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Monday, June 13, 2011

College Basketball's Necessary Evil

Let's call it like it is. 

It is a dirty business, it must be done, it takes long hours and sleepless nights and many times it is done by people who are underpaid and not noticed.

It is called RECRUITING and it gets coaches hired and it gets coaches fired. Without question it is the most important thing for any college basketball program to succeed. Sure, once coaches recruit players, they have to coach them and they have to win, but to get to the point of giving yourself a chance to succeed recruiting stands above all else to making any program a winner.

I wish I had the time to follow the high school game better than I do, but I concentrate so much on the college game, I have to rely on my guru.

My guru does not coach any basketball team, he is not associated with any basketball team, but boy does he know every high school player on the west coast that ever got recruited and every player that is a potential recruit. He studies video, he  watches game live and when it comes to knowing the recruiting game,  he simply is the best.

Oh, for a name, I just call him the K-Man. K-Man, in life years is north of 60, but his enthusiasm for the game to this day comes off like a teenager. And for sure, do not get in free throw shooting contest or three point contest with him, you will get buried as many have tried and few have succeeded.

And just how does the K-Man view recruiting as it pertains to west coast basketball? He says it is like everything else in life and business, it is cyclical. He does see an upturn coming for the next few years, mainly because of a place we don't usually think about too much for high school basketball players, Seattle.

K-Man on the proverbial A-F scale, gives the Seattle area an A, mainly cause of its great depth of high school players. Moving down the coast, he rates Portland as a B, because of lack of depth, but does point out in the past year the Rose City has produced, Terrence Jones, Terrance Ross and soon to be Kentucky Wildcat, Kyle Wiltjer.

As for the Golden State, K-Man is all over the board in his grades. Leading the charge is the Oakland/San Francisco area which just keeps pumping out great high school players like Jabari Brown, Nick Johnson, Brandon Ashley and Kiwi Gardner, to just name a few. Grade A-plus.

Sacramento, L.A and San Diego do not fair as well in the grading system of the K-Man. He gives Sacramento a C, saying they always have too many academic casualties, San Diego also gets a C because of lack of depth and L.A. an A-minus, but cautions that with its size, it should be producing more depth and talented players than it does.

Lastly, the K-Man says there needs to be mention of Las Vegas, he rates an A, because of the prep schools, which have made Vegas a hotbed for basketball as of late.

But, how about the people who recruit many of these talented players. I asked the K-Man to rank the top five recruiters in the college game today on the west coast. Always up for a debate, but here is his list in no order, just the top five.

Leon Rice---Head Coach, Boise State
Sean Miller--Head Coach, Arizona Wildcats
Tony Stubblefield---Assistant Coach, Oregon Ducks
Jim Shaw----Assistant Coach, Washington Huskies
Dedrique Taylor----Assistant  Coach, Arizona State Sun Devils

There is one thing I do not know about college recruiting. For the most part the ground work is laid by assistant basketball coaches, who are underpaid, underrated and work day and night to get the right players for their teams. So my hats off to these people who pretty much receive zero recognition, but have one of the toughest jobs in all of basketball.

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