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New Strauss Column - SLU needs to local Hoop talent at home


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When the article came out JC should have if he didn't already immediately call Justin and ask him where he thought SLU was lacking in their recruitment of Jayson. Let Justin know how much he appreciates his insight and then make sure Justin nevers feels that way again. The right sincere conversation with Justin making him feel appreciated and valued would play huge dividends not just with Jayson but with other local recruits. I'm very sure Justin has a lot of clout with the local JS kids

+1 I hope he did just that with Justin and Jayson.

I think a school like SLU is in a no win with some of these top level recruits. If a top local recruit tells SLU there's no chance, then the staff doesn't want to put that out there. Why would they tell the media and fans that we have no chance at a top recruit. They would rather have it seem like we were in the hunt. They also don't want to waste their time recruiting a kid that's definitely not coming.

However, if a guy like Jayson tells SLU "your at the top of my list," that recruit is still not going to tell Calipari, or Self, or Williams not to waste their time. He wants those guys flying to his games. He wants his AAU teammates to see the front row filled with celebrities. He wants the articles written about what coaches were watching him play.

So, either we're not trying with kid who isn't coming here anyway, or we're not flying to road AAU tournaments on private jets in $1,000.00 suits for kids we actually do have a shot at. Point is, even when we have a chance, we're not going to command the media attention of the big boys.

That being said, I agree 100% with what Skip said. Call Justin and Jayson and say, "If it is not clear, you are our #1 priority. What can we do to make that clear? Whatever it is, we'll do it." That is, of course, anything short of the $10,000.00 handshake. If that is what our shortcoming is, then I guess we're going to lose out.

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A better article would be one about the local kids who chose to go elswhere, perhaps because they wanted to go to programs they perceived to be "big time," and missed out on what SLU has done the last three years. Scott Suggs, Scam Biedscheid, Nolan Berry and Tyler Griffey could have been better off playing in their hometown for a winner. They were slow to recognize that big time basketball was being built right here.

At the bball banquet, Evans said when he was in HS people in his hometown asked him why he signed with SLU. He said he had faith that he could be a part of a winner at SLU. Were the locals afraid of that challenge? It's easier to go to an established program as opposed to going to a place and building the success.

RM had the right idea. Build a winner with players who want to be here. If the quality local players think they are too good for SLU or don't want to get on board for whatever reason fine, RM was going to do some winning with or without them. The high school kids have now seen what the SLU program can become. Yes, SLU needs to do their best to recruit the top local players, the same way they need to work it with finding quality players throughout the world, but part of the responsibility is on the locals to want to play here. SLU always gets called out on this, but I think the locals at least share part of the responsibility if there is indeed a "problem."

I'd love to see that article. Personally, I think it's fine that Strauss wrote this (despite the factual errors, etc.), as I believe he's just trying to push both programs to recruit the local scene more heavily. It'd be nice to do better in this area. But it is a two-way street and the majority of local kids have seemed uninterested in SLU for whatever reasons. I think people forget that Rick's first recruiting class included 4 relative locals in Kyle, Cotto, Thompson, and Femi John. Plus, Willie was an in-state (KC) guy. Unfortunately the results weren't very favorable, which may have had a negative impact on local coaches' view of RM.

I get the sense that Crews is trying hard with the locals. He signed Gillmann. Tyler Cook from Chaminade has been to a number of our games this season, as has the PG (can't recall the name) from CBC. Tatum even noted that the lack of local recruiting dates back prior to Crews. With just 3 schollies to give over the next 2 years, the staff should be able to really focus their efforts on these guys.

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Crews and/or Cheaney need to be a fixture at all Eagles 17U games (Cook, Barnes and FBTJ) and all Chaminade games next year.

Not trying to rile anyone up but the current scene of recruiting has changed a lot. It may be out of an old-school coach like Crew's comfort zones in some ways (AAU tourneys, social media, texting, etc.) I truly hope we get creative with our recruitment of Tatum. I believe he would be a program-changer not just in terms of talent but in how our program is viewed.

