Friday, May 9, 2008

Recruiting young gaining popularity


Like his buddy, Billy Gillispie, Kansas University coach Bill Self would accept an oral commitment from an eighth-grade basketball player.

"I would take Lew Alcindor. I'd take Wilt, Danny and Lew," Self said of former UCLA phenom Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) as well as KU greats Danny Manning and Wilt Chamberlain, whose exploits as players were well-known early in their stages of development.

Eighth-grade recruiting is in the news following last week's declaration that 15-year-old Lake Sherwood, Calif., guard Michael Avery had committed to Gillispie's University of Kentucky program. A few days later, UK received a commitment from ninth-grade forward Vinny Zollo, 15, of Ohio.

"I think it's too young," Self said, speaking specifically about landing commitments from players who have not yet graduated grade school. "In a perfect world (schools would not land players that young)," Self added.

Jim Haney, executive director of the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches, told USA Today he's concerned about schools recruiting 14- and 15-year-olds. He said the issue would be brought up before the NABC Ethics Committee. Self is a member of the NABC Board of Directors.

"It greatly concerns me. 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," Haney told the paper. "Maybe it's something we, as an association, need to take up and say something like, 'Our association has agreed we're not going to accept (commitments) prior to the summer between a player's sophomore and junior year.'''

Self recently landed the earliest commitment in school history from 6-foot-2 Phoenix Sunnyslope High sophomore Royce Woolridge.

"I don't think we should necessarily have a knee-jerk rule because USC and Kentucky have gotten a couple," Self said. "College coaches are not asking all eighth graders to commit. What are we going to do? Make it (new rule) the first day of their ninth-grade year?"

Haney told USA Today that recruiting eighth-graders sends the wrong message to the general public.

"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," he said.

¢ CBE update: The College Basketball Experience tournament has a new format for the 2008-09 season.

The CBE will consist of 12 teams, down from 16 a year ago.

Host schools KU, Syracuse, Washington and Florida will each play two home games (likely Nov. 16 and 18), then advance to Kansas City on Nov. 24-25 regardless of how they fare in the opening games.

KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating believes University of Missouri-Kansas City will be one of KU's tourney foes in Lawrence. The other opponent has not been revealed.

It's also believed KU will play Washington on Nov. 24 at Sprint Center, then meet either Florida or Syracuse in the finals or consolation finals.

The eight schools in the CBE that aren't host schools will not travel to Sprint Center. These low to mid-major squads will play two four-team events at sites to be determined. All 12 teams are guaranteed four games.

"The way it was last year, they'd send three teams to our place and we'd have a doubleheader each day (with one survivor advancing to Kansas City)," Keating said. "Now we get two games at our place and two in Kansas City. Each one of the (mid-major) schools will play one game at one of the host schools. Then they break up in two groups of four and play three round-robin games."

KU will travel to Arizona and Michigan State and meet Tennessee and Temple in Allen Fieldhouse next season in the Jayhawks' marquee nonconference games. KU will also meet UMass in Sprint Center.


KEITHMILES05 11 years, 7 months ago

You can tell Gary is getting bored and it is becoming more difficult to find pertinent information to write about.

GIHAWK 11 years, 7 months ago

You try writing about college basketball in the off season.

jayhawkinATL 11 years, 7 months ago

I hear ya, KEITHMILES05.BTW...are we going to hear any specifics about Bill's new contract???

