Referenced this book in the recruiting thread, but just finished “Play Their Hearts Out”, and it should be required reading for any realistic college basketball fan. If you want to keep your head in the sand and imagine that “attitude” is the difference between where we are and UCLA (and I sincerely do not intend to slight PC’s approach, or denigrate it), this book should wake you up to reality. Great muckraking without sanctimony, the guy who wrote it is a true pro.
It’s a freaking cesspool out there. The book chronicles the development of Demetrius Walker (once the hypester Clark Francis’s No. 1 eighth grader) and that of shoe company whoredom to the middle school level, but for us the most interesting (and fast moving) stuff is in the last few chapters, when college recruiting takes place in earnest. Suffice it to say, Tim Floyd was a dodged bullet. And Demetrius Walker dodged it, too, by changing his mind a few days before signing day by reaching out to Herb Sendek, who had never really pursued him.
When I was in high school, the PIAA banned high school coaches from running summer programs because they saw it as extending the basketball season too long for kids. I get that, but it opened up the gates for the whores and scumbags who now own the college basketball recruiting pipeline. Perhaps the PIAAs of the world don’t do anything about it because it only affects the top 500 or so prospects in the country, but the NCAA should shut it down by prohibiting coaches from observing the events (AAU and shoe company) and fashion the recruiting calendar around the high school seasons.