Five underrated impact recruiters

Updated: August 2, 2012, 1:14 PM ET
By Jay Bilas

Recruiting is the lifeblood of every college basketball program. I don't care how good a teacher and coach one is; nobody wins without talent. A coach can lose with talent, but no coach wins without it. And recruiting can be tough, grueling work. Former Purdue coach Gene Keady used to say that recruiting is like shaving; you have to do it every day.

Every year around this time, it can get somewhat tiresome to hear some opine that certain coaches "don't recruit, they select." In my experience, that is nonsense. Every program has a level to which it recruits. And every coach has to recruit against his peers on that level for the same pool of talent. It's easy to suggest that Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, UCLA and North Carolina, to name a few, simply "select" their talent annually, but each must recruit the same pool of players against one another, at the very least. It may be easier for some programs and coaches to get through the door initially, but there is not one program in the country that doesn't have to work hard in recruiting.

Which coach selected Shabazz Muhammad? Which coach simply chose Mitch McGary? Which coach snapped his fingers and summoned Marcus Smart? The programs that are said to "select" have to fight hard in recruiting to secure a commitment from a prospect. It would be nice if programs could really select players. If it were true, perhaps the NCAA rulebook full of recruiting regulations could be pared down. Sadly, it doesn't work that way.

Recruiting is far more than the identification of talent and judging the fit between talent and program -- it's about establishing and building relationships, and much of this work is done by assistants along with head coaches. In getting to know so many assistant coaches over the years, I like to think I have a pretty good idea of who some of the best are. But nobody knows them all. Based off my own observations and conversations with basketball people I know and trust, here are five assistants who are currently underrated but make a huge impact on the recruiting trail.