|Noel picking Kentucky on TV this past spring. (Getty Images)|
Dirty recruiting and dirty recruiting tactics. They're two different things.
The former is benefits given to players in order to lure them to a school. The latter indicates a strategical approach based on bad-mouthing other coaches or programs. It happens. How often? Who's to say? But it's out there. Part of the game. It can't be prevented. For some, it works. For others, it backfires, as we'll see below.
(But as a quick aside, man, would I love to be a fly on the wall for some of these kids' in-home recruiting pitches. What's it like? Does each coach carry a certain level of awkwardness? You'd have to think the ones who make themselves the most comfortable are the ones with the leg up. At least sometimes.)
Anyway, SI.com has a piece up that details current high schoolers who have or -- in some cases, like five-star, top-five 2013 recruit Julius Randle -- haven't yet committed. The piece goes into how they do or don't make decisions, and why the negative courting can silently play a part in where they ultimately decide to go. The truly pathetic part is, even after these players orally commit to a school, other schools are still poking around and making sure the commitment is binding.
For instance, Brannen Greene, a top-40 player in 2013, has committed to Kansas. But some of his former chasers aren't necessarily abiding by the "former" part of that. Until he signs a letter of intent, he's considered open season.
Greene is bothered by that.
Greene can't understand why he's still being recruited with the same persistence and passion by college coaches as if he were still uncommitted.
"It's crazy," said Greene, who is ranked No. 22 in the Rivals150. "I'm always thinking in the back of my mind 'you do know I'm committed, right?' They want to know if I'm still open to their schools, but even though I say I'm not, they keep coming."
Added Greene's father, Jeffrey: "It used to shock me, but not anymore. After a while you get immune to it."
Greene's scenario isn't abnormal. It's not even a growing trend; it's one of many negative recruiting tactics college coaches use to try and lure recruits. Tactics that players and parents say get old really quick.
"I don't really like hearing about why I shouldn't go to certain schools too much," said Julius Randle, a rising senior forward at Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas). "It happens all the time, but, for me, I just don't like when coaches do that."
Greene said that before he committed to the Jayhawks he was "constantly" questioned by coaches recruiting him about why he was even considering Connecticut since coach Jim Calhoun, who turned 70 in May, "would never coach me because he's sick and going to retire."