Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kendrick to Memphis

How does this happen?

Do the great schools have superior coaching and tradition; the poor ones, playing time to offer; and the rest, pretty girls and money?

I guess we have to add Memphis to the list of teams that can swoop into Georgia and pick off our state's top basketball recruits.

The thing that concerns me is that Memphis has a first-year coach. To my knowledge, Josh Pastner has no previous head coaching experience, and would not seem to have a particular draw to Memphis, other than the fact that he says he will continue to run Calipari's dribble-drive offense.

One would think that Memphis would have been devastated after Coach Calipari left and took with him all of the high-level recruits from the Memphis 2009 class. Not so. I doubt they will be a top twenty team this year, but the future is definitely bright. Memphis has the #2-rated basketball recruiting class for 2010. Somehow they have successfully bagged the country's #8, #11 and #12-ranked players.

Memphis Stars in Basketball Recruiting

It was curious to me that Kendrick, who hadn't shared much about his recruitment, other than the fact that he would likely wait until the spring to commit, announced his decision for Memphis just a short while after the early signing period began. I'd be tempted to link Pastner to Calipari's previous questionable recruiting methods, but that would be pure speculation, unfair to Pastner, and it certainly does not answer the question on why other schools also are more attractive to Georgia recruits.

Well, I had hoped that UGA's days of missing out on key recruits from the state of Georgia would have ended quickly with the Mark Fox hiring. We can end it at some point, but it certainly will not be in the immediate future.

I don't think it would be helpful to the process to list the guys going elsewhere, but suffice it to say that there are 7 guys in the Rivals 150 from the state of Georgia, at least 3 others who were in Georgia but played at a prep school or another school out of state, and 2 or 3 more that we had a real good shot at getting based on relationships-- and we didn't get any of them.

What to do? Don't panic. Kendrick and a couple of the others would have helped, but Fox is not in an emergency situation.

If the 2009 and 2010 classes haven't gotten any of the coveted in-state recruits, Fox and his staff need to rebound by bagging some of the 2010 out-of-state guys. Signing those players will not strengthen our relationship with in-state high school and AAU coaches, but let's bring in the players we can. Add a slasher and a shooter to Cady Lalanne, mix them in with the current roster and we should be in decent shape.

And there are still lots of good 2010 players available. There's time for a surprise or two, or we can take a chance on a prep school guy or a Juco, or even find a late bloomer.

Further, we can always save the scholarships and work hard on future classes. Maybe some of the 2011 or even 2012 guys will commit early and give us a boost. In the meantime, let's go to war with Howard Thompkins, Travis Leslie, Dustin Ware and Jeremy Price, and see how the year turns out.

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