Coach Floyd’s Response to Early Recruitment


As we all know, Coach Floyd took some flak when Ryan Boatwright (a HS freshman to be) committed to SC after a camp held at Galen Center.  Here’s Coach Floyd’s response to the criticism and concern:

TF: Well, in a perfect world, all of these young players
would make their decisions in the fall of their senior years.  But it’s
not the world that we’re in.  We didn’t invent taking young players. 
Bob Knight took Damon Bailey 20 years ago as an eighth grader.  Chris Leak
was offered by Wake Forest as an eighth grader and went to Florida as a football player.  Our competition across town (UCLA) took a commitment from
an eighth grader, Taylor King.  Last fall, there were two freshmen that
committed in their first week of school to Illinois and Marquette
.  It’s where
it is.  I think that we all recognize that young people can have great
talents, and if those players have dreamed about going to your school, they
tend to ask you if they’re being offered a scholarship by your school.
And if you don’t tell them that you are, then you offend them.  If you
tell them you’ve offered, sometimes you have to be prepared for them to accept
it, and that’s just the nature of recruiting in the world that we live in right

I think it all started, or it really started accelerating,
when these high school players were allowed to go to the NBA.  After
[Kevin] Garnett went in 1995, kids started thinking. Sophomores started
thinking about declaring for the NBA in two years.  So we’ve seen a
14-year-old golfer in Michelle Wie play on the LPGA Tour and play on the men’s
tour.  We’ve seen a 12-year-old girl this year quality for the U.S. [Women’s] Open.  I’m seeing it in all sports, and I think athletes are
bigger and stronger, and it’s something that’s talked about at an earlier age
than it was 15 years ago because of the cost of college tuitions and
educations.  At supper tables with the parents, they’re talking about
saving for college, and they want their kids in that place.  All I know is
that any commitment that we make to a young player, we will honor

To me, one of the biggest benefits of taking a young player
is I think the NCAA has done a poor job of educating high school counselors on
Form 48H
.  I think it’s why so many young prospects are in prep schools
right now, because counselors merely have most of these kids on degree tracks
to graduate from high school with no awareness of the 16 core course
requirement and the GPA requirement that is needed at the college level.
But when you identify prospects early, we then have a chance to interact with
those counselors and let them know what classes that these young players should
be in
.  And as far as the two young guys that we have taken commitments
from, there’s absolutely no reason why they should have every opportunity to
qualify at the point when they make their graduation from high school and get
ready to move on to the college level.

Personally I’m against early recruitment, but I also think Coach Floyd took an unfair amount of flak for the Boatwright commitment.  Coach Floyd does bring up a good point that kids today are developing at a much younger age and parents/kids are becoming more savvier and business-like about the future of their star child.  Either way, the last thing I want to see is early recruitment become a fact of life in college basketball recruiting…

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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