Marquis Teague, a 5-star point guard and the number 2 rated player in the class of 2011, is announcing his college choice today at a 1:30 p.m. EDT press conference. This particular announcement has no specific bearing on Georgetown as we never really recruited him and he is choosing between Kentucky and Louisville (and is expected to pick the Wildcats). But after reading this post from Card Chronicle, I couldn't help but see the parallels between Louisville's recruiting difficulties and our own.
More after The Jump:I really suggest reading the whole article, because it's a pretty realistic look at college recruiting in the current landscape and, most likely, going forward. The key point, though, is that coaches are hired to win basketball games and make deep NCAA tournament runs, but the focus for coaches like Pitino and JTIII is clearly on the team and long term growth of the program, while coaches like Calipari focus more on highlighting the individual talent, which is more intriguing to guys who are focused on their NBA future.
I also don't think its irrational for the Knight/Gilcrist/Teague level players to realize they would rather have a system that shows off their individual skills for potential multi-million-dollar-a-year employers than one in which everyone plays less minutes, there is less emphasis on individual scoring and more emphasis on team/winning. It's not like they aren't still going to win a ton of games at UK. It's not like they are going to Depaul or St. Louis. But they are going to a system that wins with an offense designed to highlight their individual skills, and a system that gives its best players tons of minutes. They play aggressive man-to-man defense because they are really athletic, but they aren't going to get pulled if their man scores.
One-and-done guys are not what Pitino is really looking for and are just not the best fits for Pitino's system. Teague was the exception because of his family history, and apparently Blackshear has the same work ethic/team mentality that may make him fit if he doesn't jump ship in the next 12-18 months, which is a lot of time to be worried about as history has shown us. The 2011-2012 team will still be really good, with a couple of 4-stars ending up here, including guys we've probably not even thought about yet. But it will probably not be relying on superstar freshman to deliver us our fist championship in 25+ years. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a program, but as we saw this year, it does not guarantee anything.
If you wanted to play in the NBA and it was clear that you were a one-and-done, and you had the last 3-4 years as your frame of reference, and especially you saw this last season at UK and knew that you had a chance to have that same sort of season because of the other 5-star, one-and-done guys that were going to UK, and you had Lebron calling and telling you about how much money John Wall was going to make as a part of Lebron's stable, would you really have to think that hard about this decision?
Obviously, I have a hard time, as most of us will, with the comparison between Pitino and JTIII, because, well, I love JTIII and generally despise Pitino, but the truth of the matter is that purely from a coaching standpoint there are similarities. They both run systems that are complicated and take work to learn and neither system makes a lot of sense for one-and-done type players, because they are about working as a team and there is little focus on individual talent.
My point isn't really to compare us to Louisville or JTIII to Pitino, to argue who the better coach is or argue who has it tougher. I also don't want to complain about the system the JTIII uses, the job he is doing recruiting (which has been good) or the focus that he has for the program, because he's still managed to win his share of games and has even had a number of players go to the NBA. The post just brings up an interesting issue that Georgetown will have to overcome on the recruiting front going forward (something they've done a very good job of so far in my eyes). Greg Monroe was a notable exception to all of this, but players like Greg (in status, not actual game and work ethic) will continue to get more difficult for us to recruit going forward because of the flash that places like Kentucky can offer. None of this is particularly new, of course, but it remains interesting and obviously, is something to think about as the summer goes along.