Although I had been working on another article recently, with the college basketball Fall signing period fast approaching, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to push it aside and do one on the effects that recruiting has on fans.
While the average fan probably only follows recruiting by what they hear from the national media, there are some of us who actually let it consume an enormous chunk of our time. We may not realize it at the time, and maybe not until it’s mentioned to us, but we do. We check the various message boards we are members of, we reach out to fellow fans whom we trust or think may have an inside connection to a particular recruit, and of course we have our social media notifications turned on at all times…you know, just in case.
I personally do all of the above. I have also traveled some pretty good distances to check out a recruit or two myself. And I’ve done this for years, dating back to watching a young Calbert Cheaney play in high school. The furthest I’ve traveled was a 6 1/2 drive to Jefferson City, Mo. to watch two recruits, OG Anunoby & Juwan Morgan, that had already signed with my beloved Indiana Hoosiers, play against each other in a mid-week rivalry game.
It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t follow recruiting like we do. I mean heck, I can’t even it explain it to myself sometimes. All I know is, it’s a part of who I am. I am beside myself with excitement and happiness when the prized recruit the coaching staff has targeted announces his college choice is Indiana University. Of course that excitement and happiness is also there when a diamond in the rough chooses IU too. But it’s not always about the final decision either. For me, it’s also about the rush I get during the whole recruiting process.
The “Roller Coaster.” Let’s take this year for example. The lift hill: My Indiana Hoosiers had three kids committed to the program for this upcoming season and I was pretty intrigued and excited about the things that all three could bring to the team. The drop: Then it was announced that there would be a coaching change, and needless to say, all three announced their intentions to de-commit. The long straight away and into the tunnel: Most fans had their favorites in mind, but were kind of in the dark. Anxiety was running high in Hoosier Nation and it was centered around who would be the next coach to lead the Hoosiers. We would soon learn that Ryan Joseph “Archie” Miller would be that guy.
The second climb: With that announcement having been made, and most Hoosier fans happy with the choice, excitement and optimism about the upcoming season, and the future, was starting to rise. The loop: Everyone was kind of shocked and thrown for a loop when Coach Miller was able to visit all three recruits and re-secure their commitments to play for the Hoosiers. It was somewhat of a shock considering he hadn’t recruited any of the three while he was at Dayton, but in a very short amount of time convinced them to stay on board.
The speed: Recruiting kind of hit record breaking speed with four commitments for the 2018-2019 season within a very small window. And the commitments all filled a specific need for the team going forward considering the roster for next year. The last climb: With those commitments and the season approaching, everything was looking up. The top of that last climb was reached when the final two recruits on the coaches radar announced that they intended to visit Indiana University on official visits for Hoosier Hysteria.
The corkscrew: With Romeo Langford & Darius Garland, both 5-Star, top 10 ranked guards wanted by the who’s who of college basketball programs seriously considering the Hoosiers, the Fall signing period and the season literally days away, fans like myself who follow recruiting very closely feel as though we’re in a never ending corkscrew with trying to follow every message board, every tweet, every Crystal Ball prediction and every “I know someone who knows someone and they said” claim that’s out there.
The fact of the matter is this. In a very short amount of time, with or without a Langford and/or Garland commitment, Coach Miller has put his stamp on this program and sent notice that recruiting is going to be at a whole new level. Which is both exciting and time consuming for me and likeminded fans. When we come out of this corkscrew and this years “recruiting ride” is over, we will either ease on into the unloading dock with four very talented recruits for next year, or we will start heading up what could be a huge hill of success with five or six of them. Either way, there’s a lot to be excited about going forward.
*Based on nothing other than my gut feeling, we get both Garland & Langford. Darius gets home from his UCLA visit this weekend, takes a little time to talk things over with his parents, calls Romeo to tell him he’s chosen IU and then schedules his announcement. Romeo, having returned from his visit to Kansas this weekend, talks things over with his parents, talks to Darius, cuts his list to three, and after Garland officially announces and signs, decides that the opportunity to form one of the best backcourts in the nation with his friend is too much to pass up and decides to announce and sign shortly after Garland does. Maybe thats just wishful thinking, and maybe I’m wearing Crimson colored glasses, but c’mon, it sounds pretty good doesn’t it?