View Full Version : The art of recruiting

05-16-2007, 05:45 PM
I have often said recruiting is a very fluid process. Some of you have a hard time understanding this. I will attempt to explain, knowing full well that some will still not understand. But, sigh, I shall try...

Last year there were a handful of 2008 recruits listing GU. Most could be eliminated with a little common sense, ie, not good enough, an LA stud in UCLA's backyard, etc. But a few made sense. Some were borderline.

One thing I've learned over the years is to not get too attached to any recruit. Why? The coaches might evaluate him and conclude the kid just isn't quite good enough or just isn't a good fit. This could take six months to a year with a borderline kid. Watch, evaluate, watch some more, evaluate some more, get a second opinion, a third opinion, all amongst the staff.

Then, as new recruits pop up onto the radar, it starts to get more complicated. The bar is raised for the previous recruits. If they can't measure up and show the coaches that they can step up, well, sorry but the staff moves on.

The 2008 PG has been the most interesting to me.

It started with Jerime Anderson, Malcolm Lee and Larry Drew, Jr. By what was written and from my sources, I concluded Jerime was at the top of the wish list. He looked darn good. And he was. UCLA jumped on him and that was all she wrote. That left Lee and Drew, both very good. UCLA jumped on Lee and got him to go with Jerime. Drew made it fairly clear that he was going BCS and, sure enough, will choose soon between UNC and Arizona.

With those three off the table, that left Jordan Theodore, Brad Tinsley and not much else. But as the months went by, other names started to appear. More evaluation took place.

Neither Scout nor Rivals has mentioned Jordan Theodore this spring. Not one thumbnail evaluation, not one update, nothing, all spring long through multiple tournaments. Since I correspond with Rivals' Jerry Meyer, I asked him why not. It became clear JT was not only playing very poorly but also possibly regressing.

This is evaluation time. It's when the cream rises to the top, when the wannabes are exposed, and every recruit out there knows he has to play his best if he wants to catch coaches' eyes. Sometimes a kid's best isn't good enough for top programs.

So I have not mentioned JT for a long time, long before he dropped 35 spots in Rivals' rankings. It is my understanding he will not be offered by Memphis, Marquette or any of his top choices if he doesn't turn his game around.

But I'll continue to report any news I hear about him. Trouble is, there hasn't been any news. He plays in the Arizona Cactus Classic soon. I have a request in for a report on JT from that tourney. We'll all see what's up, hopefully.

As for Tinsley, personally, I like that kid's toughness. I was very unimpressed last summer at a GU team camp, but it must've been an off game. But the entire staff has evaluated Tinsley for a year, dozens of times, same as Tony Bennett and his WSU staff, and yet no offers from either school. Why is that, you suppose? Are two of the brightest young coaches in the country blowing it? That tells me something. Both Few and Bennett are not stupid, and each coach is trying to get the best possible recruit they can. Hmmm.

So the 2008 PG saga continues. A myriad of things could happen, including Theodore picking up his game and a change of mind towards Tinsley. Nothing is impossible.

The emergence of Rotnei Clarke has changed the dynamics. As I said before, he sounds a lot like Dan Dickau, right down to his strong Christianity. Clarke is receiving raves. Gonzaga and its fans can't be afraid of lots of other schools getting in on a kid. If Few likes a kid in a small town in Oklahoma enough to go visit him, I know who Gonzaga wants. The same thing happened with Bouldin, and we got him. Daye is top-30 from Orange County but we got him. I never heard of Steven Gray until he committed; UW fans on Dawgman were laughing at GU for taking such a no-name kid like Gray. I remember a thread that was 7 pages long over there, dissing Gray and claiming their superiority with the likes of Phil Nelson, Harvey Perry, Justin Holiday and I. Thomas. It would appear Few knew what he was doing after all.

I never heard of Clarke until recently and I like what I've read and what I see in the video clips, and what I'm hearing from recruiting sources.

It appears Clarke is a priority for 2008. He has stepped up and improved while many have not. I know I want the kid. He's now #1 on my wish list.

Also, always expect the unexpected from the GU staff. Nobody knew Ronny was coming until Andy Katz reported it in late August. Nobody knew about JP Batista until he signed in April or May. Not many knew about Gray, or GU's chances with Daye (until very late), or that Sacre was committing on a visit that few, if anyone, knew about.

Remember, recruiting is fluid. It ebbs and flows. We do our best to stay on top of it, but sometimes it's a little like trying to ride a bucking bronco.

And expect the unexpected, guys. :) You'll like it.

05-16-2007, 06:11 PM
Thanks, BZ!