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I'd love to see that article. Personally, I think it's fine that Strauss wrote this (despite the factual errors, etc.), as I believe he's just trying to push both programs to recruit the local scene more heavily. It'd be nice to do better in this area. But it is a two-way street and the majority of local kids have seemed uninterested in SLU for whatever reasons. I think people forget that Rick's first recruiting class included 4 relative locals in Kyle, Cotto, Thompson, and Femi John. Plus, Willie was an in-state (KC) guy. Unfortunately the results weren't very favorable, which may have had a negative impact on local coaches' view of RM.

I get the sense that Crews is trying hard with the locals. He signed Gillmann. Tyler Cook from Chaminade has been to a number of our games this season, as has the PG (can't recall the name) from CBC. Tatum even noted that the lack of local recruiting dates back prior to Crews. With just 3 schollies to give over the next 2 years, the staff should be able to really focus their efforts on these guys.

Is Jordan Barnes the CBC PG? I know there's a ton of talent coming up.

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Is Jordan Barnes the CBC PG? I know there's a ton of talent coming up.

Yes Jordan is the CBC PG and he has been to a fair amount of games. Still needs to prove himself as a player, but a guy I think we'd have a good shot with if we wanted. Close-knit family.

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Yes Jordan is the CBC PG and he has been to a fair amount of games. Still needs to prove himself as a player, but a guy I think we'd have a good shot with if we wanted. Close-knit family.

Pretty slight kid if I remember right.

I like the 2 prospects coming up from Althoff as well.

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Crews and/or Cheaney need to be a fixture at all Eagles 17U games (Cook, Barnes and FBTJ) and all Chaminade games next year.

Not trying to rile anyone up but the current scene of recruiting has changed a lot. It may be out of an old-school coach like Crew's comfort zones in some ways (AAU tourneys, social media, texting, etc.) I truly hope we get creative with our recruitment of Tatum. I believe he would be a program-changer not just in terms of talent but in how our program is viewed.

That may be true for Crews, but I don't get the sense that Bronson, Platte, or Cheaney are as behind-the-times.

Something else I was wondering. Aren't coaches only allowed to evaluate and/or contact a player so many times during a recruiting period? Seems possible that Tatum's perception on how often SLU is there vs. other coaches could be skewed by the fact that while SLU coaches go to as many games as they can, there is always a K, Calipari, Self, or Donovan there.

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This is a little off topic, but I recently saw where the 15U Eagles were ranked #1 and the 15U Gateway team was ranked #5. These are freshmen, soon to be sophomores from the St. Louis area. Having two teams in the top 5 is pretty amazing.

http://www.indihoops.com/rankings#

Having only 1 scholarship to give for this class and 2 for the following classes should allow us to spend more time on the younger kids then we typically would have.

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I have not read the article, but the premise in the headline is flawed... why does SLU "need" local talent? We have had the most successful run in a long time without local talent. That idea is so 2004 - around the time we missed on Shaw, Ahearn (drink up) and Harrellson... three kids from the area who reportedly would have signed with SLU if offered. Now THAT is a real problem.

But in the RM/JC era, I'm not aware of any quality players who wanted to come to SLU who were NOT offered. I am aware of some quality recruits who SLU offered, but they chose to go elsewhere. I am also aware of whole bunch of lesser local players who the vtimes of the world and other assorted handlers thought SLU should offer, but weren't good enough to contribute to the Bills success. So which locals are we talking about when they say SLU "needs local talent"?

The premise of the article should be: SLU is doing just fine without local players... locals should take a fresh look at a program that has shown it can win conference titles and get ranked. QUALITY locals can now jump on board and help SLU sustain success and be the next Gonzaga or Xavier. If the media won't tell that story, then SLU needs to tell that story to recruits.

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That may be true for Crews, but I don't get the sense that Bronson, Platte, or Cheaney are as behind-the-times.

Something else I was wondering. Aren't coaches only allowed to evaluate and/or contact a player so many times during a recruiting period? Seems possible that Tatum's perception on how often SLU is there vs. other coaches could be skewed by the fact that while SLU coaches go to as many games as they can, there is always a K, Calipari, Self, or Donovan there.

You can recruit the CBC kids and Jayson Tatum on the same phone call
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I have not read the article, but the premise in the headline is flawed... why does SLU "need" local talent? We have had the most successful run in a long time without local talent. That idea is so 2004 - around the time we missed on Shaw, Ahearn (drink up) and Harrellson... three kids from the area who reportedly would have signed with SLU if offered. Now THAT is a real problem.

