Elite hoops recruits see the benefit of signing early

Elite hoops recruits see the benefit of signing early

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Elite hoops recruits see the benefit of signing early

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Gary Trent Jr. said deiding early alleviates the constant barrage of questioning. (Photo: EYBL)

Gary Trent Jr. said deiding early alleviates the constant barrage of questioning. (Photo: EYBL)

As a five-star recruit who had yet to decide between college basketball heavyweights such as Duke, UCLA and Michigan State, Gary Trent Jr. was anticipating how heightened the redundant questioning from reporters would have been after games this season for Prolfic Prep (Napa, Calif.).

“It (would have been) crazy with everyone wanting to know about where I’m leaning, when I’ll decide and things like that,” Trent said. “Honestly, that’s a big motivation for deciding early.”

Trent will announce his decision Thursday on ESPNU’s Recruiting Nation at 6 p.m. ET, and his sentiments are shared by most of the top seniors in the country, who concede that, while they all may not quite be ready to sign a scholarship offer, having a decision is, well, the best decision.

“It’s just the best route to go if you can help it,” said Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) wing Jordan Usher, who plans to sign with Southern California during the early signing period. “People always talk about the recruiting process being fun, but it’s not. It’s stressful, no matter who you are. It just gets to be too much.”

As of Wednesday, just six of the top 25 recruits in the ESPN 100, had decided on a college. More are expected to decide during the NCAA’s early signing period, which began Wednesday and ends Nov. 15.

“It just makes more sense to decide early,” said Trent, who is ranked No. 8 and the son of the former NBA player.

IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) point guard Trevon Duval can see both perspectives; yet he’s decided what’s best for him is to wait until the spring to “get more information about the schools I’m looking at.”

It’s relative.

Duval is the No. 1 point guard in the class and most reputable NBA Draft sites project him to be a lottery pick in the 2018 draft.

“My situation is different because I’m planning to play one year of college,” Duval said. “For that reason I want to make sure I pick the best situation to have success right away. I want to win wherever I go. For me, it’s more of a business decision.”

Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) coach Paul Washington Sr. couldn’t agree with Duval’s assessment more.

He said remembering that fact can help recruits stay focused on making a decision sooner.

Washington’s son, P.J., is a five-star forward who is down to Kentucky, North Carolina and UNLV. P.J. is also scheduled to announce Thursday on ESPNU.

“A lot of these schools talk big about being a family and call you every day, multiple times a day and all of that,” Paul Washington said. “But once you drop them from your list, that’s it. No calls. No texts. It’s like you’re strangers. That takes its toll on a teenager. You start to realize that you’re only family if you pick their school. When it clicks for you that it’s a business decision it’s easier to remove any emotion tied to the decision.”

It’s also easier to focus on their current season, according to Trent.

“The last thing you want to do after grinding in practice is do a bunch of different interviews, call all of the coaches and all that,” Trent said. “It can be a lot. I know we say it all the time, but this decision is really hard. Yeah, you want to decide early; who wouldn’t? But it’s hard when, no matter which school you pick, it will be the right decision. Early or late, that’s a tough decision.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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