrence transferring? Now you know he was encouraged to do this. Why would anyone look to leave a revitalized program that will be exciting this season? How about Devonte Grace? We all know the deal! Now the interesting thing will be what damage control is in place. Remember they already parted ways with a very good player named Ronald Roberts who will have a great career at St. Joe's in Philly. I say not a good start and it takes away all that was done with the summit they had.
One thing that could allow area coaches to do as they wish is the ego on the part of area coaches. Some are more interested in getting positions than they are in the well being of kids that played for them. If this happened in Chicago or Philly they might just close those programs down as they did with Depaul years ago. And DePaul still has not recovered! Personally I think alot of eyes are being raised by some of the moves taking place. St. Johns ridding themselves of current and future players? Iona hiring a full-time assistant coach of color with no college experience over candidates of color who would really help right away?
Sooner or later people will wake up and really take a look at what is happening locally. Some are making the correct moves while others might just feel they are so big they can do what ever, to whom ever, they wish. I have my thoughts on what the season will bring. To put it lightly, I expect to see similar changes in the spring of 2013. I hope I am wrong!