Hats have a special place in basketball. The first thing a high school recruit does after announcing his college of choice is put his new school’s cap, and likewise, the first thing college players do when drafted is don their new team’s colors. Hats have become such an integral part of the college recruiting process that media and fans like to guess which school a recruit will choose by where the hat is placed on the table at the announcement. In recent years, the “hat trick” has been a popular trick for prospects to play, drawing out their announcement by faking a reach towards one school’s hat and switching to their true choice’s at the last minute (remember Terrence Jones?). And while that’s all fun and games, if a little bit melodramatic, Georgetown commit LJ Peak may have taken it a little too far.
As you can see in the video above, Peak and his buddy Shaq Davidson (a highly touted football recruit) stood up in front of a pro-Gamecock crowd in Gaffney, South Carolina and pulled on South Carolina hats to raucous applause. Except Peak threw his to the ground after a moment and pulled out a Georgetown hat. Awwwkward.
According to the Greenville News, the ruse was surprise even to Davidson, as the two had talked about going to school together for years:
“We talked about it, but I didn’t think he would go through with it,” said Davidson, who appeared to be shocked as Peak discarded the cap. “Everybody was cheering and then…”
I’m all for letting these kids have their moment, but did Peak go too far? At what point does a trick just become cruel?