While most fans and media members crave the craziness that is summer AAU basketball and all of the major recruiting events across the nation each year, Kentucky head coach John Calipari does not fall in that boat.
After news of the Nike EYBL, adidas 3SSB, and Under Armour circuits canceling their respective spring and summer recruiting events, Calipari – arguably the greatest recruiter in college basketball – noted that his hands are tied a bit on the recruiting trail for the time being. As directed by the NCAA, all recruiting in the coming weeks will now take place remotely.
“We’re not allowed to recruit off campus, no face-to-face, can’t have anybody visit, can only make phone calls, Skypes, that sort of thing,” the Kentucky head coach said on his weekly call-in radio show Monday evening.
Even considering the hurdle, Calipari is not terribly upset that he won’t be participating in the summer chaos.
In fact, if it were up to him, live recruiting periods would only take place during high school basketball season.
“If this goes through July, we might not be able to travel in July,” he said. “Which, I’m being honest with everyone that listens, since my time at UMass, I didn’t think we should be able to recruit in the summer. Everyone will say, “Well, you’re at Kentucky. That’s why you’d say that.” … But I think we get it back to the high schools, back with the high school coaches, and a lot of the issues we’re dealing with go away.”
Worst case scenario? Prospects are “regionally recruited” and they might not be able to see as many prospects as usual. But even if that occurs, the newest NCAA transfer rule would allow recruits to transfer without restriction the next year anyway. If recruits don’t like their original choice, they will have the opportunity to head elsewhere.
“Kids would be more regionally recruited. Is that all bad?” Calipari asked. “There are kids we’d miss, but you know what they just changed? Go to a school for a year and transfer. You don’t even have to sit out anymore, what’s the problem there? I mean, that’s where we’re moving.”
Calipari added there are two key reasons why he’s not the biggest fan of summer recruiting. The first? Cost. The next? Relationships.
Not only does it cost a “stupid” amount of money to recruit during the summer, you also don’t get to develop the same relationships with recruits and families going to multiple recruiting events each day.
“The money we spend in the summer is stupid,” Calipari said. “I need to be in three, four different cities at one time? Because if they don’t see me, it means, “I don’t care” because that’s what the other coaches will tell them. “Well he didn’t really want you, he wanted someone else.” So I’m visiting three to four cities each day, and I’m doing the presidential wave. I look like the queen. I’m in the corner waving, I get in the car or the plane. It’s stupid. It’s asinine. I’ve been saying for years, why are we doing this in the summer? Again, no one listens to me.”