But in the RM/JC era, I'm not aware of any quality players who wanted to come to SLU who were NOT offered. I am aware of some quality recruits who SLU offered, but they chose to go elsewhere. I am also aware of whole bunch of lesser local players who the vtimes of the world and other assorted handlers thought SLU should offer, but weren't good enough to contribute to the Bills success. So which locals are we talking about when they say SLU "needs local talent"?

The premise of the article should be: SLU is doing just fine without local players... locals should take a fresh look at a program that has shown it can win conference titles and get ranked. QUALITY locals can now jump on board and help SLU sustain success and be the next Gonzaga or Xavier. If the media won't tell that story, then SLU needs to tell that story to recruits.

ACE, agree with you.

But to answer one of your questions: SLU needs local talent (at least some) to help at the gate. No question our basketball success has been achieved lately without much local. Adding two or so top flight locals (if they're as good as out-of-town talent) will get the public more interested. The storyline of Justin, Larry and Matt joining forces back in the day as high school seniors to stay home and build a local winner plays very well in St. Louis. As my dad used to say, it's Box Office.

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ACE, agree with you.

But to answer one of your questions: SLU needs local talent (at least some) to help at the gate. No question our basketball success has been achieved lately without much local. Adding two or so top flight locals (if they're as good as out-of-town talent) will get the public more interested. The storyline of Justin, Larry and Matt joining forces back in the day as high school seniors to stay home and build a local winner plays very well in St. Louis. As my dad used to say, it's Box Office.

Ace and Adman. You are both correct. SLU can, and certainly has, had their greatest success these past three (3) years on the court without relying upon locals. Also, SLU now has re-stocked the shelves with some promising Sophs and Frosh -- only 1 of whom is a local - the rest of whom are from our "natural" recruiting spots: places like Chicago, Indiana, Memphis. Of course, nearly all programs need to take advantage of the local talent in their own backyard. At the same time, the local backyard has not always been as great and deep as many think it has. As to the high profile kids like Beals, Lee and McLemore, these kids picked the very best coaches/programs in the country, and to be fair, they picked schools other than SLU BEFORE we actually started to win. The situation with Beals is much different than young Mr. Tatum. Even now, though, yes we won three (3) straight years in a row, but we are not on par with the likes of Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, etc. and sitting at every one of Mr. Tatum's games will not change that. As to the next level of kids, such as Nolan Berry, etc., they were scouted, contacted and offered but they are the ones who sought greener pastures such as Butler dominating the Horizon with their larger than life head coach and going to back-to-back NCAA Finals. In short, we did actively recruit, chase after and offer local kids.

But hopefully gone are the days when SLU would desperately sell its only real asset: playing time. In the past, we would have plenty of openings and then would open the door for the St. Louis Eagles/AAU to all come to SLU and take over. It worked some years and everyone said how great it was to have local stars. And yes, Adman, attendance was great as well. The problem, though, is that we did not always win and we never followed up with back to back recruiting classes. Now, the philosophy should be: Yes, please come to SLU in that we need you and want you but we also have a good players here already, defense is expected, you will not be guaranteed 4 years of starting and we will not refrain from recruiting another guy who plays your position. Also, here is a scholarship, we want you to accept now, if you don't commit now, we will offer another kid as we no longer "save" scholarships to guarantee you that SLU is/will be your "safe choice" school.

And just to be clear, Strauss is wrong on his facts. SLU has always had local players from Bonner/Jones/Roder/Mimlitz to Melvin Robinson/Carlos Skinner/Highmark/Claggett to Hughes/Baniak/Tatum. More recently, we had had Polk and Luke Meyer, then Dustin Maguire, Lisch and Liddell, then RM (the guy everyone claims to have not respected the local players) got Echerle, Thompson, Cotto and Cassity and the local guard who blew his knee out. We now have Gillman from Oakville and have offered all the locals.

And maybe I am in the minority, and admittedly I would not be a very good college recruiter because I would not be willing to suck up to modern day prima donna athletes, but no, our coaching staff should not have been sitting at all of Bradley Beals' high school games (just b/c the drive is not far) to send a message not only to him but also the other local players. Win and the recruits will line up out the door -- both locals and non-locals.

