Sunday, November 05, 2006
My thoughts on Recruiting
Just when I thought Cal might have a sub-Top 20 recruiting class he pulls off what is arguably his most prized recruit yet since coming to Memphis. Certainly both Darius Washington and Dajuan Wagner were top notch, but Derrick Rose is the highest profile to date.
Imagine a program where you as a fan and an analyst wonder how your going to play three point guards - Rose (a freshman to be next year), Kemp (a sophomore next year) and Allen (a senior next year). At this point, who cares..........nice problem to have.
The fans who believe the Memphis program goes on without a hitch if Cal was gone are nuts. Yes, Memphis has tradition, but not really on a national scale. If you poll people in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Atlanta, we probably aren't mentioned in the same group as Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana and Duke. As a storied program we are probably just outside of the top 20.
I don't believe fans are understanding the impact of the weaker Conference USA. When Louisville, Cincy and Marquette bolted for the Big East, it was a dagger in the heart for Memphis. We need those programs when we are down. We are very fortunate that Cal had this program in the position it was in 18 months ago when the defection came.
Memphis can survive and thrive like UNLV in 1980's and 1990's under Tark the Shark (please no felony convictions) even being in a lesser conference, but staying on top is very hard without the support of a major conference.
Cal is a recruiting star and Memphis can stay in the national spotlight as long as the likes of a Derrick Rose hit the program every three to four years. If Cal can continually create a Top 15 class, maintain the media spotlight and play a national, competitive schedule, Memphis will thrive.
The next step toward becoming a Top 15 to 20 storied program like Arizona, Connecticut, Louisville, and Georgetown is some consistent trips to the elite eight and beyond.