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Continued: Debate continues over unlimited contact with basketball recruits

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 17, 2013 - 11:21 AM

In a March 20 news release, the NCAA said it now plans to reconsider the football and women’s basketball proposals, as well as the legislation allowing unlimited contact in men’s basketball recruiting. The review will begin at a May 2 board meeting.

“Suspending these proposals for continued review will provide our coaches, administrators and student-athletes the additional opportunity to have their voices heard,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement.

Critics expressed concern that further deregulation might lead to a “recruiting arms race that could overwhelm prospects,” the NCAA news release said.

There is concern at the national high school level as well.

“I’m not sure if free access is good any of the time,” said Theresia Wynns, the National Federation of State High School Association’s director of sports overseeing boys’ and girls’ basketball. “The great athletes are going to be inundated with texts. We need to look at how they might interfere with the student’s life. He or she is in class and a text comes up. All these things relate to academics and get involved with other parts of a student-athlete’s life.”

Player protection vs. bonding

Wynns has even heard about highly pursued athletes using two phones — one for recruiting, one for personal life.

Veteran Hopkins boys’ basketball coach Ken Novak Jr. recommends players have a parent or mentor’s phone number to provide protection from intrusions.

“If a kid loves being catered to, and doesn’t have any direction, it can be a problem,” Novak said. “We try to educate our players.”

Hopkins junior guard Jake Wright and DeLaSalle sophomore guard Jarvis Johnson support unlimited contact.

Wright, a midlevel Division I recruit, said: “I’m probably at two coaches a day right now. It feels good to know a coach is interested in you.”

Wright caught a glimpse of what it’s like to be the most recruited point guard in the country. After last year’s Nike Elite Youth Basketball League’s Peach Jam tournament, Apple Valley’s Jones recapped his postgame message load with Wright — checking in were Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kansas’ Bill Self, Kentucky’s John Calipari and more.

DeLaSalle’s four-star point guard is excited for June 15, the day college coaches can “blow up” his phone.

Johnson will play with Jones, Travis and Wright this summer on the EYBL tour, which is considered to be the most heavily recruited AAU circuit.

“I think it’s good, because you get to know the coach better. It becomes a bond type of thing,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to get ready for the process. But I want my phone to blow up. It’s part of the basketball life and part of the process.”

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