Quick Shots: Recruits Confident in Coaches
The New York Daily News recently reported that Kentucky coach John Calipari, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville's Rick Pitino were three of the high-profile coaches linked to the New Jersey Nets' head coaching position.
To be fair, all three coaches have since shot down the rumors, but often times the rumor is truly dead only after someone's actually hired. Calipari coached the Nets for just over two seasons before being fired in 1999.
We caught up with signees from each school and had them chime in on why their future coach would be staying put.
Stacey Poole, a small forward from Providence School (Jacksonville, Fla.) who's signed with Kentucky: "There's no way Coach Cal's going to leave Kentucky. He's rebuilding this program to where it once was. He's doing great things at Kentucky and everyone loves him there. I don't think there's any way he leaves. He loves Kentucky too much."
Tyler Thornton, a point guard from Gonzaga College Prep (Washington, D.C.) who's signed with Duke: "No way Coach K leaves! He's built his brand and his empire at Duke. There is no logical reason for him to leave and take that job. He'll have enough time with Kobe and the NBA guys on Team USA. He will definitely be ending his coaching career at Duke. Just no time soon!"
Justin Coleman, a small forward from Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) who's signed with Louisville: "It's not possible. Coach Pitino has already coached in the NBA before and he came back to Louisville. I've talked to him and he told me that he's not going, so I'm not worried at all."
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Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun hasn't committed to coaching beyond this season after taking a more than three-week medical leave of absence for an undisclosed reason. He did say, however, that the leave wasn't cancer or cardiac related. The hesitation about next season has some recruits worried, but Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) shooting guard Jeremy Lamb isn't one of them.
"He spoke with one of my coaches and my dad, too, and he said that's he's fine," Lamb said of Calhoun. "I'm not worried about whether he'll be there next year or not. He said that he was going to be OK. I feel like he'll be coming back, and a big reason for me choosing Connecticut was because he's the coach. Still, it's not 100 percent because of him. I will be there either way next yea. But again, I think he'll be coaching me when I get there."
After the McDonald's selection committee unveiled its highly anticipated All-American list, the basketball public put out a list of its own -- The All-American Snub List. Names like Justin Coleman (Huntington Prep, W.Va.), ranked No. 50 in the ESPNU 100, Phil Pressey (Episcopal School of Dallas, Texas), No. 41, and Dion Waiters (Life Center Academy, N.J.), No. 13, have floated around on message boards for the last week from fans adamant that the committee gave them the shaft. But the one name that seemed to pop up the most was Ryan Harrow (Walton, Marietta, Ga.).
In a point guard heavy 2010 class, Harrow, ranked No. 37 in the ESPNU 100, ended up being the odd-man out.
"It's really disappointing because I've worked really hard to put myself in a position to make the game," said Harrow, a North Carolina State signee. "There are a couple of other all-star games I may be able to make, but I'm not gonna be surprised if I don't get picked. I'll be disappointed, but I won't be surprised. I still think that hard work pays off, just not when you want it to all the time. I'll use this as motivation to work even harder."
It came as no surprise to local coaches and talent evaluators that there were no McDonald's All-American selections from California. The Golden State leads in all-time McDonald's All-Americans, but was shut out for the first time in the event's 33-year history.
One only has to look at the state's top teams for an indication as to why. Top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), currently No. 7 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50, has three fine players, but two of them basically are wing players (UCLA-bound Tyler Lamb and Arizona State-bound Keala King) and the team's elder statesman, Gary Franklin Jr., is a point guard in a guard-heavy class.
State No. 2 Westchester, No. 11 in the FAB 50, is a veteran group that relies on its interchangeable parts, familiarity and teamwork more than individual offensive prowess. Wing Kareem Jamar and guard Jordin Mayes have long been two underappreciated talents on the West Coast.
Perennial powers in the talent-heavy SoCal region are also down in many ways. "Look at the schools that are down," said Mr. Basketball USA panelist and www.fullctpress.net publisher Dinos Trigonis. "Artesia and Dominguez are nowhere to be found. Redondo Union, Upland, Glendora, West Covina, Manual Arts, Fremont, Paramount, JSerra, Villa Park, Pasadena, Muir, Dorsey, Oxnard, Victor Valley, Crescenta Valley, Los Alamitos, Long Beach Jordan, Campbell Hall and Cleveland of Reseda. Who has replaced them (as good teams)?"
Ronnie Flores contributed to this story.
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