Recruiting & Recruits - Same Game, Different Worlds

"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.


Anonymous said...

Very nice piece, Tim.

Considering DU will need to win with 2 star recruits for the foreseeable future, it seems to me that system is more vital than ever so that 2 star recruits can compete with better athletes at other schools.

That's why we need to continue to be patient as Coach Scott retools the roster.

awready said...

2014-15: 12-18 (9-7 at home). 2013-14: 16-15 (9-4 at home)

and this was with veterans, including Udofia, Olsen, Griffin....

What are we being patient for with Scott? He got a contact extension, and I assume salary raise, and what's happened to the team the past two seasons? More transfers, including Jalen Love going into his senior season.

5BWest said...

To be fair, Joe Scott's home winning % over nine years is almost 80%. While you fairly cite the last several years in the Summit, the prior two years DU was 22-10/16-2 WAC in 2012-13 and also had 22 wins in 2011-12. Scott has also upped the quality of DU's non-conference schedule. Last year, DU lost a number of close games and pre-season Summit player-of-the-year Brett Olson had an unexpectedly tough year. As the article states, there were over 700 transfers last your in college basketball which is a shocking trend, especially for mid-majors that always lack depth. DU is not immune to that trend as well.

That being said, there is a lot of passion & frustration out there that wants to see DU's basketball team achieve success. You are one of those voices. Keep reading LGDU and share your views. The season is around the corner!

how said...

How can you mention Louisville, SMU, Syracuse, North Carolina, and San Diego State), and then Kansas, in the same breath as DU basketball? That's watermelons to grapes. There's zero comparison between those programs and DU's. Those are major college basketball programs and DU's is a weak mid-major.

700 transfers within college basketball. So? The relevant issue is why players are transferring out of DU?? Cam Delaney after one season where he probably would have started in '15-16 as a sophomore. Jalen Love, after three seasons at DU. Did Scott really pull his scholarship?

Back to back 20 wins seasons and then.......?? Why, what happened? Stop with the excuses and let's get some real answers.

awready said...

Who does the scheduling for an athletic team at DU? The head coach?

Knowing DU operates on a quarterly academic schedule, why schedule a trip to California to play three games and then one home game (vs. Utah Valley, a fan favorite!) before winter break? Why not schedule two home games instead of three in California when students are on campus? There's got to be two programs willing to go to DU to play then.

Then the students go on break and there's seven home games while they're away. When crowds are awful DU hoops supporters and Scott fans will say attendance is poor and the students don't support the team. Duh. You can't build support if you can't see them play. Then the Summit schedule kicks in and DU will host teams students can't identify with.

Anonymous said...

Awready - you make some good points about scheduling. There are very few dates with the students on campus in the early season, and DU would be smarter to find some games that would excite students,

That said, there isn't much we can do about the Summit League teams. We need to start identifying with these opponents, since they are from our general region, and this is year three in the league for us.

Anonymous said...

Men's hoops picked to finish 8th out of 9 teams in Summit League pre-season poll. No players pre-season first or second team.