Hat-tip to Brandon George of the DMN for pointing me towards this excellent article from the Fayetteville Observer regarding the number one recruit basketball in the nation, John Wall. It just so happens that Scott Drew, head coach for the Baylor Bears hired Dwon Clifton as the Director of Player Development, who just happened to be head coach of the D-One Sports Basketball 17 travel team, who just happened to have John Wall on his team.
The article details a number of examples of hiring coaches, coincidence or not, that in turn sometimes leads to programs landing the best recruits in the nation:
So, if Wall winds up at Baylor thanks in part to his connection to Clifton, it won’t be the first time such a two-for-one package has materialized.
Last April, Kansas won its third national title after Mario Chalmers hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the championship game to force overtime with Memphis. The Jayhawks eventually won 75-68, Chalmers was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, and he was left to celebrate that night with Kansas’ director of basketball operations: his dad, Ronnie Chalmers, who was hired in June 2005, a little more than a year after Mario’s commitment. (Ronnie Chalmers resigned that position in August, just six weeks after Mario was selected in the NBA Draft.)
Also on the Kansas bench was former Jayhawks star Danny Manning, who’d won his own national title 20 years earlier. As a teenage recruit, Manning was long projected to play his college ball at North Carolina. But he wound up at Kansas after his father, Ed, a former pro player, was hired by Larry Brown to become an assistant coach with the Jayhawks just before Danny’s senior year of high school.
Michael Beasley, last winter’s marquee freshman, spent his lone college season putting up remarkable statistics at Kansas State. Beasley, of course, only wound up playing for the Wildcats after they hired Dalonte Hill, who had previously been a coach for the same D.C. Assault AAU program for which Beasley played.
(Before arriving at Kansas State, Hill had spent three years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Charlotte, which had prompted Beasley to make an oral commitment to the 49ers. But former Kansas State coach Bob Huggins lured Hill away for what has been reported as an annual salary of more than $400,000. Beasley later followed.)
I'm not going to throw stones here, however, I think if there was one program and one coach that absolutely did not break any rules recruiting, it's Bobby Knight, Pat Knight and the various assistant coaches that RMK hired. Bob Knight may have been a S.O.B., but he didn't so much as bend the rules when it came to recruiting. In fact, take a look at the assistant coaches that Pat Knight has under his wing: Chris Beard, Bubba Jennings and Stew Robinson. All of them are basketball-lifers.
Texas Tech is in a bad way right now, they could stand some upgrade in talent, but if you're Pat Knight, is this something that you do? Keep in mind, Christmas would probably not be very fun, but if you know that it's not against the rules and the opportunity is much like Wall's and Clifton's do you do the same thing, or do you do it the way your father taught you?