The AAU circuit has drastically changed the landscape of college basketball recruiting. Kids know each other very well in high school now, playing on the same AAU teams and competing against each other at tournaments all throughout the summer. Top 2014 recruits Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor have stated on many occasions that they would like to play in college together. Duke seems to be the favorite to land both of them. Do you guys think these package deals of top recruits wanting to play together is good or bad for the college game?
Personally i dont like it...
But i dont think its bad or good for the game...there will always be power-house teams and kids who want to play together. Im just of the mind-set that you should pick whats right for YOU. I wish these kids all the best luck though.
I mean, it may limit overall parity and make certain power conferences much more top heavy. At the same time, it is really about building a program and that tends to take time. When you think about it, only 10-12 kids at the most are one and done. The only programs that have really been "led" by one and done types to a NCAA Championship would be Syracuse with Melo at the helm (also with a solid group of upperclassmen, plus Gerry Mac) and Kentucky 2012. Even the Fab 5, while having definite success, managed to come up short in both championship game experiences.
Seems like Duke is a definite leader for the services of at least Tyus Jones, which would logically lead one to believe Jahlil Okafor likely ends up there as well. Other schools are of course involved, though in the end I am thinking that Duke gets Tyus, Jahlil and Justise Winslow. Nonetheless, North Carolina has a solid class thus far, as does Ohio State. The interesting thing about these "packages" are that they could lead to some prime show downs between teams with a lot of major NBA prospects.
Jahlil and Tyus are the most well known "package" currently on the table, but I believe that if they do indeed spurn Kentucky for Duke (or Michigan State, who I see as the other likely bidder for their services), their is another intriguing duo who might join forces. Neither has talked at length about it, but Emmanuel Mudiay and Myles Turner are reportedly interested in possibly teaming up. Have heard that Ja'Quan Newton and Isaiah Whitehead are also thinking of teaming up. Plus, another cool one I heard, that is not exactly major but really intriguing from an in-state perspective was UAB trying to get Isaac Haas, William Lee, Riley Norris and Justin Coleman as a package.
I personally think it is fine for the college game. I am guessing it makes practices that much more competitive and it is really all about fit at a program. Greg Oden and Mike Conley, although HS teammates as well, had a pretty nice run in their lone season. I think guys do take into account who they are going to play with, though the coach, style and fit all play major roles. If you are a big, and can possibly play with an elite PG who can either penetrate or feed the post, it has to be very intriguing. In the case of Okafor, I think playing with Tyus would help tremendously, not to mention take pressure off of Tyus as well. Same thing for Emmanuel and Myles.
At the end of the day though, it is still about building a program and having all of the necessary pieces. These teams with the "package players" will be competitive, yet I still do not think they will necessarily take over college basketball. The NCAA Tournament manages to be exciting regardless of what happens and even though Kentucky was fairly dominant in 2012, they were not invincible and things were still interesting. Plus, if a team ever did in fact go undefeated, which I believe none of us really foresee happening, that would be pretty incredible as well. At the very least, you would have to think if a team could go 40-0, those practices would have been out of control.
AAU FRIENDS = PACKAGE DEALS
PACKAGE DEALS = SUPER TEAMS
SUPERTEAMS = MIAMI HEAT RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHhh
The best players have been going to the best schools for a long time now. I don't think playing together for a few years in AAU and then going to the same school for a few years, or less, will greatly change things in college basketball. Coaches will just have to take two pens and two bags full of money instead of one on their recruiting trips.
AAU is changing the basketball landscape and recruiting, negatively. It is big business and it is basically not waiting until the NCAA and just pimping out these kids at a younger age. A lot people still think that playing all these games will help grow and develop the level of skill and performance in basketball. The new thought is that individuals are unable to develop properly during in game situations and need more training and practice to develop fundamentals and truly understand the game. Just saw several tweets yesterday by Fran Fraschilla and Alan Stein about summer development should be 70% skill development and 30% competition. AAU also idolizes young kids at an early age which is also not very beneficial for development. There are obviously some good life lessons and building that happen in a competitive arena but I think we are being too demanding of the youth, ultimately hindering there development.
Top young prospects wanting to play together is bound to be a big plus for the powerhouse colleges and you could imagine the likes of Coach Cal trying to get these type of players as it's almost a single recruiting pitch to get two players.
The players of course have to be complimentary to each other and any recruiting team has to have positions available for those players to fill.
The interesting point could be if a star prospect has a lesser running mate he may want on the team who otherwise a team woul have no real interest in recruiting, has that ever happened?
Or has a college ever given a scholarship to a star prospect's best mate who the player may wish to have at college with him even if the friend does not play sport and just goes as an "academic". It would be interesting to see what the NCAA would say about this but I would guess that a college's academic recruitment process would be well outside their remit.
What I don't get is why not pick a smaller school and package there and help build a program. Brad Stevens is gone now but it would've been cool to see a couple All Americans go there together and build a team. Just my opinion. If you're super talented, prove it and dominate a good league.