"Imagine every bad thing you hear about college basketball recruiting. Multiply it by 10, That's 20 percent of how dirty it is." - Sportswriter Johnathan Tjarks
This is a quote taken from Ed Graney's article (link below) on the seedy side of college basketball recruiting. As we welcome DU's new basketball recruits, we also recognize that we have a solid bunch of two-star players. While they have great high school and AAU credentials, they are not the "big fish" that the top teams want - and DU is all the luckier for it.
While other schools have their reputations dragged through the mud by their basketball programs (Louisville, SMU, Syracuse, North Carolina, and San Diego State), DU operates from a far different place. It might as well be a different planet. The playing field is so uneven in college basketball that landing top recruits immediately separates the top programs from 'the rest'. Shoe companies, clothing companies, family advisers, aggressive alums, desperate recruiters and above-the-table and under-the-table dollars. The result - DU at its best has a limited shot to consistently win conference championships and play in THE Tournament if EVERYTHING goes right. That is not to say the program can't compete on a regular basis in The Summit. With DU's academic requirements, cost, geographic location, and history, the University will always have a tough battle getting the top basketball recruits. DU's best player in recent memory, Royce O'Neal, was lightly recruited and developed into a high-level player at DU. Then, he was poached by Baylor. This is a recent trend in college basketball as top programs 'recruit' from top mid-major's players for quick fixes to fill holes with proven collegiate players. Jeff Goodman with ESPN counted over 700 transfers last year alone for a variety of reasons in addition to poaching - academics, playing time, coaching, etc.. So, transfer losses are not an epidemic exclusive to DU.
Friday night, the University of Kansas launched their Late Night at the Phog basketball season opening party to a full Allen Fieldhouse. A student got $10,000 for a mid-court basket while the 12,000 or so in attendance included a number of key Kansas recruits. Three were ranked in the top 10 nationally by Rivals. Forward Harry Giles (No. 2), guard De’Aaron Fox (No. 5) and guard Malik Monk (No. 6) all sat behind the bench for the festivities. Other recruits in attendance included center Marques Bolden (No. 16) and center Schnider Herard (No. 34). DU's basketball Fan Jam event on October the 14th is likely to be a bit more tame and certainly less star-studded.
But the point of all this is not to complain. Most 'mid-majors' are in the very same position as DU. The Summit is a tough conference and underrated, too. It's reputation is mostly impacted by it's geography and small markets. The teams are well coached and play hard every night. Magness is not an easy place for visitors, either - and the record proves it. There are few easy games and most go down to the wire. And, most importantly, there is not the recruiting nonsense you see with many of the top basketball conferences.
Welcome to our newest basketball Pioneers: Abiola, C.J., Bradley, Jake, Emil, Jacob, Thomas, and Joe. It may surprise the new guys to know that DU students even 'stormed the court' once - check it out on YouTube. Go ahead, beat the odds, you have four years - surprise us.