Blog Entry

2011 Recruiting Trip: welcome to the Jukes

Posted on: July 8, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 11:33 am
By Jeff Goodman

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – I’m sitting at Brad Soderberg’s desk as I write this.

Yes, the same Brad Soderberg, the former Saint Louis head coach -- who is now the head coach at Division 2 Lindenwood, which also happens to be the site of Jerry Mullins’ Junior College Showcase.

I’ve now run the gamut of events in the three days that I’ve been with UT-Pan American coach Ryan Marks.

We started in Indianapolis for an Adidas event that had something for just about everyone -- the high-majors, the mids and the lows.

Then it was to Milwaukee Thursday for an AAU team event primarily suited for the mids and lows.

Now it's Friday, and today I witnessed something new -- a JUCO event.

There must be nearly 300 or so college coaches jammed in the bleachers in the gym at Lindenwood to watch about nine hours of primarily low-major junior college kids, most of whom paid their own way to attend this showcase.

More on Recruiting
First things first. This event is exceptionally well run.

"Nobody runs them any better," Marks said.

It actually reminded me a little bit of Sonny Vaccaro’s ABCD Camp.

Just without the talent.

There were plenty of last-chance kids in attendance, guys who have concluded their two years of junior college ball and are waiting and hoping for someone to take a chance on them at the D-1 level.

New Lamar coach Pat Knight is here. Quinnipiac head man Tom Moore is also in the building. So, too, is UT-Arlington’s Scott Cross, Austin Peay’s Dave Loos, UIC’s Howard Moore and a bunch of other head coaches.

And this place is inundated with assistants.

"It's difficult to evaluate unless you've seen the kid a bunch before," Marks said. "That way you have some context to what you are watching."

But Marks sits in one chair in the bleachers -- one in which he can view all three courts at the same time -- and continues to scan in hopes of finding a kid that can help him get UT-Pan American a few more victories.

"It's hit or miss at an event like this," Marks said. "You never know."

I still haven’t seen a single post move, and I’ve been watching since the event tipped off at 2 p.m. There's not much ball movement, just a bunch of athletes that, to be honest, look similar.

It's not pretty basketball, but it's fitting since it's a spot where many of the "grinders" have come. Nearly every coach in this building makes less than $100,000 -- many in the $30,000 or $40,000 range -- and hopes to move up the coaching ladder.

And the kids are just looking for a chance.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or