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.