Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'll Wait Until Signing Day


We live in a country today, where a high-profile player’s recruiting process becomes a six-month documentary complete with rising action and a climax.

 The college basketball websites, the bloggers, the recruiting gurus, the “friends of the program” are all tuned in, each move more dissected than the next.

 Everyone from the handler who stalks prodigious 5th grade talents at IS8 tournaments to the ardent college sports fan to the alumni booster who bleeds his university colors until the deathbed weighs in.

 The gossip mill that begins on one writer’s blog suddenly spreads through forums, articles, and online sports reports at a frenetic pace.

 On one website, where there is an active fan forum, a recent recruiting scoop generates major buzz.

 You see, this is how the process typically shakes out.

There are fervent fans from all over the country, dropping in their two dimes of "expertise."

According to a known blogger and Twitter monster, a certain player has been rumored, by a source close to the program, to have narrowed his choices down to a trio of schools.

Woah, it's on.

The hundreds of comments range from positive to ludicrously over the top.

One sports-crazed dork, who wears his alumni pin on his hat, says the kid will flame out since he won’t be playing he’s natural position at the University.

 “Too small to play off the ball, give him one hard pick and he’ll be on the ground writhing in pain,” says the undersized geek, who spends more time thumbing through countless “source”-triggered posts than he does watching high school or college basketball.

“He relies too much on his shot, needs to stop settling so much or he’ll have a minimal impact on that level,” the geek continues.

 “Unless he develops a better handle and starts going to the rim, this washout will be flipping burgers with Lenny Cooke before the second semester of his junior year.”

 Since the geek knows the recruiting updates on Twitter like Jordan knows how to answer skyrocketing pressure in the fourth quarter, he doesn’t provide much other commentary.

The geek can’t pinpoint the player’s flaws or his upside, though he can recite 10 other schools which have been in heavy pursuit of the glossy lefty guard.

 Joe, the former jock forever entombed in his high school glory, draws on about his own 32-point, 11-rebound eruption back in '88, on a Division-I breeding house school. Joe contributes to a forum, comparing the recruit's style and future NCAA path to that of another player.

Of course, that player is a jumbo 6-foot-8 forward who Joe played against in the NY State regional final in '86, his sophomore year. Joe the former jock adds how he shut the 6-foot-8 forward down for much of the first half. His dickhead coach, according to Joe, decided to sit in the zone in the second half and they squandered an 11-point first half lead.

That 6-foot-8 forward, even though he's not comparable to the lefty guard in any way, went on to play at Ohio State. He got booted for his role in a campus drug shuttle and now roams the park courts, getting pickup run in, Joe the former jock explains.

Joe adds, “if I was 6-foot-6, and not a 5-foot-10 white kid with probably the best handle for any high school guard during my era….that motherfucker would be carrying my jock strap around at OSU and holding the door shut for me while I’m slaying other kid’s girlfriends’ in their own dorm rooms. Shit, if I didn’t tear my ACL. That reminds me, there was this gorgeous, smoke-show who was all about my joint after I dropped 28 on Kenny Anderson at West Fourth Street, look her up on Facebook she still hits me up. Her name is…”

 On to the next comment.

 Chris, who graduated (in seven years) from a small college of about 700 kids in Pennsylvania, is loyal to a fault to his hometown NY team, St. John’s University.

 “Great move by the Johnnies coaching staff, shows the culture of the program is moving in the great direction,” Chris posts.

“He will provide a three-guard attack that’s going to give Big East teams fits. Each of them can take cats off the dribble and go to the rim or stick the 3-pointer. Each of them plays a harassing brand of defense.”

 Chris, actually watches the each and every game (even the scrimmages with an unrelenting, hawk-esque gaze) and doesn’t care much for Twitter or the blogosphere. Unless, of course, the rumors and recruiting updates/scoops involve St. John’s recruits.

 So, as he leans in on the computer screen, his eyes burning and his heart pounding, he jumps to a new thread and makes another post.

 “This is going to finally end St. John’s drought. It’s going to put us up there with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, UConn, all the big time programs. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any successful program and because we got these new guys in and all of us self-proclaimed gurus and fans got the other guy out, LOL, we made the right move.”

When did the tale of one’s recruitment become such a must-have story? When?

When did this burgeoning cadre of internet dorks and handlers and player pimps become so immersed in a topic that, well, really isn’t that important.

I’ll wait until the player signs his letter of intent. You should too.