Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hoops Recruiting

Alade Aminu's little bro - Al Forouq - has made his choice. The #1 SF in the nation has chosen.................. Wake Forest................... over GT and UNC. So at the end of the day, playing with Tony Woods, a big-time center who also committed on the same day, was more important than playing in-state with his bro.

So what will the reaction be? Are you going to be a "Coach Hewitt is losing it on the recruiting trial" person?.................... Are you going to be a "Who cares - he is a one-and-done player and we don't need any more of them" person?

My take - it IS a big miss when one of the top players in the nation, who is in-state, whose brother plays at your school, choses to play out-of-state but in your conference. The fact that Coach Hewitt has not been able to parlay his top recruits into any semblance of on-the-court elite success is a separate issue............ #1 - You have to get the horses to be successful.......... #2 - you hope to keep them in your program for at least 2 years to have any continuity............ #3 - you have develop a playing strategy that takes advantage of that talent.

Is not getting AF Aminu a big deal? Yeah it is. Is it the end of the world? Absolutely NOT. Wing players typically do not have a huge impact by themselves unless there is an experienced, talented supporting cast around them. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the key piece is the Point Guard. Losing Javaris Crittenton as a one-and-done will set us back a lot more than Thaddeus Young. Guess what - AF Aminu is a VERY likely one-and-done guy. Losing him isn't going to impact Coach Hewitt's ability to be successful - even though it is incredibly disappointing.

My key focus continues to be how to recruit and develop a PG that you can develop in a program........... Why weren't we successful with Chris Bosh for one season?.......... Jarrett Jack as a freshman.......... Why weren't we successful with Thaddeus Young for one season?........J.Crittenton as a freshman............ Why did we go to the National Championship Game without ANY high profile 3/4/5 position players in 2004? An experienced Jarrett Jack at PG and a great above average supporting cast that played well together.

This is why I am bullish on Mo Miller. He is a guy that can develop as a successful PG but does not have the physical size (a la Javaris) that attracts NBA scouts. I'll say it again - if Javaris Crittenton is 6'1" - he's still at Georgia Tech - period, end of sentence. Heck, he's probably still here if he's 6'2".

Coach Hewitt loves big PG's. So does the NBA.......... UNC takes Ty Lawson - and he's back for another season............ Tech takes Javaris - and he's gone............. 3-5" is the only real difference here. Trust me - if Ty Lawson is 6'5" - he's a 1st round pick and he's gone. Ty Lawson had a better season as a PG than JC did.

So is the perfect PG recruiting strategy to take the very best PG that is no taller than 6'1"? It goes against Coach Hewitt's philosophy, but how do you develop AND keep big talented PG's? How do you do it? I just don't know - and you NEED an experienced PG to really be successful. The NBA only gets more confirmation of the value of big PG's with Deron Williams, Jason Kidd and others.

At the end of the day, we all should wish AF Aminu all the best at Wake - except of course against Tech. Now Coach Hewitt will surely turn up the attention on the next guys on the list. Tech will be fine, although it is entirely possible that Coach Hewitt misses out on ALL his top targets in this recruiting class. We are still strong with a lot of elite players, but there are many ways the domino's could fall.

The sky is not falling I say. Worry more about how Coach Hewitt can win more games than how many blue-chippers he can bring in. His success so far has almost been inversely proportional to the number of blue-chippers on the roster. Food for thought.