In my opinion, the state of recruiting in College Basketball is result of a number of trends that have become commonplace over the last decade or so.
- NBA signing talent regardless of age has watered down College Basketball. No longer are the great teams built by strong players working in a common system over 4 years. A single player with great athletic ability (but possibly less refined basketball skills) can instantly make a program competitive for a single year, in part because they no longer are competing against great programs. These kids no longer have to bother with learning the team game, working within a system and refining their craft. They are brought in to use their god given ability and asked to just get it done. Their academic career is usually over by Valentines Day of their freshman year. Ohh, the memories.
- Along with football, basketball is a primary revenue stream that underwrites an entire athletic program. Success drives revenue through ticket sales, TV bucks (less a factor in the B1G due to BTN), licensed merchandise sales and alumni/fan support. Sports success can build the brand of a school and generate indirect sources of revenue through an enhanced national profile. This has driven schools to pay big bucks for coaching talent that can win quickly - the long haul is less important.
- The above factors drive these coaches to compete for the one-and-done kids, spiking demand for the elite kids. At this point, it simply becomes a seller's market and the highest demand items get to name their price.
- These are High School kids. They will do and say stupid things. They are not prepared, from a life experience or an emotional maturity standpoint, to deal with the attention. Just look at professional athletes and actors - these are adults that say and do stupid stuff all the time, yet they pay big bucks to professionals to handle their image and PR. Social media has allowed each of these questionable acts to become immediately known by everyone with an interest.
- Some here have stated that college coaches have grown weary of dealing with the crap that goes with recruiting today. My response is this: if they didn't anticipate these shenanigans when they signed their fat contracts, they are too stupid to have the role. I don't like spending 8-10 hours per week commuting, but it's not like I didn't see it coming when I accepted the position. Either way, it is part of the job and these coaches are well paid to deal with it and all the other headaches that come with.
Money man Jim Chanos once said, "Market bubbles are best identified by credit excesses, not valuation excesses".
Given the level at which schools are diverting long term resources into major sports - way beyond the relative importance of sport to the primary mission of a public university is, in my opinion, is akin to borrowing cheap against the future to place a short term bet on immediate success that can in now way be assured.
What legacy will come from these bets in the next decade?