Dirk Medema 11 years, 7 months ago

Keith in particular has been in a bit of a nasty mood lately. Definitely an off season article, but I personally enjoyed the thought of playing the non-con games. Next year will be an exciting (frustrating at times) year locally, but fun to think about that many more Hawks in the league as well.

fansincewilt 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm interested. Keep it coming. I rarely miss a day reading these articles.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Since I announced my 5'tall 9 year old's willingness to commit to KU a week ago, we have already had the following activity: a) over a hundred text messages from Billie Gillispie's staff plus Billie dressed up as a birthday party clown and showed up at the door incognito and offered, b) Tim Floyd has offered;c) Ben Howland took the high road. He said UCLA has very tough educational standards including that third graders have to be able to read at a third grade level before UCLA can offer (Howland offered on the spot because my son reads at a fifth grade level and can already quick release the outlet pass to mid court); andd) Bill Self promised incredible Lawrence would soon have incredible skateboard parks and recreational basketball courts in addition the Division I's first official Ritz Carlton Student Athletic Hotel/Condo complex. Bill and Lewie the Perk have lured Wolfgang Puck into running the restaurant/training table and, of course, Wolf announced, a new dish called Flint Hills Steak au Poivre with Peppercorns and a Jayhawk sauce. Bill said he cannot offer until his contract is ironed out some time around 2015.My son has decided temporarily to withdraw his offer to commit to any D1 schools and test the waters with the NBA draft without an agent.His mother and I, however, have decided in addition that in order to "protect his childhood" we will no allow any NBA teams to talk with him, put him through work outs or have any other form of contact with him. They have to take him sight unseen based on the snowballing interest of Division I coaches. We have already had phone calls from 24 NBA teams and a form letter from David Stern wishing him well in his ground breaking entry into the NBA at 9.

Gary Bedore 11 years, 7 months ago

Nothing new on the Self contract BTW. He'll sign it in coming weeks once the lawyers copmlete reviewing it and then the details will be revealed. It's going to be multi years and make him one of the highest paid coaches out there.

Gary Bedore 11 years, 7 months ago

"You can tell Gary is getting bored and it is becoming more difficult to find pertinent information to write about."I don't mind the feedback.I'm just curious as to why some people read the basketball articles if they have no interest in them. If you don't care about the topic, why read? I guess we should be happy you click on the article and read it even though you don't want to read it. Non sequiter I guess.Self's opinion on his buddy Gillispie signing eighth graders seems like a topic true KU fans might want to discuss around the lunchroom.I thought there'd be a happier tone on the feedback and message boards since the title game victory, but I sense some anger in some KU fans still for some reason.You can email me personally if you want to discuss the issue at

Chris Weaver 11 years, 7 months ago

nba draft net's latest mock draft: going 8 to larry brown and the bobcatsmario going 26, teaming up with jacque vaughn in san antonioand B-rush teaming up with JuJu in new orleans at 27- i'm surprised to see mario go ahead of rush, and shady in the middle of the lottery - but i think they got it right. i can see chalmers having a vaughn-like career in the association, arthur being a starter for a playoff team, and b-rush and JuJu would just be too much.

actorman 11 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely, Strikewso. And I like the idea of a rule that no one can be recruited until the summer between their sophomore and junior years. (Of course Kelvin Sampson would be calling them starting in the second grade, but that's another story.)

rawkhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Thanks LJW for all of the off-season coverage. KU news big or small gives me a mental health break from my workday. Also, much happens, such as recruiting, during the off-season. I like having information on the incoming players before actually seeing them play. I'm an addict.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Roy Williams--after forcing Roy to only recruit half the country for 15 years at Kansas, Dean can't wait until after KU's Final Four run to muck up the whole experience for his old school and creates an impossible situation for Roy in which Roy really has no choice but to leave for Chapel Hill. Now remember that Roy had twice committed to staying at KU, once permanently, and after 15 years had returned KU to near greatness. But Dean drags him back to Tobacco Road, playing the aging family card. And having done that, creates a situation for Roy at UNC where he has to walk all-over one of his closest UNC buddy's coaching corpse, Matt Dougherty, and then win a championship with Matt's players, one Roy will never be able to take full credit for, and face a couple of reloading years where Roy does his usual stellar job, only to be turned on by the biggest bunch of ungrateful, low class, southern trash that I have ever observed, and have UNC fans email broadcast talking whores like Dick Vitale that Roy acted like a "deer caught in the headlights" thus implying Roy is somehow not good enough for UNC.UNC does not deserve Roy Williams and they never did. They deserved guys like Frank McGuire and Dean Smith, the former being one of the deans of shadyness, and the latter a meddling, chain-smoking, control freak who never got over not being able to start or coach at Kansas. Roy Williams is a true Hall of Fame coach. Roy Williams has won a ring and been to bunches of Final Fours. Roy Williams is such a good coach that he could get to the Final Four at KU four times recruiting only half the country. No other coach has ever done that even once, because no other coach that I know of was held to such an onerous unwritten standard by his mentor.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Roy finally had to take responsibility for the mistakes he made, just like he always told his players to do and just as he always had done himself as a KU basketball coach.He didn't. He took the money. He slipped out of town in the night and he continued coming back in the night and he kept saying ridiculously ambiguous things about his feelings for UNC and KU.This was never complicated. He liked UNC better. There's no law against that. But it was conflicted. He had a career at Kansas. He made something of himself recruiting with one hand tied behind his back at Kansas. And he didn't leave Kansas the right way. He didn't look after his boys for one thing. And he did leave when his best players were leaving. And doing so made what should have been a simple, heart felt bon voyage into a bitter divorce.I wanted to beat Roy when it counted in the worst way, because of the way he left Kansas. And I will be eternally glad and grateful that Bill Self's Greatest Kansas team of all time got the job done. This could only have been worked out on a basketball court. But I always wished for Roy to continue to be the great college basketball coach that I believed him to be. I always hoped he would be happy and accepted and loved in Chapel Hill, as he was in Lawrence, because he is a decent man. And I always wished Roy would one day make some gesture that indicated that he truly understood what the problem was; that he was sorry; that he would like to have been able to have done it all better than he did it.Roy Williams wearing that Jayhawk emblem on his black sweater and standing up on national television was the gesture that I needed.

11 years, 7 months ago

garybedore what are we to make of this previous post by Ryan Greene? Is he kidding?Posted by rgreene (Ryan Greene) on May 4, 2008 at 10:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)note to all: 'garybedore' is not Gary Bedore.

thiknthinhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

It's very easy to criticize journalists in times when news is scarce. It's not as if they can chose to not write anything at all for lack of news.

actorman 11 years, 7 months ago

I am mystified as to what the problem is with the article. Keith, are you saying that you don't want to hear people's thoughts about recruiting eighth-graders? Or are you saying you don't want to know about KU's schedule for next year? I don't see anything wrong with either one of those subjects, and I'm certainly looking forward to KU playing a much tougher schedule next year.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 7 months ago

Guys, it's the offseason. Quit giving him grief about the info in the articles. A story about these young recruits is actually very pertinent about a situation that needs to be addressed.It's ridiculous to sign an 8th grader, surely everyone can see the absurdity in doing something like that.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

UNC continues to give Roy Williams the Tubby Smith treatment.Comment: I increasingly think UNC is acting like a bush league school. Think of the guys they have run off, or fired, or turned down, since Smith retired. Bill Guthridge--he coached extremely well and recruited well. Forced out.Matt Dougherty--one of their own, he recruited fabulously well, had problems with some guys he should have kicked off the team, but still did a pretty good job, had Dean not created a bureaucratic nightmare because he was being put to pasture by an AD who was properly trying to retake control of the program. Fired one of their own and wrecked the career of a promising young coach.Larry Brown--they turned down one of the greatest coaches of all time, because Dean and him have a feud.

JayCeph 11 years, 7 months ago

rawkhawk~ I echo your sentiment. Nice work LJW. Keep the relevant stuff coming...(How about looking into the brackets, from March, of the Jayhawks that are in the 'League' and see how their predictions turned out... I always liked to hear how and who they picked to win it all!)

11 years, 7 months ago

Cool, Gary. Just checking. I believe I speak for most when I say we enjoy your articles no matter the time of year.