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Just like every other SLU fan, I have really enjoyed the success of our program the past three years. I'm for getting the best players you can, whether they are from St. Louis or not. However, I am getting a strange vibe that some SLU fans are becoming a little haughty when it comes to area recruits. Since when did we become too good for area recruits. Just because we did not have area players does not mean there were STL players that were not good enough to be here.

For example, Pat McCaw is a player that could have been had. He was very interested, but was kind of held at bay for several months while other recruits were chased. Only when we lost out to other schools, did we circle back to Patrick and went after him. Only, he had moved on. He is going to UNLV. Pat is a very good player and IMO, better than three of our perimeter players that we've signed, with a higher upside. I guess my point is, If McCaw was made a high priority earlier in the game, he would be a Billiken. Pat is not a 5-star player who was chasing the Dukes and Kentucky's of the world, but a real good player who advances the program in the direction that they are going. And local. I think Austin Gillmann fit into that category as well, by no means an instant impact player, but someone who can develop into a good player for his hometown team and was appreciative of the opportunity.

There are several potential players coming up through the ranks. I would hope that SLU will get in the game and get their share. Tyler Cook of Chaminade is a prime example. He should be a Billiken. The Goodwin kid from Althoff should be a Billiken. Barnes from CBC. Are we aggressively recruiting these young players? That is the question.

If I am wrong, I will gladly admit it.

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Just like every other SLU fan, I have really enjoyed the success of our program the past three years. I'm for getting the best players you can, whether they are from St. Louis or not. However, I am getting a strange vibe that some SLU fans are becoming a little haughty when it comes to area recruits. Since when did we become too good for area recruits. Just because we did not have area players does not mean there were STL players that were not good enough to be here.

For example, Pat McCaw is a player that could have been had. He was very interested, but was kind of held at bay for several months while other recruits were chased. Only when we lost out to other schools, did we circle back to Patrick and went after him. Only, he had moved on. He is going to UNLV. Pat is a very good player and IMO, better than three of our perimeter players that we've signed, with a higher upside. I guess my point is, If McCaw was made a high priority earlier in the game, he would be a Billiken. Pat is not a 5-star player who was chasing the Dukes and Kentucky's of the world, but a real good player who advances the program in the direction that they are going. And local. I think Austin Gillmann fit into that category as well, by no means an instant impact player, but someone who can develop into a good player for his hometown team and was appreciative of the opportunity.

There are several potential players coming up through the ranks. I would hope that SLU will get in the game and get their share. Tyler Cook of Chaminade is a prime example. He should be a Billiken. The Goodwin kid from Althoff should be a Billiken. Barnes from CBC. Are we aggressively recruiting these young players? That is the question.

If I am wrong, I will gladly admit it.

I don't think it's haughty as much as it's a rationalization that SLU is not getting the local players. So a lot of us are happy with the talent that is brought in. I think the "too good" factor with locals is the other way around. Most St. Louis kids of late have felt that they are too good to play at SLU. Before the last 3 years, it's really tough to refute that statement. We can rehash all the names over and over, but it doesn't change the fact that many of the top-end talent wasn't interested in SLU at all. BJ Young ended up at Arkansas (who has been garbage since Nolan Richardson left). Those are the ones that bother me the most...local kids going to programs that SLU is as good as or better at the time they sign.

The most successful team in Billikens history started 2 guys from Chicago, one from New Zealand, one from Minnesota, and a transfer. Winning is the only way that the profile goes up.

Nolan Berry told SLU to get lost when he went to Butler. I was fine with him not being given a second chance.

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Strauss is a incompetent clown.

RE: Tatum and other 4*-5* local talent, we have never, ever kept one (other than Larry, unique situation) because they want to play in power conferences, not the A-10.

End of story.

If we get into the NBE, and they (GT, Nova, etc.) get back on track after a poor showing last year, then perhaps we can get one or two to stay. And CTower is absolutely correct, we need local stars to pack the Fetz, it really matters.

