Elite players are sifting through post-summer recruiting interest and offers

C.J. Walker (Photo: Jon Lopez)

Elite players are sifting through post-summer recruiting interest and offers

Boys Basketball

Elite players are sifting through post-summer recruiting interest and offers


Now that the final evaluation period of the summer is in the books, social media timelines are being flooded with posts from elite recruits announcing their offers.

From blue blood programs to low-and mid-majors, players are frequently letting the masses know that their hardwood dominance has made them a priority for college basketball coaches around the country.

Or has it?

Truth is players haven’t arrived because they’re using Twitter fingers to post “blessed to receive an offer from…” on their timelines; in reality all players, elite or otherwise, fall in to one of three post-July categories: Still waiting for the offer, offered or offered and being hounded by the college coaching staff trying to lock them in to an official visit, which means the school foots the bill for travel and meals.

The latter, quite naturally, is the most ideal.

“Coaches that are pushing me to get to campus for official visits are the ones that I know really want me,” said The Villages Charter (Fla.) guard Tre Mann. “I don’t hold it against the ones that don’t, but I recognize the difference.”

Smart move according to ESPN recruiting director Paul Biancardi, who said that simply having that awareness can save players from unnecessary frustration.

“When they’re pushing for the official visit that separates where a recruit is in the pecking order,” said Biancardi, a former head and assistant college coach who won Horizon League Coach of the Year at Wright State in 2004. “Coaches prioritize those official visits, typically they bring in the kids that they want the most first, but it’s all about when they think the kid will likely commit. There’s an art to it.”

Often times that reduces players to contestants in the infamous waiting game, depending on how the coaching staff goes about extending its offers.

Orlando Christian Prep (Fla.) forward C.J. Walker can certainly attest to that.

As one of the hottest players on any circuit in July, Walker has the typical college basketball heavyweights on his list of college suitors, but 44 offers later he has yet to get the official nod from North Carolina and Kentucky.

“I don’t know why they’re waiting, but I don’t worry about stuff like that,” Walker said. “They’re successful programs so they can kinda do what they want. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

Little Elm (Texas) point guard R.J. Hampton takes the same care-free approach when it comes to schools with the slow trigger on offers.

Hampton annihilated the competition all summer, leading the Under Armour Circuit in scoring with 27 points a game.

And even though he’s got offers from schools like Kansas and Duke, he has yet to receive offers from Michigan and Kentucky.

“Some schools just have their own way of doing it,” said Hampton, who is ranked No. 2 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2020. “I don’t take myself too serious so it doesn’t bother me. Michigan wants me on campus and they want to be the first school to see me when open gyms start, and I’m confident Kentucky will offer too. I know the work I put in. I’ll get the offers.”

Still, not every player is as understanding as Walker and Hampton.

Duke associate head coach Jon Scheyer said it can be challenging to get players to understand the process that is the offer.

“Every school has their way of going about it; we’re different because we offer a small number of guys,” Scheyer said. “Our vetting process takes time because we like to build a relationship with the kid, their family and do our due diligence. When we’ve offered a guy, trust me, we’ve seen the kid a lot and we’ve done our homework on the fit. It’s pretty tedious. It’s important to be upfront.”

IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) shooting guard Josh Green fully respects schools’ processes and thoroughly admires the straightforward approach since, at times, he’s seen misinformation create confusion in recruiting.

For that reason he’s thumbs-off on offer posting.

“I just don’t see the point of posting all of the offers,” said Green, who is ranked No. 19 overall in the Chosen 25 for 2019. “It’s just not my thing. My job is to play basketball, the other stuff is hard to read. Sometimes schools jump on the bandwagon of a kid that’s hot or offer for publicity. You always find out who’s really there for you in the end.”

Still, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) point guard Sharife Cooper is taking mental note on who’s here now.

“It means a lot to me if you were there from the beginning,” said Cooper, who is ranked No. 10 overall in the Chosen 25 for 2020. “I’m gonna be a junior so I know I’ve got time on the officials, but I don’t really take schools seriously unless they’ve offered. I know things happen and schools come later sometimes, but, for me, it means something if you believed from the beginning.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY


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