05-16-2007, 06:54 PM

05-16-2007, 07:38 PM
BZ, I appreciate the effort you put into the post, as well as your thought process. I appreciate this kind of a response to my question to you about why you've changed your opinion on Theodore, a whole lot better than, "I have my reasons." I like your ending especially, "expect the unexpected." I've never paid much attention to the recruiting process GU goes through before last summer when I joined this Board. I think it's fun and a very good hobby to research players during the off season.

There has been some things written on Theodore in mid April. There was even an interview with him too on Scout. Rivals has him rated the 14 best PG in the country, so I don't see where he's gone backwards all that much. I guess the concern is with his outside shot. They do site his defense and his quickness as strengths. Plus he seems to be the General on one of the better AAU teams back East. Scout has him rated as the 19th best PG. When I read interviews with him I see a young man who wants to learn....and I think that's a great quality. I think he knows he's got a lot to learn. Hopefully, he'll chose to learn from one of the best in the country....

Rivals does have R. Clarke rated ahead of Theodore. Clarke is 11th. Clarke does sound like a great fit for GU, as you say. I think the only problem is going to be his interest in GU. I just don't see that much right now. Sorry.

And regarding Tinsley. I guess he just recently had a great game against DeMar DeRozen's team (DeRozen is supposed to be USC's next stud).
Tinsley's team won in double overtime, and Tinsley made a 3 pt play at the end to win it. Tinsley had 25 and DeRozen 32. DeRozen is the #3 shooting guard in the country and Tinsley arond 30. I'd say Tinsley held his own, and won the game. I think Tinsley's toughness and desire to win are great strengths.

I ran across an '09 recruit that Gonzaga's spending some time looking at. His name is Victor Rudd. He's 6'8" and still thin. It sounds he has pretty good interest in GU right now too. I like the fact that he's in the '09 class because we'll be losing Downs and Brown that year and are looking at high scoring wings. Is he on your radar Bob?

05-16-2007, 08:04 PM
I consider recruting an art AND a science. And given the egg-chicken portion of the equation, I would rather be lucky than scientific or artistic.

My favorite definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Here's to the best of luck for our program.

05-16-2007, 08:39 PM
Thanks BobZag. BTW, the complete rosters are out for the teams this weekend at the AZ Cactus Classic, you can find them at here (http://www.azcactusclassic.com/pdf/azcc07_officialprogram.pdf).

05-16-2007, 09:09 PM
The problem with recruiting is all us little people on the internet only get to see about 10% of the ice-berg (granted, some people, like you for example, BZ, get to see a more informative 10% than many of us) and we have to make judgements and form opinions based on that small sample of info. Add that to the fluid nature of recruiting...

I (and I'm sure many others) appreciate the insight. I'm sure something will work out with the PG situation. We're just all on pins and needles (relatively speaking) until it does.

05-17-2007, 12:00 AM
So is the Chambers kid from Utah on the radar? Is PMAC the threshold by which point guard recruits should be compared? Or is it so fluid, that you can't use a measure stick like that?

05-17-2007, 06:18 AM
Thanks BZ.....

The information you provide is much appreciated.

05-17-2007, 08:07 AM
Thanks Bob. You're the best.:D

05-17-2007, 09:31 AM
2009 6'8" Victor Rudd is very high on the list. He'll be tough to get, right in Howland's and Floyd's backyard, but GU really likes the kid and will try hard for him.

Tyler Haws, Adbul Gaddy, Avery Bradley, Jordan Morgan, Victor Rudd... Those are the names now. How much anyone wanna bet the names change dramatically by this time next year? You know they will.

But to the best of my knowledge, for 2008, it looks like Clarke is #1. Few only has 2-3 scholies to give, so 1) Poling, 2) Clarke... Like I said, though, expect the unexpected with 3)....... (Assuming we get Rotnei)

05-17-2007, 11:40 AM
Great post BobZag. I never really pay much attention to the recruiting process and I found your post to be informative. There was one point you didn't cover. Don't schools also recruit to fill a specific need? The point in case is WSU. I was told Bennett only had 2 scholarships available for the coming year. If I'm not mistaken Theodore is a guard. If Bennett is satisfied that he is deep enough at the guard position, why recruit another guard? Bennett's immediate need seems to be a replacement for Ivory Clark. But once again, great post. Thanks

05-17-2007, 12:12 PM
Jordan Theodore doesn't graduate until next year. WSU will need some guards in 08-09.

