Posted on: July 22, 2009 3:25 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2009 3:28 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Whether I was at the Villa 7 Consortium at the Venetian on Tuesday night or a gym around town this morning, pretty much all any coach wants to talk about is Josh Selby's decommitment from Tennessee and the circumstances surrounding it. As I reported Sunday , Selby ended a 10-month commitment to the Vols this weekend -- less than two weeks after attending the Nike-funded LeBron James Skills Academy and King City Classic, where his mother told me she met with basketball powerbroker William Wesley .
As you probably know, Wesley -- more commonly referred to as "Worldwide Wes" or "Fresh Wes" or simply "Wes" -- has long been unofficially tied to Nike Basketball and certain prospects, most notably Dajuan Wagner, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, all of whom played for John Calipari at Memphis.
Now Calipari is at Kentucky.
And industry sources believe UK is the new leader for Selby.
And, well, you know.
"That kid was committed to Tennessee for almost a year, then he goes to a Nike event, the mom talks with Wes, the kid decommits from an 'Adidas' school, and now he's looking at Kentucky," said one high-major coach, noting the timeline of the developments as well as UT's apparel contract with Adidas. "Come on, man. That's messed up. I mean, that's just messed up."
Bruce Pearl has spent his four years at Tennessee rubbing a good portion of the coaching community the wrong way, and yet across the board people appear sympathetic toward him and the rest of UT 's staff in light of Selby's decommitment. Regardless of what's real and what isn't, seemingly everybody in the coaching profession believes Wesley influenced Selby's decision, and Selby's mother publicly acknowledging she met with Wesley before her son decommitted has only enhanced that perception.
Either way, it's the talk of Vegas, I assure you.
And it'll be interesting to see which coaches are at El Dorado High today at 5:20 p.m. ET when Selby plays his opening game with the Baltimore Assault in the Adidas Super 64. I'm unfamiliar with the Assault's roster and the team they're playing (Team Credo). But one college coach told me Selby will be the only high-major prospect on the court, meaning any high-major coach in the building will be in the building to see Selby.
I'll let you know what I see when I see it.
Posted on: July 9, 2009 7:40 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2009 7:42 pm
CLEVELAND -- One of the things I gathered from my three days at the LeBron James Skills Academy and King City Classic is that Class of 2011 star Michael Gilchrist doesn't appear to be getting the kind of attention from college coaches that's typical of a top-ranked prospect.
The reason is simple: Everybody thinks he's a lock for Kentucky.
"I should be fired if I waste one cent recruiting that kid," said one high-major coach who apparently knows his boundaries. "[Gilchrist] is going to play for [John Calipari]. It's done. Trust me. He's playing for Cal. If you recruit him, you're wasting your time."
This perception is based on Gilchrist's relationship with Calipari confidant and basketball powerbroker William Wesley , plus a newspaper article two summers ago that quoted Gilchrist talking about how he planned to play for Calipari. Far as anybody can tell, nothing has changed even though Gilchrist has never publicly committed in a traditional way to Calipari at Memphis or Calipari at Kentucky, and that's why Gilchrist's phone isn't constantly bombarded by most of the elite programs.
It's not because he isn't talented enough.
Or smart enough.
Or good enough on a personal level.
He is all of those things, and I can't imagine there's a single school that wouldn't love Michael Gilchrist on its roster. It's just that coaches are hesitant to invest time and money into recruiting the gifted wing only to watch him sign with Kentucky in November 2010. That's the dilemma. But it should be noted that Gilchrist, his family and his high school coach are making an effort to convince schools that Gilchrist is open to being recruited by anybody and everybody. Whether it works remains to be seen.
"You talk to his mom, talk to him, they both tell me he's not automatically going to Kentucky," said Kevin Boyle, who coaches Gilchrist at St. Patrick's High in New Jersey. "They say there is no guarantee that he's going to Kentucky, that he's pretty wide-open. So the mom is putting that out there, and I'm putting that out there, and hopefully more people will respond ... because he probably hasn't gotten a number of phone calls that you'd expect for a guy of his level."