Last week the West Coast saw three top-75 recruits commit to schools not named Pac-12 schools. Per Scout ratings, #23 Kameron Chatman of Oregon/LA is headed to Michigan; #60 Namon Wright of Los Angeles is off to BF-Missouri; and #71 Trey Kell of San Diego is staying home at SDSU.
Additionally, Shaq Aaron of Seattle (Scout’s #32 prospect) isn’t staying in Seattle. He’s off to Louisville, following the same path as Peyton Siva who saw great success in the Bluegrass State (ring). Josh Perkins (#25) had already bolted the West (from Colorado to prep school in West Virginia) and will return but not to a Pac school. He’ll be a Zag.
Horace Greeley most certainly did not encourage any young men to “go east.”
This is unsettling news despite what appears to be a reinvigorated Pac-12, poised to have its best season since before the great recession. But gone they are and while this isn’t about to undermine this 2013-14 campaign, I did notice another preseason list (gotta love those) that this perhaps does undermine. Or at least plays a significant role in:
NBC’s College Basketball Talk cranked out their national list of coaches needing to fill the left column to keep their university paychecks. Four of the listed ten are Pac-12 coaches. Is there a correlation between losing backyard talent and your job? Me thinks, YES.
As it were, in a piece I worked on that might never make the interwebs because it’s become a 2500+ word blob, I found that UW has had their most success with nearby, if not in-city, talent. 77% of their draft picks since 2002 have been locals (or damn close to it as Terrence Ross was from Portland). Easy pickins for Mr. Romar, representing a sustainable and mirrorable model. And sure, not every city is pumping out McDonald’s All-American’s like SeaTown, but you can’t tell me it’s easier for Ken Bone to get a kid to Pullman from New York than it is to get a similar talent from the Bay Area.
The toasty chairs of Johnny Dawkins, Craig Robinson, Herb Sendek, and Bone extend beyond the recruiting but I can’t help but see some parallels to these talent escapes and their job security.
Herb’s best season at ASU was guided by James Harden (LA), Jeff Pendergraph (LA), and Derek Glasser (LA). He is now finding himself in his second straight season with a patchwork lineup of little continuity. Jahii Carson is a lovely local piece, building upon it would be the the next step. Is that going to happen with another grad transfer?
And it’s certainly not a matter of losing bluechippers. Their recruitment often takes a national tone and the idea of staying at home can be a trump card, but it’s not reprehensible to lose out in some of those occasions. The kind of talent that builds quality rosters in Pullman, Corvallis, and the like is precisely not that kid. He’s not $ingning. Rather it’s the players in that 50-100 range – the precise ones bolting right now – that can help in getting over the hump (read: dancing).
Is it easy to snatch these players up? Hell no! But if they’re already on the West Coast, the scales are already tipped in your favor. Take a look at these coaches’ rosters as they are. They’re littered with kids from the area. Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re talented. And the kids who left would seem to be the types that could help a roster.
I guess I’m really just trying to be a proponent of keeping things simple. Ever dated long distance? I have and it sucks. I’d rather have the girl next door because the long distance thing eventually burns out.
And it just might be burning out for a few Pac-12 coaches.