05-17-2007, 12:23 PM
If Bennett is satisfied that he is deep enough at the guard position, why recruit another guard?The way I imagine it, a coach will consider needs at positions and create priorities, but will also always be willing to put those pre-conceived ideas aside when a "can't miss" prospect comes on the radar. If you have no scholarships and one point guard, get a point guard--unless Greg Oden lists you as a top school.

With apologies to 79 who thinks Oden's no good. Substitue Durant for Oden, in your case.:D

05-17-2007, 12:41 PM
Hey Bob,
Does the staff have any interest in Devoe Joseph, the top returning pg in Canada? His cousins are Mojo and Kris who just committed to Syracuse.

Devoe led his AAU team, Grassroots Canada to two recent surprise tourney championships and the team is now top five, the highest ranking ever for a canadian AAU team. He's ranked top 100 by rivals and scout. I believe he's played juniors with Sacre, but not sure.

05-17-2007, 01:45 PM
Great post BobZag. I never really pay much attention to the recruiting process and I found your post to be informative. There was one point you didn't cover. Don't schools also recruit to fill a specific need? The point in case is WSU. I was told Bennett only had 2 scholarships available for the coming year. If I'm not mistaken Theodore is a guard. If Bennett is satisfied that he is deep enough at the guard position, why recruit another guard? Bennett's immediate need seems to be a replacement for Ivory Clark. But once again, great post. Thanks

Tinsley will come in as a frosh when Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver leave. Tinsley would basically replace Low. But not if Tony doesn't think he's good enough.

05-17-2007, 04:41 PM
and, um about Devoe Joseph?

05-17-2007, 05:12 PM
and, um about Devoe Joseph?

Yeah, I had to run off to dinner with some people. I haven't seen him mention Gonzaga in any article, which tells me if there is any sort of interest it isn't mutual. I'm thinking a recruit like Devoe will be sought after in the 2009 class.

05-18-2007, 03:46 PM
Yeah, I had to run off to dinner with some people.

wow, i've been relegated to 'some people' status... geesh. ;)

05-18-2007, 04:41 PM
wow, i've been relegated to 'some people' status... geesh. ;)

I am guessing Bob was just being modest about the company he keeps ;)

05-18-2007, 04:54 PM
I am guessing Bob was just being modest about the company he keeps ;)

i can only hope! lol

05-18-2007, 05:36 PM
I am guessing Bob was just being modest about the company he keeps ;)

Yeah, that must be it because I can't even remember who they were now. Hmmmmmm. :p

05-18-2007, 09:09 PM
Whatever it is that makes up the art of recruiting I think that Mark Few and his staff have figured it out. I think that maybe they figured it out years ago along with Monson. They have a way of finding and bringing in recruits that turn out do be great players. Maybe it's all because Mark Few is such a great fisherman, and he really does know how to find 'em and pull 'em in. Lately there seems to be a lot of focus on some of the top recruits in the country and a growing belief that we can attract some of these young guys.

My own feeling is that we can't. We won't land Clarke just as we didn't get Farmar. And on and on. Gonzaga lore is made up of getting guys like Tinsley or Theodore... Or a guy named Stockton, Morrison, Santangelo and Calvary....guys that others hesitate on, or as is the case with many of the recruits, people didn't even know about them. Gonzaga has a long and great history of recruiting under the radar and from states that are not really considered to be basketball meccas: Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Colorado, and yes even Canada. In a recent survey 80% of high school kids interviewed didn't even know where Canada was, and one kid thought it was the sole of his shoe.

Some who appear to have inside "scoop" now say we're not after Tinsley nor Theodore but Clarke....Maybe Roy Williams doesn't need a back up plan but Few had better have one....In the end maybe we'll get the Canadian. I've herd they have a pretty good guard up there someplace.

I don't think we need all that much in 08. We will have 11 guys returning to play for GU in '08, and one recruit who has already committed. I don't see a whole lot of room in '08. We have guys coming back like Pargo, Bouldin, Downs, Brown, Gray, Daye, LG, Heytvelt, Davis, Sacre, Will Foster and Poling. That's a pretty good team right there. Four and maybe five of these guys will be gone in '09, and like BZ says we should recruit in 08 guys we can begin to build on in 09. The question will be. Who can we bring in, in '08 who is not going to play much and maybe not at all. With those 11 guys I listed I don't see too many X-tra minutes...Can we get quality guys in '08 who will accept a very, very limited role and maybe a redshirt in '08. To me that is the main question....It will certainly help in '09 if we can find 3 guys who are quality guys who would be willing to come in in 08 and either redshirt or just accept a limited role on the team. Clarke does not fit that mold. Do you think he's going to beat out Pargo and Bouldin, or even Daye and Gray?