Letter of Intent Not Always the Best Fit

Jim Halley at USAToday.com writes about DeMarcus Cousins not signing his Letter of Intent without getting assurance that he'll be released if Coach Mike Davis is not there.
The national letter of intent cannot be altered or modified in any way," NCAA spokesman Chuck Wynne said.

Wynne said the LOI is an "agreement between the institution and the student-athlete, not the coach and the student-athlete." But, he added, that doesn't mean a school can't make an agreement to allow an athlete out of his or her scholarship.

Jim Haney makes a great point, one that i have told players before. If there is concern, then simply wait until spring. The mass hysteria of signing because everyone else is sweeps a lot of kids into less than ideal situations. With 1 of 8 coaches moving on each year it is cause for concern.

Another point that the article highlights is that kids, generally speaking, sign with coaches not schools. How would you feel if the all the people you have a relationship with, the system you want to play in, and the promises made to you were gone like the case of Jeff Withey at Arizona and the kids that had verballed to Arizona.

For the best of the best players, its a scenario where the athlete is the limited supply and the colleges are the overwhelming demand. I am fairly sure most colleges would take the verbal without the non-requisite LOI to get a player the caliber of DeMarcus Cousins.

The LOI does keep recruiting a little cleaner in that it gives an ending to the process. Once the doc is signed, the propaganda and innuendo seizes giving the athlete a breath of fresh air. It also clearly defines which side of the fence a prospect is on for recruiters. The key is for each athlete and their decision helpers to see what is right for them and their situation.

Jim Haney, executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, said he is "not aware of any sort of side deals. … The bottom line is the letter of intent is the letter of intent. Historically, when there have been coaching changes, the prospects have asked for a waiver that would allow them to not be penalized. Some of them have been granted. Not all of those have been granted."

Another option for high school players who might be concerned the coach would leave, Haney says, "is to not sign until the spring, and then you know."

Investment vs. Entitlement

This was sent over by St. Mary's DOB Mark Campbell. Phenomenal stuff. Pat Summitt consistently used the word investment and invested when she spoke at the Pump's Collegiate Business Conference.


Nov 21, 2008

ENTITLEMENT: Belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain things.

INVESTMENT: The commitment to something with the expectation of some future benefit.

As I travel around the country and workout with the best of the best from the high school, college, and NBA levels, I am continually reminded of what these players have in common that makes them great:

• They WANT to get better
• They are coachable
• They WANT to learn everything they can that will help them become a better player
• They are committed to improvement of their game and bodies
• They are very serious about improving their game every time they step on the floor
• They do everything at a high intensity

The best example I can give you is Kobe Bryant. He once told me that he doesn’t work out any more. . . .he now BLACKS OUT. He said that a workout isn’t enough anymore if he’s going to stay on top of his game and take on all the players he knows are coming after him. He said he has to go beyond what all the other players are doing. He took his workouts to another level.

What Kobe is saying is what all players need to hear and need to know. He is willing to INVEST in his game and not stay the same. He was willing to INVEST in his future. He doesn’t feel ENTITLED to be great, ENTITLED to take every shot, ENTITLED to have everything given to him. Kobe has paid the price and continues to pay the price.

The lesson here is one that I tell every one of the players I work with, “it’s not about entitlement if you want to be the best. It’ about investment.”

Becoming the best is not easy. Entitlement will lead to ultimate failure; investment will lead to future success.

The Survey Says: Trends in College Hoops

Luke Winn did an interesting report on trends in college basketball. Check it out here. A few stats that i found interesting.

* The national average is 68.9 possessions per game.
*Only 30 out of 301 teams claim zone is their primary defense
*There is an average of 1.34 international players on every roster
*92 of 301 teams didn't have a single international player
*16 of the 21 teams with 4 or more International players were located on a coast
*There is an average of 1.19 four year transfer per team
*The ACC has only 1 team with more than 1 transfer
*99 of 301 did not have a JUCO transfer
*There are only 2 JUCO players in the ACC
*The Big Sky has an average of 6.2 JUCO's per team and the Big West averages 4.8
*Teams with 4 or more JUCO's centered around JUCO hotbeds Texas, California, Utah/Idaho, Kansas/Missouri
*72.1% wear Nike
*26.2% wear Adidas
*Not one Pac-10 team was in the top 20 for spending
*142 of 341 head coaches were previously head coaches before their current position
*58 of 341 head coaches were promoted from within
*128 of 341 were hired after previously being an assistant with another program
*13 of 341 came from outside college basketball (such as High School, NBA, retired, etc.)

SI.com: The Fall of Mighty St. John's

Seth Davis has a great article looking at the fall of the St. Johns program and how they are building it back up. He talks about the one time advantage of off campus stipends when they did not have dorms, the fracturing of the local grassroots programs, and contrasts the issues Carnessecca faced with the ones Norm Roberts deals with. He makes a great point, kids don't just stay home anymore. With AAU and all the travel, kids are well versed in other parts of the country and don't fear the city limit sign anymore.

P.R. Ploy: Loyola holds Curry Scoreless

Loyola and fiery coach Jimmy Patsos lost to Davidson 78-48 the other day but the what stole the headlines was that they shut out the nation's leading scorer Stephen Curry and held him to 3 shots. They assigned 2 players to him from beginning to end. Basically the game was played for 40 minutes with Davidson on a 4 on 3 power play. Many have questioned the tactic including this article. For Loyola to garner this many headlines, the move may have been beneficial for the notoriety of the program. In the spirit of the game, double teaming one player when the tactic clearly was not getting the team any closer to winning is up for debate. As one of the craziest stories of the young season, it ranks right there with Coach Patsos sitting in the stands after an early technical foul.