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The New York Post

 

It's described as an "evaluation" period, three five-day stretches in July when college coaches watch high school basketball prospects across the country.

But it could be defined very differently, like a tense game of dominoes.

Scout.com national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels touched on the subject before the start of the first period on Wednesday, tweeting, "Little known fact during the live periods: More coaches hope their recruits play bad in front of other coaches, than well."

The Post spoke to several college coaches, and the consensus was in agreement with Daniels. They don't necessarily want to see their targets struggle, but they are rooting for them not to blow up, either. It's almost like a fan who doesn't mind seeing his or her team tank.

"Not that I want them to stink the court up, but I don't want them to get too much attention," one mid-major head coach said.

Take the two local Big East schools, St. John's and Seton Hall, for instance. Both programs have been recruiting five-star recruits for quite some time, players such as Moses Brown and Nassir Little in the case of St. John's, Jahvon Quinerly and Louis King for Seton Hall. Kentucky and Duke are interested in these prospects. The hope is those offers don't come.

A high-major head coach believes it is more of an issue in the spring, before rising seniors cut down their college lists. The point of July for this coach is make sure his top targets see him. If a school hasn't offered at this point, the player is clearly a backup option, the coach said. And, yet, that doesn't always matter.

"I've seen countless cases of a mid-major or a lower high-major school putting in hours and hours and recruiting a kid for a year, for the kid to have a couple big games and all the sudden the entire country wants him," Daniels said. "It's natural for coaches to think this way, when they are tracking someone they've spent a lot of time on and really want.

"I'd say it happens across the board."

It's even trickier for mid- and low-major programs. One MAAC assistant coach said his program has identified 25-30 kids entering July, understanding a big tournament, or even an impressive performance, can nullify a strong relationship. There are more levels a kid can get to, compared to someone already being recruited at the high-major level.

"We just had that happen last night," the coach said. "A kid we're recruiting hits about six 3-pointers in a game, and you're like, 'OK, I hope he starts missing.' You don't want other coaches to start scrolling through the coach's package to see who he is."

The problem, the coach said, is so few players skip the spring and summer live recruiting periods, so it has created far fewer sleepers. Recruiting is covered more than at any time. Everyone knows about which players are getting recruited by whom. Some coaches will recruit players merely by the list of offers they have.

"There are no secrets anymore," he said.

zbraziller@nypost.com

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July 16, 2017
 
 
 

 

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