My friend Scott Cacciola has a great story in the Wall Street Journal this morning. I would encourage every father of a young basketball player to read it because it's a nice guide to how not to handle a boy's amateur career.
From the WSJ...
[The website] Middle School Elite celebrates Jerron [Love] as a 5-foot-7 playmaker and the country's top eighth-grader. His potential? Limitless. Just ask the guy who runs the site—his dad. "I'm the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain," Jerry Love said.If you didn't catch that, here's the deal: A man named Jerry Love started a website that ranks middle school basketball players, and he's declared his son, Jerron Love, the nation's top-ranked eighth-grade prospect. This is ridiculous on lots of levels -- not the least of which is that his son is a 15-year-old eighth-grader and shorter than me -- and it'll almost certainly do more harm than good.
Jerron Love is now a national name and not for good reasons. He'll have incredible pressure on him throughout high school and most likely be a "failure" relative to the expectations his father has placed upon him. And for what? Because the dad wanted to hype his son? Eighth-graders don't need hype. They need parents who love them and teach them and shield them from things like this. If the kid's legitimate, we would've all found out in proper time. But nobody needed a website started by Jerry Love to tell us Jerron Love is the best middle-school player from sea to shining sea.
And guess who needed it less than anybody?
Make no mistake, I wish the kid luck.
But I'm not optimistic, and his father isn't helping.
(Worth noting: The last "No. 1 eighth-grader" I remember being 5-7 was Andre Allen. He went on to become a 5-8 walk-on in college who spent his career as a backup, got arrested once and failed a drug test that prevented him from playing for Memphis in the Final Four.)