Monday, September 22, 2008

Mid-Major Recruiting

Mid-majors have been having an unbelievable summer recruiting wise. First, Rivals No. 2 class of 2009 recruit DeMarcus Cousins commits to UAB. Then Zeke Marshall (No. 37 to Akron), Aaric Murray (No. 35 to La Salle), and Greg Smith (No. 87 to Fresno St.) all went the mid-major route. Now, Rashanti Harris, the No. 26 recruit in the class of 2009, has committed to Georgia State. If you are counting, that is five of the top 90 players (and top 15 big men) that have decided to go to school outside of the power conferences.

Don't get me wrong, schools like Xavier, Memphis, Gonzaga, and Nevada have been landing highly touted recruits for a long time, but those are four of the best basketball programs in America right now. You would be hard pressed to find someone in the know about college hoops that would call any of them a true mid-major. So what is going on? Does it have anything to do with guys like Rodney Stuckey (Eastern Washington), Paul Millsap (Louisiana Tech), Jason Thompson (Rider), George Hill (IUPUI), or Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky) getting drafted in the first round (or in Millsap's case, having a successful career after being a second-rounder) in recent years? Maybe it does. Maybe these kids are thinking that they can star at these small schools against weaker competition, which would highlight there strengths and hide their flaws. Maybe the recruiters at the smaller schools are harping on this fact. Or maybe it is just a lucky year for mid-majors.

Regardless, all of the guys listed above are big men, and unless you are a Greg Oden or Michael Beasley (which none of these guys are supposed to be), you are usually more of a work in progress than a finished product. So unless they want to put up huge numbers but still have some fatal flaws in their game (think JaVale McGee), these guys will still need to work (and work hard) to become NBA prospects.

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