Blog Entry

July recruiting: Babysitting vs. real evaluation

Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 7:05 pm
 
Jeff Borzello is taking all day Friday to tag along with Syracuse assisant Mike Hopkins. He'll be checking in every couple of hours with updates, anecdotes and tidbits from the recruiting trail. Check here for a timeline of the posts.

By Jeff Borzello


LAS VEGAS -- More than half of the recruiting that goes on during the month of July is, for the most part, babysitting.

Coaches go to games of their prospective recruits, and they simply sit there in order to make sure their target knows that they're there and watching.

In some cases, though, evaluation does occur. Assistant coaches need to verify things they have heard about, or give a second opinion on what another coach has seen. For Mike Hopkins, it's all about figuring out how the kid fits into Syracuse's system.

"At Syracuse, we've always had great forwards," Hopkins said, rattling off Carmelo Anthony, John Wallace, Billy Owens, Derrick Coleman and others. "We have to find people that fit what we do."

Some of the targets on this day happened to be top-25 prospects, but the ranking isn't the most important factor when evaluating.

Hopkins said doing that leads to teams with players that don't mesh well.

"It's bad business when you take guys only because they're rated high," he said. "Some coaches say, 'Oh I heard he's good, why aren't we recruiting him?' They want to go on the golf course and talk about who they got. That's how you win the press conference, not games."

Hopkins said it ultimately doesn't matter if a kid is rated No. 50, No. 100 or not ranked at all. When watching a player for the first time, the hype goes out the window.

Coaches simply look for a kid who will help the program and fit a role.

"It's about having a great team," Hopkins said.
Comments

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 23, 2011 2:25 am
 

July recruiting: Babysitting vs. real evaluation

Jeff, this seems so important for college basketball fans to get but the scouting websites seem to be able to raise enormous expectations about certain players and dash them about others.

 Hopkins said it ultimately doesn't matter if a kid is rated No. 50, No. 100 or not ranked at all. When watching a player for the first time, the hype goes out the window.

Coaches simply look for a kid who will help the program and fit a role.
There are plenty of examples of low ranked or unranked players who have had a great college career and even good NBA careers. In the last draft the NBA chose Markieff and Marcus Morris back to back in the lottery despite both players being low ranked coming into college. And the other point coach Hopkins is making seems equally important to understand. Most teams can only tolerate one go-to player. The team needs to recruit complimentary players who support that player and fit the system used by the coaches. If a team wants to run recruiting a 7 foot 310 pound player might bring more problems than solutions. Syracuse has a good record over the last 10 years and always does seem to play its game with success.

I have read of coaches who really do evaluate while in the gym. A recent article in the Lawrence Journal-World quoted Kansas coach Bill Self as liking to sit with his assistants when they can be together and discuss players as the game progresses. Perhaps that is only spin but he seems sincere that he wants to do the evaluations with them and not sit down front to look pretty for the players. Perhaps you will either observe this while you are there or refute it?


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