For this mailbag edition, I’m combining the Hawkeye and Cyclone recruiting mailbags into one combined extravaganza.
Read it as an appetizer before you engorge on Thanksgiving food.
By the way: Stuffing (don’t call it dressing) and green bean casserole are the best Thanksgiving foods, and it’s not even close. I will debate you until the end of time.
But until then, here’s the mailbag.
One-and-dones seem great if you can get them every year. If you can’t, are they a liability? — @billallenisu
First of all: A one-and-done is never a liability. Coaches want talent, and they won’t be turning down a future lottery pick any time soon.
But this question was part of a larger note Bill sent regarding the differences between landing truly elite guys in football or basketball. Basically, the gist was: Is landing a five-star recruit more valuable in football or basketball?
Now that’s a thinker. Because there are lots of aspects to consider.
At first, you might think the answer is football. The program would get that five-star recruit for at least three years, but maybe up to four or even five years. Whereas, in basketball, you’d be lucky to keep a five-star, NBA-bound recruit for more than one or maybe two years.
More time means more impact, which means more value. Right?
Well … then you consider how much one human being can influence a basketball team, compared with that influence in football. A basketball coach plays five guys at a time and, usually, runs a rotation of anywhere from eight to 10 players on a roster of 15 or so. In football, a coach plays 22 guys at a time (counting offense and defense) and, depending on how deep the position groups are, could run a rotation of 20 more guys per side on a roster of around 120. That’s not even counting special teams, by the way.
So, fewer players in basketball means more potential for impact, which means more value. Right?
Is your head spinning yet?
I’d probably lean toward five-stars having more value in basketball. Yes, the kid might be a one-and-done. But the hope is he’d make that one season so good that you’d have shots at the next one-and-done, or at least at other high-profile targets, in the future.
Plus, we’ve seen countless examples of one basketball player leading a team to great heights. (Some NBA dude named LeBron James comes to mind.) The right five-star, one-and-done prospect could lead your team to deep run in March.
With that said, coaches would obviously want the talent they’ve worked so hard to recruit to stick around for more than one year. That’s why the best recruits to land might be those five-star, high-four-star guys that don’t project as immediate NBA Draft prospects. Guys who need a couple years.
D.J. Carton comes to mind. The Ohio State signee from Bettendorf is no doubt a five-star point guard, but he’s also a guy who will likely play two or three years in college before going pro.
Talen Horton-Tucker is another. If I had to guess right now, I’d say the Chicago product will be a two-and-done, like his teammate Lindell Wigginton.
Linn-Mar product Marcus Paige is probably the best recent example. He was a top-30, high-four-star prospect who picked North Carolina over Kansas and plenty others, and he gave the Tar Heels four tremendous seasons. That’s a lot of value.