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Lyles decommitting from IU a glimpse at folly of taking early commitment

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Will Trey Lyles ever be in this picture? Maybe, but for now, he's considering other schools. (US Presswire)  
Will Trey Lyles ever be in this picture? Maybe, but for now, he's considering other schools. (US Presswire)  

Studies show people who marry before the age of 20 are two to three times more likely to divorce than those who wait until their 20s or 30s, and that people who marry in their 20s are 10 percent more likely to divorce than those who wait until their 30s. There are many reasons for this, some of which involve personal growth and financial stability. But the bottom line is still the bottom line, and the bottom line is that those who commit to someone and something earlier than what is now considered normal tend to break that commitment, for one reason or another, at a pretty high rate.

Which leads me to Trey Lyles.

No, the Class of 2014 standout did not marry young. He's still single, as far as I know. But what Lyles did do is commit to Indiana in September 2010 -- at the beginning of his freshman year of high school -- and should anybody really be surprised, particularly in this day and age, that the commitment didn't last?

"Trey Lyles has opened his recruitment," Jason Delaney, Lyles' high school coach, tweeted this week. "He loves IU & it is still #1 but he would like to have something to compare it to."

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Of course he would.

And I don't guess I blame him. Or at least I understand.

What Lyles has done the past two years is watch pretty much every elite prospect from his class be constantly pursued by every notable coach and constantly called by every notable recruiting analyst. Lyles was locked up, so the attention was paid elsewhere. And though I'm certain other staffs worked angles here and there to see just how committed Lyles actually was to the Hoosiers, he couldn't have possibly felt as wanted by the masses as inferior prospects were or as he must've known he would be the moment he changed his metaphorical relationship status to single. So Lyles decommitted.

According to my colleague Jeff Borzello, the kid just "wanted the feeling of being recruited." He'll now get to enjoy that feeling as much as any high school junior because, you know, he's awesome at basketball.

But he should've been loyal to his commitment!

In theory, yes.

That's obviously ideal.

But Chris Rock had a funny bit a few years back about loyalty, and he joked -- though I'm not sure he was really joking -- that people are only as loyal as their options. Way he put it, it's not hard for the fat guy in the suburbs making $25,000 to be loyal because nobody wants that dude. His options are limited, if not non-existent. So he's loyal. He just comes home every night, eats dinner, watches TV and stays loyal thanks to, at least in part, according to a comedian, his options being limited by a pretty average place in life.

But Trey Lyles' options never had to be limited.

He merely chose to limit them early, just like Austin Rivers once did. And DeMarcus Cousins once did. And Taylor King once did. And Eric Devendorf once did. And Scotty Hopson once did. And Josh Selby once did. And you get the point.

All those top-shelf prospects -- and many others -- committed to certain schools at a younger-than-usual age, and all those top-shelf prospects ultimately decommitted and headed elsewhere -- Rivers from Florida to Duke, Cousins from UAB to Memphis to Kentucky, King from UCLA to Duke, Devendorf from Michigan State to Syracuse, Hopson from Mississippi State to Tennessee, Selby from Tennessee to Kansas.

That's not how these things always go.

But that is how these things too often go.

In fact, a coach once told me a kid he committed early decommitted later because the kid simply wanted to see what else was out there, and for recruiting analysts and fans to care about what was happening with him. This prospect had been committed so long that nobody worried anymore with when he was playing or even how he was playing, and that got old. Never truly enjoying the recruiting process made the prospect yearn for the recruiting process, and yearning for the recruiting process made the prospect break his commitment to the school he once upon a time knew for sure he would love forever, till death do them part, just like Lyles formerly felt about Indiana.

I don't think that makes that prospect a bad person. And I don't think Trey Lyles is a bad person. And I don't think coaches flirting with committed prospects are bad people, either, though I realize that's debatable even if it's pretty standard practice these days.

So what do I think?

I think the most difficult thing to do in recruiting is hold a commitment from a prospect who pledges at a younger-than-usual age, just like studies show the most difficult marriages to make work are the ones that start between two people who commit at a younger-than-usual age. Blame it on personal growth. Blame it outside tampering. Blame it on whatever you like.

All I know is that these things don't tend to end well, and coaches and prospects alike would be wise to remember as much going forward before they start committing in a way that'll almost certainly lead to the prospect, at some point, becoming bored, distracted, curious and eventually on the market all over again.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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