Hello, I would like to recruit your eighth grader

  • 05/09/2008 7:00 am in

jrhigh.jpgThose of you with eighth graders, relax…I’m only kidding. Most of you know by now that Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie took a commitment last week from Michael Avery, an eighth grader from Thousand Oaks, California. And the reaction from around the country has sparked much needed conversation on how out of control this whole recruiting thing has become.

As PostmanE pointed out over at the Dagger on Y!, most eighth graders are worried about video games, not where they’re going to be attending college. Avery chose Kentucky before he picked where he’d be attending high school.

Nothing against this kid (I’m sure he likes Miley Cyrus and Playstation 3 like most other kids his age), but I just don’t see how he’s ready to make this decision at this point in his life. Why his parents even allowed him to declare this early is even more puzzling. My guess is they don’t have a fully funded 529.

From the school’s standpoint, how can a staff project the type of player a kid will be four years down the road? Some kids mature early and stop growing. Remember the kid in junior high gym class that had a mustache, posted you up and abused you down low? He was probably the same height at high school graduation.

This post isn’t meant as an attack on Gillispie specifically. He’s not the first coach to take a commitment from a kid this young and he definitely won’t be the last. But you can bet as this becomes more prevalent, it’s only going to turn up the heat on the NCAA to take action. The National Association of Basketball Coaches is already starting the dialogue:

“It greatly concerns me,” said NABC executive director Jim Haney. “To me, it sends the wrong message. … I don’t think it completely aligns with the perception that college athletics reflect in a time of increased academic standards. Maybe it’s something we, as an association, need to take up and say something like, ‘Our association has agreed that we’re not going to accept (commitments) prior to the summer between a player’s sophomore and junior year.’ It just gives fuel to that whole perception that coaches are out of control … that coaches are trying to sign kids when they’re born or all they can think about is recruiting.”

Not only is Haney concerned, he’s even throwing out specific ideas on a solution to this problem. And personally, I think he’s right on the money. Let kids get a couple of years under their belt in high school and then let the offers start rolling in. The schools would have a chance to evaluate potential recruits for an extra couple of seasons and the kids get a few more years to develop their games. Sounds like a win-win to me.

So, what say you, ITH’ers? Do you have a problem with kids being recruited as eighth graders? What would your reaction be if Indiana took a commitment from a player that young? Should the NCAA intervene and establish a rule? Thoughts in the comments, por favor.

 

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  • JamesHardy

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't RMK recruiting and scouting Damon Bailey when he was an 8th grader? I have to say, I applaud this kid for making a decision that will help guide him into his future. I teach 7th and 8th graders and I'd give my left *** to have JUST ONE KID who would look this far ahead in regards to his future. It's not like he sold his soul to the freakin devil! Good luck young man, I hope you succeed in your quest to attend UK.

  • JamesHardy

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't RMK recruiting and scouting Damon Bailey when he was an 8th grader? I have to say, I applaud this kid for making a decision that will help guide him into his future. I teach 7th and 8th graders and I'd give my left *** to have JUST ONE KID who would look this far ahead in regards to his future. It's not like he sold his soul to the freakin devil! Good luck young man, I hope you succeed in your quest to attend UK.

  • B_MD

    My guess is that this kid never actually wears a Kentucky jersey.

  • BGleas

    My guess is that this kid never actually wears a Kentucky jersey.

  • deedubbadoo

    I totally agree that kid made a heck of a decision for his future, and I understand what you mean about your students not looking ahead. That being said, the NCAA needs to step in here. I mean, come on 8th grade? A 14-15 year old being offered a scholarship to play Division 1 basketball, this is along the lines of the little kid that was signed by Reebok when he was 3. Okay, that was a little excessive, but at some point, these universities have to back off and let kids be kids. I say no offers at least till after their freshman season, maybe even sophomore season. Only allow offers to be made to juniors and seniors.

    As much as I hate to say it, if you are going to punish coaches for “excessive contact” with recruits, I think there should also be a punishment for “early contact.” I mean how can the NCAA justify that making extra phone calls is in anyway more inappropriate then coaches showing up at daycare.

  • deedubbadoo

    I totally agree that kid made a heck of a decision for his future, and I understand what you mean about your students not looking ahead. That being said, the NCAA needs to step in here. I mean, come on 8th grade? A 14-15 year old being offered a scholarship to play Division 1 basketball, this is along the lines of the little kid that was signed by Reebok when he was 3. Okay, that was a little excessive, but at some point, these universities have to back off and let kids be kids. I say no offers at least till after their freshman season, maybe even sophomore season. Only allow offers to be made to juniors and seniors.

    As much as I hate to say it, if you are going to punish coaches for “excessive contact” with recruits, I think there should also be a punishment for “early contact.” I mean how can the NCAA justify that making extra phone calls is in anyway more inappropriate then coaches showing up at daycare.

