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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: College basketball recruiting has become one big spectacle

I had a tough decision choosing between four prestigious universities as an 18-year-old high school senior.

I remember sitting at the dinner table with my mother, father and brother, going over the pros and cons of each school. It was overwhelming, to say the least.

Just three years removed from my decision, I remember the process like it was yesterday, but I did not have hundreds of thousands of people awaiting my decision, watching my every move like a hawk.

The spectacle of college basketball recruiting has been blown completely out of proportion. April Fools’ Day was an excellent example of why.

Five-star recruit Terrance Ferguson tweeted in the afternoon he would be making his college decision via video at 6 p.m. In the meantime, Ferguson retweeted every mention of his name.

When the clock hit 6 p.m., Ferguson posted a video along with the caption, “April Fools.” The internet went ballistic.

All the tweets have since been removed from Twitter. But that’s not the problem at hand. Ferguson was just trying to have a little fun. Instead, he received backlash and hateful comments for hours.

Arizona recruit Kobi Simmons supported Ferguson and played along with an April Fools’ joke of his own: a fake commitment to the University of North Carolina.

Simmons himself has been at the hand of much of the recruiting drama as of late, especially with the top recruit in Josh Jackson.

Simmons posted a video on Twitter alongside Jackson during the McDonalds All-American game in which Jackson says, “UA Wildcats, you already know.”

Related: Josh Jackson continues to mull over decision between Arizona, Kansas and Michigan State.

The game of recruiting has become absurd. Media outlets have analysts who specifically focus on recruiting and spend every waking moment following prospects on Twitter and Instagram. While it’s not necessarily a new concept, it’s just too overwhelming for recruits.

Jackson is the perfect example. For the past few months, analysts have predicted the front runner over and over again, flip flopping pretty much every day. In fact, it seems like everybody is a recruiting analyst these days.

This may be the result of Twitter, as you can see if you search his name. In this digital age, don’t expect it to stop anytime soon.

Recruiting web sites such as Rivals and 247 Sports implemented items such as the crystal ball to predict which schools the recruits will attend. The percentage numbers change almost every single day. Recruiting has become a spectacle and the pressure can be seen on athletes.

Ferguson and Jackson, two of the highest-profiled Arizona targets, have each received 13 offers, still remaining uncommitted. UA commits Simmons and Rawle Alkins received 24 before committing to Arizona.

“You should begin your basketball recruiting process in the seventh or eighth grade,” according to NCSA Sports.

That should be the most ridiculous statement you see all day.

The University of Miami football program offered a scholarship to eighth-grader Harrison Bailey in February. Michael Robertson Jr., an eighth-grade running back out of Georgia, received a scholarship offer earlier this year from the University of Georgia. Eighth-grader Chris Lewis was offered scholarships in 2012 to play college basketball at the Universities of New Mexico and Memphis. Lewis recently committed to Harvard University in January 2015.

You get my point.

Let them make their own decisions and give recruits a break. Try playing in the limelight in front of thousands of people with your career on the line while making a decision that will effect the rest of your life. It can’t be fun. 


Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.


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