Sunday, May 03, 2009

Isiah Thomas Stays In The News

It seems like Isiah "Thompson" can't stay out of the news, with the newest attack being that he failed to personally phone recruits whose services would no longer be needed. I once again can't believe I find myself defending Isiah, but this story seems like much ado about nothing for a few reasons.

First of all, this story resonates because a lot of people don't understand the process of recruiting at high level basketball programs. New coaches often get rid of recruits that were in the pipeline, but because most casual fans don't know that they already get a bad vibe from this article because they're upset at Isiah for breaking promises the school had made. As for not personally making phone calls... did he have assistants make the calls? Maybe he was told that it was find for assistants to make the calls? And besides, these kids and high school coaches know how this game is played, and to whine about something so silly as who made the actual phone call is really stupid.

Finally, I think a lot of high school coaches are trying to take advantage of this situation. They know that everytime Isiah sneezes it makes national news. If they make an allegation that he's doing something improper they're immediately going to have a national soap box, which they can use to bring attention for their school and their program. I don't think anybody was running to Sports Illustrated if the previous FIU coach did the same thing.

Look, we know how Isiah is going to play the next couple of years. He is going to sign as many Juco players as he can this offseason to try to put together a team that can finish in the top four or five in the Sun Belt and maybe make a run in the conference tournament. He's going to spend a lot of time on the AAU circuit and will put together what will almost certainly be one of the top two recruiting classes in the conference for 2010. It makes sense for him to go with Juco players now for a couple of reasons. For one, he doens't want to wait three years to have decent players, and wants to win as many games in his first season as he can to keep the buzz about his program going. And there just aren't many decent high school recruits for '09 left anyway.

With this long post completed, I'm going to say that I'm going to try to avoid talking about Isiah. The fact is that this blog is about projecting Tournament teams for next season, and FIU almost certainly won't be one. I'm sure I'll mention FIU at some point in the next 10 months, but I won't spend as much time as the national media. Too often the stories will be like this: a ton of national ado and scorn about something that happens at 200 other programs around the country without anybody caring. And I just don't care.

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