As Kentucky fans, we know a thing or two about recruiting. Heck, this site was pretty much founded on the question, “Any update on Patterson or Lucas?”. In the John Calipari era especially, we’ve become accustomed to the ebbs and flows of the recruiting process and the toll it can take on the psyche. Terrence Jones, Shabazz Muhammad, Andrew Wiggins, and Jamal Murray come to mind when thinking of the biggest recruiting dramas of the Calipari era, and as we continue to wait on Marques Bolden’s decision, I’ve noticed a familiar pattern unfolding…
Here are the twelve stages of the recruiting process for fans.
When the recruit gets an offer from Kentucky…
1. Discovery ðŸ¤”
Basketball recruiting has become infinitely easier to cover since Calipari came to town. Not only does he only offer twenty or so guys per class, he generally gets who he wants, making it extremely easy as fans to keep up. The early stages of the process are simple: check the player’s rankings, judge whether or not he looks like a “Duke kid,” watch a few videos, and forget about it for a while.
If the recruitment drags out…
2. Obsession ðŸ˜¬
Generally, the bigger the recruit and the longer their recruitment, the more we obsess. We’ve all been there. The F5 key gets a workout, you visit KSR and message boards an unhealthy amount, and you cling to every bit of scoop you can find, even if it means shushing your significant other or coworkers during KSR. Some people even tweet the player begging them to come to Kentucky, which reminds me: NEVER TWEET A PLAYER.
…Unless you know him or you’re a very attractive female around his age, and even then, that’s still strange. Don’t do it!
3. Bargaining ðŸ™
The stage is most common around the time current players make their NBA decisions.
If so-and-so goes to the NBA, then he will definitely come, right?
If all the other signees gang up and recruit him, the peer pressure will surely sway him, right?
What if one guy threatens to break his legs? THEN he’ll come!
What if I tweet him??
NO! NEVER TWEET A RECRUIT!
4. Anger ðŸ˜¡
Why hasn’t he decided yet?? Why is it taking so long?? What is he, a DIVA?!
If one were to make an equation for recruitment process, the length of time a recruitment takes would correspond directly to the amount of rational thought left in a fan’s brain. The longer the recruitment, the less logic left.
Again, best to refrain from tweeting during this phase.
5. Indifference ðŸ’ðŸ»
At some point, you get so exhausted with the recruitment that you just stop caring for a while. This is the stage I’m at with Marques Bolden right now. I still think he’d be a great addition to the squad and want him to pick Kentucky over Duke, but emotionally am over it.
When the announcement date is set…
6. Obsession ðŸ˜¬
The announcement date is finally set, throwing your emotions back into the vicious cycle. In the days leading up until the announcement, you frantically search for every bit of scoop you can find. Your mood shifts with the 247 Sports Crystal Ball, boosting with each UK pick and plummeting with each flip to another school. When your wife asks you why you’re in such a bad mood, you tell her to blame Jerry Meyer.
7. Fixation ðŸ‘€
Finally, the moment is here! Your coworkers pick up on your anxiety and steer clear. You’ve got the live stream of the announcement pulled up along with KSR’s live diary, and all you can think about are the hats on the table.
Why is the Kentucky one on the right? Why is the brim of the Duke one straight and the rest bent? Oh God, is he wearing a red tie?!
8. Panic ðŸ˜±
Crap, he’s wearing a red tie. He’s definitely picking Kansas.
If the kid picks Kentucky…
9. Happiness ðŸ˜ƒ
The surge of joy when a big recruit picks Kentucky is like the ultimate sugar high. Common side affects include tweeting with way too many exclamation marks!!!!!!!!, reaction GIFs, and probably (and falsely) bragging that you were confident all along, you knew Calipari had this in the bag. He’s John Vincent Calipari, after all. Landing recruits and listening to Train, it’s what he does.
If you’re really excited, you’ll probably find a way to work in a shot at Rick Pitino and Louisville. Game, blouses.
If the kid doesn’t pick Kentucky…
10. Shock ðŸ˜³
It’s always a surprise when a recruit doesn’t pick Kentucky these days because, well, why would you not pick Kentucky?! Wait, maybe he’s pulling a prank or misspoke…
(I still hurt for Carlton Bragg. How embarrassing.)
That jolt of shock quickly morphs into a brief period of…
11. Depression ðŸ˜ž
This phase lasts maybe ten seconds, longer if you really liked the kid and torture yourself by sitting through the rest of the press conference to see what he had to say about Kentucky and Cal.
12. Acceptance ðŸ’ðŸ»
With the number of misses in the 2015 class, this is a stage we became pros at last year.
Well, enjoy never being on national television, buddy.
We’ll be fine, just look at the rest of the roster.
Probably would have made for a crowded backcourt in the long run.
Didn’t want him anyways.
(…Even if you kind of did, but you would never admit it.)