Gary Bedore 11 years, 7 months ago

It's me. I've been posting a little bit, not much. I'll tell him it's me when I see him. email me and I'll reply and you'll see it's me.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Roy knew he would be roasted by the sloped-forehead neaderthals that pass for UNC fans for doing that so soon on the tar heels of losing to Kansas. There was absolutely nothing in that gesture for him or his family, or his coaching staff, or his boys. He did it, because it was the right thing to do. He did it and I am once again not only wishing Roy well, but proud of him and respecting him again.Roy Williams is part of the grand Kansas basketball tradition. But to our great good fortune, his large contribution to it has already been eclipsed in many respects by Bill Self's extraordinary and still relatively brief tenure at Kansas.Whatever else Roy is, he is a part of the Jayhawk nation because he chooses to be. That is good enough for me.And being part of the Jayhawk nation, I have to stand up for him now to UNC fans and say:Act like you deserve one of the greatest college basketball coaches of his generation. At least be as grateful he is at your school as we are that Bill Self is at our school. Forget this insipid notion that UNC needs to win an NC every 3 or 4 years. It never has and it never will. I love Kansas basketball and I have loved it for the last 20 years we haven't won a ring. Winning rings is the greatest thrill in the sport. But it is not what Kansas basketball is ultimately about. If it were, Kansas basketball would have ceased to exist over the last 20 years of not having won. But Kansas basketball has grown stronger and more wonderful as a mythology with each passsing year of two great coaches during that period TRYING to win rings.UNC, you are one of the great programs of college basketball. Have some pride. Act like it. You've got a great coach. Wear your baby blue colors and cheer him on for all he's worth.Basketball is about the journey you take with your coach and players on the quest to be the best team they can be, not about holding them all up to absurd standards.

Gary Bedore 11 years, 7 months ago

Oops I spelled complete wrong in the above post and don't know how to edit it. take care all.

actorman 11 years, 7 months ago

Gary, I wouldn't take too seriously the angry words of a few. While we all may have constructive criticism at some point, some people are just angry all the time and feel the need to lash out. I imagine the percentage of angry people here is no different than anywhere else.

Joe Ross 11 years, 7 months ago

All the complaints about the articles are getting OLD.

NH_JHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm with you rawkhawk. I'm also addicted to Thanks Gary for contributing to my addiction.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Roy Williams wore a Jayhawk on his sweater to the National Finals after his team almost came back from being blown out early by KU. That's all Roy did. He acknowledged publicly that after 15 years at Kansas that a part of him was still Jayhawk. Not the part that coaches. Not the part that recruits. Not the part that would have beaten the snot out of KU if he could have. Just a corner of the man's heart; that's all. The part of his heart that knew he had wronged KU at the very end of 15 wonderful years. The part of his heart that knew that no one, not a pretzel vendor in NYC, not a frustrated screen writer in LA, not a Senator in Washington, DC, not a park ranger in Yellowstone, and certainly not a basketball coach at Kansas, can work at a place for 15 years and not feel a part of it for the rest of his life.Get off Roy's back, all of you Tar Holes.You have one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history. Ya got him because he grew up in east Carolina and mentored under Dean Smith. Ya got him because he wanted to be near his mother. Ya got him because he loves UNC more than Kansas.For god's sakes, you red-necked, cracker idiots, wake up!!!!!!I greatly resented, not that Roy left, but that he left the way he did. In the night, leaving us with sanctions, effectively with his tail between his legs and displacing the wrong of what he was doing by blaming it all on Hemenway. Yeah, Hemenway done him wrong. Yeah, Dean Smith put Roy in an impossible situation. But Roy should have stood up like a man the way he always did after losses and take responsbility. He should have given Kansas and Kansas fans at least a chance to do the right thing for him regarding Hemenway and the AD situations. We probably would have recalled the governor and the board of regents if we had had to to get Hemenway fired and keep Roy. But instead, he let himself get to feeling too insecure and that made him vulnerable to Dean's manipulations and utterly classless interventions during a Final Four that could easily have waited until after.

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