And now we wait.
With the 2018 AAU circuit having come to a close it can only mean that the recruiting picture for the basketball crazy fans that invest a lot of time into following it is so much clearer and in focus, right? HAH...Not a chance! In fact, in some cases it is probably even more cloudy now than it ever has been, and right now is the time of year when having patience truly is a virtue.
The truth of the matter is this. In today's recruiting world, if a young man doesn't have a dream school, one that he would commit to before the the offer is completely out of the coach's mouth, then he not only has the right to do his due diligence, he also deserves it, and he would be doing himself a disservice by not doing so.
Aside from the for sure one-and-done talents, these young men and women are making the biggest decision of their lives to date. I mean think about it for a minute. They are deciding where they will call home for the next two, three, four, and in some cases, five years. They are leaving their home, their families, and their lifelong friends. Now, that would probably be an easy decision for you and me if Indiana University came calling with a scholarship offer, because we would jump all over the chance to wear the Candy-Stripes. Heck, I personally would quit my job tomorrow and accept an offer to be the towel boy and wipe sweat up off of the floor. But it's not us we're talking about here, so now we wait.
Some people view the AAU circuit as a bad thing, although I personally am not one of them. Sure, just like everything else it has its good points as well as its bad. The one thing I think we can for sure agree on though is that it has changed the landscape of recruiting. Kids today not only play pretty much year round, but they also play all over the country in these tournaments. And of course you can also throw in the ever growing number of Prep Schools that also play a national schedule. Therefore being away from home is just really not that big of deal for a lot of these kids like it may have been 20+ years ago. Because again, they're just used to it.
The majority of all high school basketball players have dreams and aspirations of making it to the "league." Now, I know, you know, and a whole bunch of other people know that most of them, a very small amount of them actually, will never sniff the NBA. But we're talking about 18 year olds here, which is exactly why recruiting is harder these days than it used to be, and will continue to get even harder and more competitive going forward.
This is readily evident in some quotes you see from players that commit to that school in Lexington. When they say things like, "I chose to go here because coach Cal gets guys to the league," I just want to scream. In todays world if you are good at basketball, or any sport for that matter, I don't care if you play at 'Podunk State University' the NBA, MLB, and NFL knows about you and they will find you. The aforementioned coach is not a developer of talent, and he doesn't need to be. But some of these kids believe it, and in todays recruiting world sometimes that's all that matters.
Coach Miller and staff seem to have a plan, a method so to speak when it comes to recruiting. And I personally love their approach. They have targeted and zeroed in on who they want now, and who they want in the future. Building early relationships with some of tomorrow's stars, both in-state and nationwide is all a part of not only building, but also maintaining a winning culture, and this coaching staff is checking all of those boxes. Maybe even more important is the fact they seem to have a backup plan in place in the case their targeted player opts to play elsewhere. This hasn't always been the case in the recent past. Letting a scholarship ride until the next year is not the worst thing you can do with it if Player A and Player B turn you down. And it sure as heck is beats giving it to a player who isn't, and never will be an IU caliber player. Which has also happened in the past.
Kids commit and then de-commit a lot more frequently than in the past. Kids also opt to wait longer and longer to decide on a school nowadays. Kids "cutting" their list to their top 10 or so teams is a relatively new fad of the last decade or so. All of these things will continue and possibly even more frequently than we see now. And of course I'm sure there will be probably be some new trends pop up along the way as well. Especially up until the NBA age limit rule is changed.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Keion Brooks Jr., Anthony Harris, Aarman Franklin, Brandon Newman, James Bouknight, Zeke Nnaji, Isiah Stewart, Trendon Watford, Mathew Hurt, Jahmius Ramsey and Harlond Beverly is a "short" list of players that not only myself and thousands of other Hoosier fans, but also fans nation wide are awaiting to hear where these 18 year old young men will attend college in 2019. With the season still a few months away, and the few select tidbits we get from the how summer workouts are progressing, we don't really have anything else to do but check the message boards, and the Crystal Balls, and Twitter...and wait.
GO BIG RED!