Malik Newman and Diamond Stone confirmed over the weekend that they will indeed be a package deal in the 2015 basketball recruiting class. Stone, the No. 1 center in the class, told Scout.com’s Evan Daniels he and Newman, the No. 1 point guard, will sign with the same school.
“We are still trying to figure out what school we are going to,” he told Daniels, verifying they are “definitely” a package deal.
The package deal is becoming a common theme every year in basketball recruiting, however it rarely pans out in the end. So many times we’ve heard the package deal speak and so many times the pieces separated on signing day.
But some deals survive the process and go on to join each other in college. Tonight we’ll look at some of the notable package deals over the years in basketball, beginning with the most recent, Duke’s Okafor and Jones:
Okafor and Jones announced at the same time, 400 miles apart, at their high schools back in November. The two had been saying they would play together in college since early in their recruitments. They chose Duke over Kansas and Baylor one month after visiting Duke together. The duo gave the Blue Devils the No. 1 recruiting class for the first time since John Calipari landed in Lexington.
The most obvious package deal, Aaron and Andrew Harrison helped give UK one of the best recruiting classes in history. There was never a doubt they would play together in college because, ya know, they’re brothers and come from the same egg and all that stuff. They do everything together.
AND THEY’RE COMING BACK!!!
Before leading Ohio State to the 2007 NCAA title game as freshmen, Greg Oden and Mike Conley played together in high school in Indiana, which was completely unfair to all of the other high schools in Indiana. After committing to Ohio State together in the summer of 2005, their Lawrence North High School games were televised on ESPN and they won a third consecutive state championship in 2006, their senior year.
Many Kentucky fans remember Quincy Miller because he was high on UK’s priority list in the class of 2011 — he took a photo doing the John Wall dance in UK gear — but the Cats lost him to Baylor in the fall of his senior season. Miller made it very clear he wanted to play with friend and AAU teammate Deuce Bello, who never got an offer from UK. The two announced together on ESPNU, choosing Baylor over Louisville, Duke and Oklahoma.
One you probably don’t remember is the DeMar Derozan/Romeo Miller package deal of 2007. The Toronto Raptors star said he would only sign with a school that also offered his best friend Romeo Miller, better known as young rapper Lil’ Romeo, the son of Master P. Lil’ Romeo was unranked by recruiting services but USC took him in anyway to land Derozan, the top-ranked shooting guard in the class.
From the most famous recruiting class in the history of the game, Jalen Rose and Chris Webber committed to Michigan months apart but were secretly a package deal. Rose said on the Fab Five documentary two decades later that he and C-Webb knew they would play together since the eighth grade. Times change, though, and they don’t speak to each other today. Rose recently said Webber’s relationship with the other four members of the Fab Five is still broken.
Package deals can also come in the form of a player and coach, and Kansas is one of the best at pulling that legal recruiting move. Bill Self hired Ronnie Chalmers, the father of Mario Chalmers, to be the Director of Basketball Operations at Kansas in 2005, the same season Mario joined the team as a freshman. The elder Chalmers resigned from his position to “pursue other interests” in 2008, the same year his son left Kansas for the NBA.
Larry Brown pulled the same move at Kansas in 1985 when he hired Ed Manning, the father of Danny Manning, as an assistant coach.
Package deals can also be found in coaching, most notably our own lifelong duo here in Lexington, John Calipari and John Robic. Coach Cal and Coach Robes have been together for a total of 17 years at UMass, Memphis and Kentucky. When Robic signed a new deal at UK earlier this month, Calipari said, “He’s been a loyal friend who has helped me build three different programs. He’s as good as they get.”
And last and certainly least, you won’t find Matt Jones at a Kentucky Sports Radio remote show without Ryan Lemond. Yes, I will occasionally fill in for Ryan when he’s busy boosting his T-levels or studying politics, but Matt and Ryan have become the most popular duo in radio in Kentucky. Want KSR to broadcast from your spot? These guys are a package deal.