Recruiting and Narratives

Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by MadduxFanII, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. MadduxFanII
    Online

    MadduxFanII Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    5,345
    Likes Received:
    110
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings Received:
    +463
    Let us, for a minute, consider the story of Patric Young. When he came out of high school, he was an elite prospect. Not at that Wiggins-Randle-Parker level, but definitely a huge get for the program. A future NBA talent, without a doubt. And Billy has said that Patric could have been a solid first round pick after his freshman year, even playing relatively sparingly as a back-up behind an excellent front-line.

    Fast forward four years. Young might, if things break right for him, end up taken in the second round of the draft. He has become one of the most decorated players in Florida history. He played in the tournament every year, the Elite Eight every year and reached the Final Four once. He won three SEC Championships. Under Billy's tutelage, Pat became a rock solid player, a dominant defensive player and an efficient offensive player. He was relentlessly intelligent on the court. He also became one the most beloved players on campus in UF history, behind, perhaps, only Tebow and the 04's. He's going to graduate and he was Scholar-Athlete of the Year three times. His career has, by any reasonable measure, been remarkably successful.

    Now, you're a high school big man being feverishly recruited by a number of schools, and you're seriously considering Florida. You want to play for an elite coach and you want to win games, so Florida's definitely doing well on that front. On the other hand, while you don't mind going to school, your conception of your future has never included a college degree. You know that you're going to the NBA after two years, maybe even one if things go really well your freshman year. Ever since discovering that you had this insane level of talent you've planned for the day you'll play in the NBA.

    So...doesn't the Patric Young story make you less likely to sign with Florida?

    I've been thinking about this a lot recently in the context of some of our struggles the last couple years with big men. Our insiders think Trey Mourning is going to Georgetown. Now, Devin Robinson is a huge get for us and an excellent player, but we still struck out on just about every "big" we chased this year. That includes losing guys to programs like North Carolina State and USC that can't hold a candle to us.

    Obviously, getting Walker last year ameliorates a lot of that, as has our success in the transfer market (come on down Jon Horford). But there were no bigs in the 2012 class. 2011 had Walter Pitchford, and he's long-since gone.

    I don't mean here to re-hash all of the particular recruiting battles. Each recruit is an individual with a unique set of circumstances, and any individual recruiting "defeat" can probably be explained by a number of different, understandable factors.

    But the larger point I've been pondering is how much the tasks of recruiting and on-court success, which should be closely connected, can sometimes seem miles apart from one another. Again, if you're a big man looking for an NBA career, don't you look at Patric Young and see a strong argument against going to UF? This guy was in your exact position coming out of high school. He was a no-doubt NBA talent. And after four years at Florida, it's an open question as to whether or not he'll even be drafted.

    That's far from the complete story with Young, of course, but you don't really care about the degree or the multiple Elite Eight trips (one good run to the title game would suffice for you) or the adulation of the student body. College is a training ground for you, and while it goes way too far to say you don't care about winning games (because you do, and you definitely want to win a title), your ambitions have been clear for about a decade.

    And I wonder how much this dynamic plays into Billy's thought process when he is, by his own account, "intrigued" by the NBA. Coaches always hate recruiting, of course, but there has to be something almost infuriating about coaching a kid like Patric Young, getting outstanding on-court results out of him, watching as he embodies everything you could hope for in a student-athlete, and then having him used against you on the recruiting front.

    Put simply, I don't know if the college basketball world of 2014 is one that rewards you for developing Patric Youngs. And I don't know how much longer Billy will want to live in a world that doesn't value Patric Youngs.
  2. akaGatorhoops
    Offline

    akaGatorhoops Guest VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    12,335
    Likes Received:
    549
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ratings Received:
    +1,391
    Less likely to sign with Florida? No. As you pointed out, he and his game developed very nicely under Donovan. . . and his college career was tremendously rewarding and successful.

    Less likely to play college ball, and rather opt to go straight into the NBA (if it were allowed)? Yes. College basketball serves to expose how raw and unprepared some of these kids are for big-time basketball. . . much less the NBA. Pat would have been proven not NBA-ready regardless of what school he chose. Players like Pat, and Chris Walker are projected as NBA talents out of high school. . . without any real perspective. College basketball provides that perspective. If a kid wants to cash-in while his value is high . . . well, for some of them, that value may be highest right out of high school. This, of course, does little to develop the player and may serve to ultimately wash out his career. . . but it does provide a big paycheck when teams are willing to write one .... almost sight-unseen.
  3. REM08
    Offline

    REM08 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Messages:
    4,857
    Likes Received:
    194
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Ratings Received:
    +702
    I agree with AKA. Players who come out of high school with rare physical gifts or qualities and lots of "potential" are either exposed or they are validated. This happens whether they go to college (college A or college B) or straight to the D league and then the pros. Young is a good example of how players like him get more benefit of the doubt the younger they are. Someone mentioned in another thread, and I agree, that each year you return some players are chipping away at their draft stock due to what hasn't improved or what isn't going to change. This becomes more apparent over time.

