On signing day, college coaches love to talk about "winners" and value the importance of their recruits having won prep championships. Is this merely coachspeak, or is a state title something you regard as fairly important when evaluating a player?
That’s the question we posed this week to our national hoops team.
Rob Harrington: Obviously, it depends on the situation. Some teams are overpowered within their division and thus it would really only be newsworthy if they somehow did not win the title. But then you have highly competitive states with rich history such as Indiana, where the winners always impress me as having notched a very meaningful accomplishment.LeBron James caught a lot of people's attention by leading St. Vincent-St. Mary to a title during his freshman season. Meaningful? I'd say so. But then I've seen teams with multiple high-majors toy with the opposition, and those players might then go on to lackluster college careers. As always, you never know until you do, and there's no one factor than can predict a player's success.
Evan Daniels: I think a state championship is extremely meaningful. Is it going to have a major impact on my thoughts as the player as a long term prospect? Probably not. But it's certainly meaningful and an accomplishment the players and teams should obviously strive for.
That said, I think it can add to a player’s overall profile. Look at Malik Newman, for example, he already has three state championships and looks primed to be right there for another. That's a big deal. That should be celebrated. It adds to his overall profile.
As Rob mentioned, a state championship means more in certain states and against a certain level of competition. These teams get together and practice hours and hours to try and bring home a state title, that's an accomplishment.
Brian Snow: For me, a state title isn't that serious. Sure I would rather a top player win a state title than not, but at the end of the day it just isn't much of a factor at all in an evaluation process. I don't even think Anthony Davis' team had a .500 record his senior year, but he was still pretty good and has turned out okay.
Some kids are on teams with very little help, some kids are in more loaded areas of the country where it is tougher to win titles, and different states have different systems for their state tournament, so there are a million factors that go into winning a state title that have nothing to do with the kid or his ability going forward. It is a nice little feather in the cap for the kid, but it really has no bearing in my opinion on how good or not good a kid is.
Josh Gershon: It's a good bonus, but it's just one of the dozens to hundreds of data points we are using to evaluate a player. Don't get me wrong, if a kid puts his team on his back and leads them to a title, I'm definitely taking note of it, but if it's a 5-foot-5 shoot-first unathletic point guard who does it then it's not something which will move the needle for me.
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this article