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Good analysis, Clock. However, JT seems to be different from the other recent high level recruits. If everything we're hearing is true he's not telling us to buzz off at this point. Also, dad seems to indicate his interest in SLU is for real. No doubt, landing a star like JT would be a great get for the program. He's a game changer if only for one year. But will this open the gates to more locals? I don't believe it will unless we land in the Beast. We're still selling a conference that is viewed as a level below the BCSers. When we got the legend and the other locals, we were in a major conference with big name schools. I'm not knocking the A10 because it is a very good league, it just doesn't have the bright lights of the majors. Now if we make a nice run if JT comes here, that might sway a few locals if we suddenly are viewed in the same light as a Zaga or an X. But like you, if we have a shot at good talent outside the area there's no reason to show any favors to locals.

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Good analysis, Clock. However, JT seems to be different from the other recent high level recruits. If everything we're hearing is true he's not telling us to buzz off at this point. Also, dad seems to indicate his interest in SLU is for real. No doubt, landing a star like JT would be a great get for the program. He's a game changer if only for one year. But will this open the gates to more locals? I don't believe it will unless we land in the Beast. We're still selling a conference that is viewed as a level below the BCSers. When we got the legend and the other locals, we were in a major conference with big name schools. I'm not knocking the A10 because it is a very good league, it just doesn't have the bright lights of the majors. Now if we make a nice run if JT comes here, that might sway a few locals if we suddenly are viewed in the same light as a Zaga or an X. But like you, if we have a shot at good talent outside the area there's no reason to show any favors to locals.

The greatest negative SLU has right now is the A-10.

Recent success? Check.

Great facilities? Check.

Exposure of a top conference...nope.

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Just like every other SLU fan, I have really enjoyed the success of our program the past three years. I'm for getting the best players you can, whether they are from St. Louis or not. However, I am getting a strange vibe that some SLU fans are becoming a little haughty when it comes to area recruits. Since when did we become too good for area recruits. Just because we did not have area players does not mean there were STL players that were not good enough to be here.

For example, Pat McCaw is a player that could have been had. He was very interested, but was kind of held at bay for several months while other recruits were chased. Only when we lost out to other schools, did we circle back to Patrick and went after him. Only, he had moved on. He is going to UNLV. Pat is a very good player and IMO, better than three of our perimeter players that we've signed, with a higher upside. I guess my point is, If McCaw was made a high priority earlier in the game, he would be a Billiken. Pat is not a 5-star player who was chasing the Dukes and Kentucky's of the world, but a real good player who advances the program in the direction that they are going. And local. I think Austin Gillmann fit into that category as well, by no means an instant impact player, but someone who can develop into a good player for his hometown team and was appreciative of the opportunity.

There are several potential players coming up through the ranks. I would hope that SLU will get in the game and get their share. Tyler Cook of Chaminade is a prime example. He should be a Billiken. The Goodwin kid from Althoff should be a Billiken. Barnes from CBC. Are we aggressively recruiting these young players? That is the question.

If I am wrong, I will gladly admit it.

That is certainly a different take. I'm not so sure McCaw could "have been had." The guy who reports most on SLU recruiting indicated McCaw wanted to pursue BCS offers and was not all that interested in SLU. McCaw visited Florida State among other places. I know you have a loyalty to the local players, but I don't know how you can say with such certainty McCaw will be better than the perimeter players SLU signed. Time will tell. In fact, a case could be made that Yarbrough was a even a bigger priority for UNLV. The Rebs offered MY and AFTER he commits to SLU, then UNLV filled their final scholarship with McCaw.

IMO, your suggestion that there was a local player who wanted to come to SLU and is better than many of our recruits is unfair to the coaching staff and the kids coming in.

Loyalty is a two-way street and there have been way too many local recruits who have been pretty "haughty" about how they view SLU. IMO, we're certainly not too good for quality local recruits, that would be awesome if they got on board. But the worst thing we could do is go after second-tier local players, just because they are local. Evaluate them just like you would any recruit. If there are equaly players with interest, than you give the nod to the local player.

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Just like every other SLU fan, I have really enjoyed the success of our program the past three years. I'm for getting the best players you can, whether they are from St. Louis or not. However, I am getting a strange vibe that some SLU fans are becoming a little haughty when it comes to area recruits. Since when did we become too good for area recruits. Just because we did not have area players does not mean there were STL players that were not good enough to be here.

