Is it over yet?
You know, this time of year when basketball recruiting analysts make their living, when on-the-court news trickles slower than a Randolph Morris fast break but recruiting websites have to update anyway.
A lot goes on this season in recruiting. Just last night, Terrence Jones chose UK. His name was a trending topic on Twitter. Jones-related traffic even crashed this website. And clearly, Jones loves the attention. Last night was the second of his two press conferences to announce a school. And if he’s worthy of the attention, good for him.
But how much more can recruiting coverage grow before it blows up?
Full disclosure: I’ve never been into the whole “recruiting” scene. But since I cover basketball, I pay attention. The past two offseasons (if you can say that anymore), UK’s recruiting profile has multiplied exponentially. So has the local recruiting coverage, and so has the common fan’s ability to keep up with who’s coming in.
That much I like. A journalist’s job is to inform the public. No matter what you’re covering, that’s what has to get done. But readers shouldn’t take it upon themselves to over-inform everybody they know by way of all-caps Facebook statuses and frantic, typo-laden text messages.
It’s when these fans pass judgments on players they’ve only read about and seen clips of on YouTube. That makes me scratch my head.
How many North Carolina fans have seen a full game – and All Star games don’t count – that Iowa nativa Harrison Barnes has played? How about Kentucky fans with Jones, from Portland?
Based on all the information that’s out there, it’s easy to make judgments about some of these players. If tape is available to coaches and sometimes even to the public of every game – just because of the newfound demand – that’s great.
But I fear at some point, there will be casualties of the cycle.
Suppose a player can really light it up at times, but he lacks to bring it consistently. But if the good clips make it to YouTube and the bad to the Recycle Bin, Internet-faring fans don’t know they should have reason to be concerned.
On YouTube, every player is good for 30 points a game.
Like many fans, this is the first clip I saw of Darnell Dodson.
Impressed? You bet. Did I start to think about how he, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins could all score their 25 points every night out? A little bit, maybe.
And at times, he looked like that this past season at Kentucky. But far more often, he looked lost. His 6.0 points per game in 2009-10 didn’t feel like six points; they felt like 20 one night, zero the next.
Surprising to the YouTube savant, I’m sure.
Maybe each member of UK’s class this year will come right in and match the message board expectations. Some newcomers will raise the bar, too, like Wall and Cousins did even considering the enormous hype surrounding them.
But if a UK newcomer – or a Louisville or Tennessee newcomer, let’s be fair – doesn’t put up EA Sports numbers and SportsCenter highlights on Day One, it’s not his fault. So wait to pass judgment. A player’s whatever-star recruiting rank means nothing once he’s on campus, nor do his prolific high school stats or voluminous number of Twitter followers.
I’m ready for basketball so I can see these men play, wherever it is they play in the fall.
Is this part over yet?
Follow me on Twitter, @pennington_jl.