Trying to convince teenagers to take a leap of faith and join one’s program is always a tricky endeavor. Trying to convince a 17-year-old that your program is the right one when someone else tells them you’re dying takes that difficulty to a whole different level.
That’s precisely what Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta apparently learned the hard way. The 49-year-old college basketball coach regaled the media with a truly disturbing recruiting yarn on Tuesday, offering up the following anecdote about an unspecified former recruit.
“Somebody told a recruit I was dying. Swear to God…that I was going to die. It’s a tough business I’m in here.
“It was funny because the kid was gonna have a press conference, and the father called and said ‘we’re going to delay it.’ I said ‘I understand. Why?’ He said ‘health issues.’ I said, ‘what’s going on?’ He said ‘well it’s your health…he told us that you’re going to die.’”
Really? Opposing coaches are telling recruits that their counterparts are in death throes to gain a recruiting edge? If that isn’t both worrying and harrowing about the state of college basketball recruiting today, we don’t know what is.
Sure, recruiting is an inherently messy, ethically fraught game. It doesn’t have to be a fraudulent one, too, though at least one college recruiter apparently felt appropriate to make it so.