For example, Pat McCaw is a player that could have been had. He was very interested, but was kind of held at bay for several months while other recruits were chased. Only when we lost out to other schools, did we circle back to Patrick and went after him. Only, he had moved on. He is going to UNLV. Pat is a very good player and IMO, better than three of our perimeter players that we've signed, with a higher upside. I guess my point is, If McCaw was made a high priority earlier in the game, he would be a Billiken. Pat is not a 5-star player who was chasing the Dukes and Kentucky's of the world, but a real good player who advances the program in the direction that they are going. And local. I think Austin Gillmann fit into that category as well, by no means an instant impact player, but someone who can develop into a good player for his hometown team and was appreciative of the opportunity.

There are several potential players coming up through the ranks. I would hope that SLU will get in the game and get their share. Tyler Cook of Chaminade is a prime example. He should be a Billiken. The Goodwin kid from Althoff should be a Billiken. Barnes from CBC. Are we aggressively recruiting these young players? That is the question.

If I am wrong, I will gladly admit it.

I agree that SLU should focus recruiting efforts local and within about 300 miles. It is easier to do that, that encompasses St Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indiana, Central Illinois, etc.

There haven't been a tremendous amount of players from the St Louis area that were a good fit for SLU recently though. There have been high end guys like Beal and McLemore and there have been lower end guys. Lisch and Liddell were the last guys in the St Louis area I remember it being realistic coming to SLU. That mid to upper level is just now coming back around. Recruiting guys like Dustin Maguire does no favors in the local recruiting landscape because they never play or wind up leaving.

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That is certainly a different take. I'm not so sure McCaw could "have been had." The guy who reports most on SLU recruiting indicated McCaw wanted to pursue BCS offers and was not all that interested in SLU. McCaw visited Florida State among other places.

Based on what I've read about McCaw's recruitment this was my understanding of the situation as well. SLU was interested in McCaw, but McCaw not so much in SLU. SLU moved on shortly after McCaw transferred from CBC prior to his senior year and wasn't actively recruiting him anymore when he signed with UNLV.

I'm not necessarily putting p diddy in this camp, but IMO SLU is in a lose-lose situation with folks who are immersed in local HS hoops. If a player doesn't want to go to SLU, then it is SLU's fault for not trying hard enough to recruit them. If SLU passes on lesser talents, then SLU is viewed as not caring about having local players. If SLU takes local players who don't have the talent to compete at this level, they wind up being a mediocre team (see Brad Soderberg with Knollmeyer, Macguire, Mitchell, etc.).

I think the factors that go into making a college decision have changed in the last 20 years or so. I'm not a Div I athlete, but I know when I chose a school I wanted to get away from home. I felt like part of the college experience was leaving home. I'm guessing many local basketball players feel the same way and not choosing SLU might have more to do with getting away from home than anything. This explains why SLU has had greater success recruiting Chicago, Milwaukee, Indiana, etc. recently than getting local players.

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I still maintain the 4 and 5 star kids decisions are all about the prestige of the programs pursuing them. These kids all know each other from the AAU circuit. And you can bet how their peers perceive them are determined by who's recruiting them and who they sign with. I think in the end this peer review will be a big factor with JT and he'll likely end up at one of the elites. It would be analogous with a bunch of young Mensas getting offered scholarships to Ivy League schools. They're going to choose Harvard over SLU simply because it's more prestigious. Kind of like, why settle for a Ford if someone's offering you a Mercedes?

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The one and only reason that SLU should recruit St. Louis harder than anywhere else is because we have an advantage in recruiting kids from St. Louis. I know it hasn't panned out in recent years, and the reasons for it can be debated, but when recruits take into account all factors for choosing a school, some of them consider their parents and family being able to go to all the games. Some don't, but many do. Some like the idea of staying reasonably close to their family. Some don't. Some, like me (I wasn't a recruit) just want to be close so that mom continues to do their laundry.

