Jaylen Brown is convinced that this isn’t a serious question.
Do fans really perceive elite high school basketball players as attention freaks who want to capitalize on the inevitable free marketing, er, media attention that accompanies waiting until the spring to sign a National Letter of Intent?
“People say a lot of things like that, but it’s, honestly, crazy if you think about it,” said Brown, a small forward at Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) who is the top ranked uncommitted senior in the country. “But I’m definitely not the ‘attention’ guy and I definitely didn’t want to have to wait; I’m just not ready to pick a school yet.”
“I definitely didn’t want to have to wait; I’m just not ready to pick a school yet.” – Jaylen Brown
Brown isn’t alone; 22 other players in the ESPN 100, 13 in the top 20, have yet to even commit to a school let alone sign on the dotted line. The NCAA’s Early Signing Period runs from Nov. 12-19.
“People think it’s all about going on visits and coaches telling us we’re the greatest player ever,” said Brown, who’s mulling over offers from Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA, among many others. “But it can definitely get stressful. There’s a lot that comes with it.”
Sometimes too much.
Roselle Catholic’s (Roselle, N.J.) Isaiah Briscoe, the top ranked senior point guard in the country, had to shut down his media availability because he said “sometimes that’s more demanding than talking to the coaches.”
“It gets annoying with a lot of different media guys asking the same questions over and over,” said Briscoe, who’s down to Connecticut, Kentucky and St. John’s. “It can be a lot to deal with when you’re trying to focus on talking to coaches and stuff. It’s not the type of situation you just want to stay in so it’s crazy that people think we just want to wait ‘til the spring. I mean, come on now!”
“It’s not the type of situation you just want to stay in so it’s crazy that people think we just want to wait ‘til the spring.” – Isaiah Briscoe
Stephen Zimmerman’s mother, Lori, concurred.
She stepped in to run Zimmerman’s recruitment process to allow him to maintain some degree of normalcy. Zimmerman, a senior center who is ranked No. 10 in the ESPN 100, has taken official visits Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA.
“I am so jealous of our friends whose kids have already committed and are signing early,” Lori said with a laugh. “It’s over for them and they’re all relaxed! This situation is craaaazy; definitely not something that you choose to stay in for extend time. Every time Stephen comes back from a visit I’m like, ‘Did you feel it? Is that the one?’ He’s always like, ‘Mom, I don’t knoooow.’ It’s tough on these kids.”
Plus, on the most basic level, players want to be sure that they won’t have to repeat the taxing recruitment process after their freshman year.
Makes sense since, according to an NCAA report, nearly 40 percent of Division I men’s basketball players who were freshmen in 2010-11 left their original school prior to their third year in college.
“That’s crazy!” Briscoe said. “You don’t want to be one of those transfers so you take whatever time you need. No one’s trying to be the last guy to sign; I don’t know where people get this stuff.”
The culprits are cliché; Twitter “experts” churning the rumor mill, message board “gurus” who “know” where players will inevitably land, etc.
Still, in the end, Brown solidified playing the Signing Day waiting game with five words that are as simplistic as they are dead-on.
“We just don’t know yet,” he said.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY