Basketball has become more about politics than performance on the court. Recruiting services like Rivals, Scout, MaxPreps, and ESPN have totally changed the way players approach the game of basketball. With all the information provided to college coaches over the internet, college coaches don’t even have to go to gyms to recruit kids anymore.
A lot of the recruiting process is politics. Kids who play for the better high school or AAU teams get recruited by the better schools. The bad thing about recruiting kids online is that recruiters only see the stats. Stats show how dominant player are; however, they don’t provide information on a kid’s background. There have been plenty of successful high school ball players who dominated high school basketball, but that doesn’t mean they’re humble or have a good enough work ethic. Being humble is a great quality to have as a person on and off the basketball court, and one that is often overlooked in today’s recruiting scene. Take Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant, for instance.
In their freshman seasons, both attended National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, MD. As juniors, they both transferred to national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy and dominated, becoming prominent college recruits in the process. As seniors, they both transferred to a school closer to home. Both won the MVP award of the McDonald’s All-American game. They both went to schools in the Big 12 conference, where they both won conference freshman of the year awards. Both declared for the NBA draft after their freshman season, and both were selected 2nd overall in the draft.
The similarities end there. Look at them now, their careers are totally different. Michael Beasley is known as a trouble maker off the court and Kevin Durant is an exemplary face of the franchise. Once college recruiters start valuing character over stats, college athletics will groom a better generation of players on the court and role models off of it.