I personally don't care if all of our recruits come from Alaska, as long as it results in a good team. However, St. Louis has put out top level, upper level, and mid level talent consistently for the past few years and it appears that it will continue to do so for the next few years. If something like proximity to home gives us a leg up on a recruit that we would not normally have, take advantage of it. If Tatum was from Cincinnati we wouldn't have a shot at him. If Cook was from Kansas City, we'd be less likely to be on his radar. He certainly wouldn't have come to as many SLU home games as some people are reporting.

This is the reason, and the only reason, the staff needs to recruit better in St. Louis. Indianapolis kids are more likely to go to Indiana, Purdue or Butler. New York kids are more likely to want to go to Syracuse. Wisconsin kids are more likely to want to go to Wisconsin or Marquette. We need to make it so that St. Louis area kids are more likely to go to SLU. It doesn't mean that we'd be failing if we didn't get every kid we wanted, but we need to take advantage of the edge we have better than we have in the past.

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I still maintain the 4 and 5 star kids decisions are all about the prestige of the programs pursuing them. These kids all know each other from the AAU circuit. And you can bet how their peers perceive them are determined by who's recruiting them and who they sign with. I think in the end this peer review will be a big factor with JT and he'll likely end up at one of the elites. It would be analogous with a bunch of young Mensas getting offered scholarships to Ivy League schools. They're going to choose Harvard over SLU simply because it's more prestigious. Kind of like, why settle for a Ford if someone's offering you a Mercedes?

I think this is probably true for the good majority of top recruits. After all, these are high school kids in the age of social media and athlete glorification; image and "branding" mean a whole lot to them. And while staying local and playing the hometown hero role may sound great on paper, most will end up captivated by the prestige, media exposure, and greater resources of the blue bloods.

With that said, it isn't clear yet that Tatum falls into that group. And, as it stands now, SLU seems to be in a pretty good spot with him. But over the course of the next year or so, as the blue bloods continue to throw their weight on his recruitment, it's gonna be tough for SLU to overcome its conference and lack of tradition. So I think the big takeaway from Tatum's recruitment thus far, then, is that SLU is a real contender - which is a significant improvement from the recruitments (or lack thereof) of recent 4* and 5* local guys.

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That is certainly a different take. I'm not so sure McCaw could "have been had." The guy who reports most on SLU recruiting indicated McCaw wanted to pursue BCS offers and was not all that interested in SLU. McCaw visited Florida State among other places. I know you have a loyalty to the local players, but I don't know how you can say with such certainty McCaw will be better than the perimeter players SLU signed. Time will tell. In fact, a case could be made that Yarbrough was a even a bigger priority for UNLV. The Rebs offered MY and AFTER he commits to SLU, then UNLV filled their final scholarship with McCaw.

IMO, your suggestion that there was a local player who wanted to come to SLU and is better than many of our recruits is unfair to the coaching staff and the kids coming in.

Loyalty is a two-way street and there have been way too many local recruits who have been pretty "haughty" about how they view SLU. IMO, we're certainly not too good for quality local recruits, that would be awesome if they got on board. But the worst thing we could do is go after second-tier local players, just because they are local. Evaluate them just like you would any recruit. If there are equaly players with interest, than you give the nod to the local player.

Our coaches have been very interested in recruiting local players who they feel can play at our level, fit in with our team philosophy and handle the academics. However, the Brad S days of waiting forever for local kids to commit or even show a serious interest and then losing the opportunity for other good players are long over. McCaw was recruited by the Bills with meeitngs with Coach Crews and others early in the process. But he never showed any serious interest and then went radio silent for a long time while he sought out "big time" offers. We moved on but always said we would be open to hearing from him if he was seriously interested. He never surfaced or said he wanted to go to SLU so our staff did the smart thing and they signed MY who looks to be an excellent recruit. These urban myths seem to take on a life of their own but there is no truth to the story that we somehow blew the opportunity to sign him.

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Look, I think Strauss was way off base to suggest SLU and Mizzery make little effort to reel in good locals they feel will help them win. It's a crazy thesis. His article implied kids like Beals, Lee, McLemore, etc weren't pursued. That's just not right. They chose to go elsewhere. For example, look at the Hansborough boys. Dad a big Mizzery alum and still they went elsewhere. Face it, it takes a miracle to get a really good local to turn down the biggies. They just carry too much weight, or the lights are just soooo bright you just can't keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen them.

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