  • I'm with JamesHardy…I thought Damon Bailey orally committed in the 8th grade. I know that Knight said he was a better guard as an 8th grader than anyone on Indiana's team at the time.

    Didn't Gillespie also get a verbal from a freshman in high school? Or was that another school/coach?

  • I'm with JamesHardy…I thought Damon Bailey orally committed in the 8th grade. I know that Knight said he was a better guard as an 8th grader than anyone on Indiana's team at the time.

    Didn't Gillespie also get a verbal from a freshman in high school? Or was that another school/coach?

  • tberry

    It is simply too early to tell what the future will hold for the player or the school. There are too many variables that can and will intervene in all the years that a player is maturing.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with a coach being aware of talent early just a Knight did with Damon Bailey but serious recruiting leading to a L of I is dangerous for both parties.

    It is dangerous for the school because any number of natural events could make a player not good material. The could stop growing. They could end up a very poor student. They could become physically handicapped. Their game could end up very mediocre. Etc, etc, etc..

    It is dangerous for the student because the school could become non competitive. The schools future coach could coach a style that is not right for the athlete. The player may not fit in with the existing team personnel. Other , better, school choices/offers could be missed. Etc, etc, etc..

    There are just too many variables to make very early commitments realistic for either side, especially if anyone is serious about holding the school or athlete to their letter of Intent..

  • tberry

    It is simply too early to tell what the future will hold for the player or the school. There are too many variables that can and will intervene in all the years that a player is maturing.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with a coach being aware of talent early just a Knight did with Damon Bailey but serious recruiting leading to a L of I is dangerous for both parties.

    It is dangerous for the school because any number of natural events could make a player not good material. The could stop growing. They could end up a very poor student. They could become physically handicapped. Their game could end up very mediocre. Etc, etc, etc..

    It is dangerous for the student because the school could become non competitive. The schools future coach could coach a style that is not right for the athlete. The player may not fit in with the existing team personnel. Other , better, school choices/offers could be missed. Etc, etc, etc..

    There are just too many variables to make very early commitments realistic for either side, especially if anyone is serious about holding the school or athlete to their letter of Intent..

  • HoosierInTheVille

    I am going to have to lean towards it potentially being better for kids recruited at this age. If the coach that is recruiting the player is a good coach/person, than the coach and the kid have, in this instance, four years to develop a relationship before he even gets to college. The coach can then help tell the player things he wants him to work on and practice. The coach would be able to check in and make sure the kid is keeping up with his school work and also staying out of trouble.

    Now I could be naive, but I like to think most Coaches are willing to put that extra time in a recruit, especially if they are recruiting them at such a young age. However I can also see it taking a huge turn for the worse, but overall I am giving the positives outweighing the bad.

  • HoosierInTheVille

    I am going to have to lean towards it potentially being better for kids recruited at this age. If the coach that is recruiting the player is a good coach/person, than the coach and the kid have, in this instance, four years to develop a relationship before he even gets to college. The coach can then help tell the player things he wants him to work on and practice. The coach would be able to check in and make sure the kid is keeping up with his school work and also staying out of trouble.

    Now I could be naive, but I like to think most Coaches are willing to put that extra time in a recruit, especially if they are recruiting them at such a young age. However I can also see it taking a huge turn for the worse, but overall I am giving the positives outweighing the bad.

  • BTOWN40

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A
    Little article from the INDY STAR regarding the hoops tournament at IU this weekend.
    Hopefully Crean can talk some to possible recruits since it's an unofficial visit

  • BTOWN40

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A
    Little article from the INDY STAR regarding the hoops tournament at IU this weekend.
    Hopefully Crean can talk some to possible recruits since it's an unofficial visit

  • Yes, he was scouting him. Scouting and offering a scholarship are two totally different things. Of course coaches are going to see younger kids play, especially if they are playing up a couple of years in AAU. Bailey didn't commit to Indiana until his junior year of high school.

  • Yes, he was scouting him. Scouting and offering a scholarship are two totally different things. Of course coaches are going to see younger kids play, especially if they are playing up a couple of years in AAU. Bailey didn't commit to Indiana until his junior year of high school.

  • 1. first thing i thought of when i heard about this was damon bailey.

    2. any video of this kid?

    3. who has this 8th grader played that gives him any cred? other 8th graders?

  • 1. first thing i thought of when i heard about this was damon bailey.

    2. any video of this kid?

    3. who has this 8th grader played that gives him any cred? other 8th graders?

  • Yes, he was scouting him. Scouting and offering a scholarship are two totally different things. Of course coaches are going to see younger kids play, especially if they are playing up a couple of years in AAU. Bailey didn't commit to Indiana until his junior year of high school.

  • 1. first thing i thought of when i heard about this was damon bailey.

    2. any video of this kid?

    3. who has this 8th grader played that gives him any cred? other 8th graders?