    Had Young developed skills like a perimeter game (handle or shot), the narrative would be quite different - "Look how Donovan can add entire new dimensions to a guy's game..." Fact is that some players are capable of this and some aren't. Donovan helped Young get better at the things he was capable of doing.

    I also think the differences between landing "bigs" and landing guards is a little overblown. I see no reason why a talented, NBA minded, big guy couldn't look at Brad Beal as reassurance if he's worried about how things with Patric panned out. Often you'll hear recruits talk about past players at their position, but not always. Had Beal returned every year, he wouldn't have been a late second round pick. They're just different players.
  4. rserina
    Offline

    rserina VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    27,410
    Likes Received:
    522
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ratings Received:
    +2,112
    I understand what you are saying and don't disagree. Donovan's plan of skills development, body development, and system ball are hardly attractive to most of the hyped travel circuit kids. Some see the benefit of it and think it suits them, others do not.

    And it really is a hard sell for elite post players. First of all, everyone is after them because they are so hard to find. Second, we are incredibly selective about which players we recruit precisely because the sorts of things we run--from 0ur press to our help defense to our spread pick and roll offense with lots of spacing and repeated screens--require a particular kind of athlete. We simply can't make do with any big kid; we need kids who can move, who are cerebral, and who can develop adequate ball skills. So the combination of what we want and who might actually want to play here results in a fairly narrow field from which to pluck bigs. Add to that the fact that we don't give an inordinate number of touches to post players, let alone promise said touches (or even playing time itself) and it doesn't surprise me that we fail to sign the same number of quality bigs that some other programs do. It is also kind of funny that we've had as many bigs make an All-Star game in the last four seasons as Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and Duke combined, but I digress.

    But here is what I have found so impressive: with the exception of one season (2008-09), we have found a way to field competitive post play without the benefit of elite recruits. The only McD bigs we've signed under Donovan were Harvey, Lee, Young, and Walker. Yet Haslem, Bonner, Noah, Horford, Richard, Speights, Macklin, and now DFS have all exceeded the productivity (both at his level and at the next, in some cases) of their more ballyhooed counterparts. That tells me our approach to player development works better than the model others employ of signing the best possible talent regardless of fit, commitment to growth, expected tenure, etc.

    That also leads me to believe guys like Hayes and hopefully Kapita could end up being better contributors to the program over their careers than, say, a Thomas or a Giddens, at least if past results teach us anything.
  5. mdfgator
    Offline

    mdfgator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    303
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,692
    Yup, there are rankings then there is reality, I wish more people grasped this simple concept
  6. tampajack1
    Offline

    tampajack1 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,973
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings Received:
    +439
    I saw Patric play several high school games. He had no offensive game and was okay on defense and the boards, but not exceptional. He was overrated because of his muscular build. As an aside, he was better than Fab Melo, who stunk. Billy has not signed a single big man I can think of who did not improve greatly at UF. That can be sold to recruits. Brad Beal is the only one-and-done level player that Billy has signed in a long time, and Billy did nothing but help Brad become a better pro.
  7. mdfgator
    Offline

    mdfgator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,947
    Likes Received:
    303
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,692
    Billy is the best in the biz, period.
  8. themistocles
    Offline

    themistocles Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    12,835
    Likes Received:
    94
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings Received:
    +459
    Interesting question Maddux.

    And yes, it really makes me wonder given how well Bigs who left Florida have done in the NBA, why the Gators have had so much difficulty getting Bigs to commit.

    Perhaps you are somewhat correct in that this has an influence, but, of course, this has been going on basically for about 5 or 6 years, not merely during Patric Young's career.

    So. although it may be something of a factor, I don't think it is a Big Factor.
  9. JBSouthpaw
    Offline

    JBSouthpaw Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings Received:
    +54
    I believe prospects look at Florida as a type of guard/ run and gun /3pt shooting team. If you are a top 4 big, you may not think you'll get the touches you "deserve".
  10. the_alphagator1906
    Offline

    the_alphagator1906 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    416
    Likes Received:
    87
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings Received:
    +288
    Yea I can see that as a misconception about our system. The truth is that Billy adjusts the system to his talent. I mean look at this year's team versus last year's team. This year we had maybe 2-4 outside shooters on the team (Frazier, Scotty, DFS, Walker)? Two of those either didn't play that much or wasn't consistent. Yet, we still had a great season. Last year, we lived and died by the 3 (I mean we had 4 three point shooters in the starting lineup). We would be up 20 points and that lead didn't feel safe. This year we could be up by 8 points and I felt confident in a win down the stretch. With all that said, I hope more talented "Bigs" realize that Billy works with what he has and squeezes the most out of it. If he wants you to be a part of his team and you have the talent, you will be utilized someway. Just my thoughts.
  11. JBSouthpaw
    Offline

    JBSouthpaw Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings Received:
    +54
    I agree that it's a misconception, I think this past year Billy got a lot of deserved credit for his coaching to the player's talents. Hopefully that pays off down the road.
  12. GatorPlanet
    Offline

    GatorPlanet Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2007
    Messages:
    6,426
    Likes Received:
    176
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Maitland, FL
    Ratings Received:
    +695
    Pat might have been projected to go in the first round after his freshman season. But I have serious doubts. His draft stock would have dropped as soon the first combines concluded. He improved a LOT over his UF career.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Osiris_DPM
    Offline

    Osiris_DPM Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    332
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +872
    A few years ago, these boards were buzzing about how Billy apparently couldn't recruit guards when we had a backcourt of Erving Walker and KB and no depth behind them (Nimrod Tishman), causing Billy to take an unknown, unranked HS kid out of Gainesville who graduated early. When you only have 13 scholarships, and have to manage that over 4 years, with attrition and fickle teenage kids, it creates roster holes in most teams. When you have to choose your battles on the recruiting ground without knowing how the attrition (transfers, early NBA, academic casualties, injuries) is going to shake out, very few coaches are able to get every recruit they end up needing/wanting.

    As for Young, there's a reason he stayed longer than his freshman year, despite what many had projected for him in the draft that year. He had an incredible physique, but he was never really an above the rim guy, and wasn't incredibly long (wingspan) with the ability to fly up and down the court. He had hustle in bundles, but he has the play of a C in the body of a PF, without having elite athleticism from the NBA perspective.

    He learned a ton here, and regardless of his draft status (he'd be better off as an undrafted FA than getting drafted in the end of the 2nd where only one team has the right to sign him and no guaranteed money), he's got a better foundation for a long successful pro career (whether NBA or overseas) than he would have if he left as a freshman, where his NBA career would have consisted of a cup of coffee and a pink slip.
  14. MadduxFanII
    Online

    MadduxFanII Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    5,345
    Likes Received:
    110
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings Received:
    +463
    I think that. You think that. Everyone here thinks that. Billy thinks that. Most observers think that. My question is whether our hypothetical big man, convinced that his future is the NBA and looking largely for a program that will prepare him for such a future, will be persuaded on that point or even care. Because as strongly as Billy can hit that note, other coaches are singing their own songs, and "Pat Young was going to be a first-rounder and now he won't be" is a much simpler and easier to understand message than, "You have to understand the complexities of Young's game and his personal situation, which begin with the reality that...."

    Now, it's certainly true that Billy's record with bigs doesn't begin or end with Patric Young, and there is (theoretically) something tremendously compelling about being able to point to all our successful NBA big men. But the most recent example is always going to be the one foremost in the mind.
  15. Osiris_DPM
    Offline

    Osiris_DPM Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    332
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +872
    We don't need to speak in terms of hypotheticals. Let's talk about an actual top 20 bigman recruit with a bright NBA future, Juwan Durham. I can tell you without a doubt that Pat Young's draft status has zero effect on his decision. He's at home watching some of our former players in the NBA, and watching Gator players rack up awards, both of which he mentions frequently. Will he commit to UF? I can't guarantee it, but he likes Billy and our program, and we have a damn good shot. He just grew up liking UNC, and if they offer, it might have an effect on his decision. They have had less success than UF under Billy in putting bigs in the NBA so what does that tell you? Karl Towns, on the other hand, grew up a Gator fan watching his fellow Dominican Al Horford win 2 titles and go #3 in the draft. He graduated HS early and committed to UK, so go figure.
  16. OaktownGator
    Offline

    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    27,177
    Likes Received:
    2,695
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ratings Received:
    +8,401
    I'm sure Calipari sells that he can do in one year what it takes Billy three or four years to do.... Cal would say that's why Young was still a Gator this year and not in the NBA.

    Of course there's no comparison in the development the players are actually getting, but one and done is an effective sales tool for a guy just looking for a stepping stone to the NBA.
  17. Osiris_DPM
    Offline

    Osiris_DPM Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,988
    Likes Received:
    332
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +872
    That is starting to wear off a little, as guys like WCS, P0ythress, Dakari and the Harrisons are still there. Rather, Calipari coached the Dominican team this summer and got close to him, along with then UK assistant (current USF coach) Orlando Antigua.
  18. OaktownGator
    Offline

    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    27,177
    Likes Received:
    2,695
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ratings Received:
    +8,401
    Forgot about him coaching the Dominican team... that makes sense. Calipari is still the king of the one and done, though... for guys who are convinced that is their path, it has to be a strong sell for him.
  19. Go2gtr
    Offline

    Go2gtr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    14,058
    Likes Received:
    69
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings Received:
    +193
    I think the first round story was hype. PY lacked physical stamina, post skills, shooting touch, was mentally soft, tanked easily and took his head out of the game at the slightest adversity and had zero killer instinct. He turned all that around but it took four years.

    So, do people use hyped up fantasy scenarios against you in the recruiting world? Of course they do. You throw a couple of names at them like Noah and Horford and shut that down quick.

Share This Page