For the last few months, aggressive recruiters have scrambled to try and convince kids to visit their campus this weekend. Many programs feed off bringing underclassmen onto campus for a big time event like Midnight Madness.
"I think it's important for the simple fact because of the excitement, the hype and the level of enthusiasm," one assistant said. "When you're a 17-year old kid, who wouldn't be infatuated with a particular school when 15,000 people have painted faces and signs for a start of a practice at midnight?"
It's important to understand that while some programs hold the Midnight Madness event in high regard, others will to lure prospects onto campus in the next two weeks when the teams lace them up and scrimmage for the first time. The pre-season scrimmage is another big tool for getting underclassmen onto campus.
"With Midnight Madness, there's very little basketball substance," one assistant said. "It's the first time you can get together in the new year with a basketball. You can't have an effective practice with all the people there and you can't have an effective scrimmage because you haven't practiced. Basically it's maybe a lay up line, some 3-on-3 and some 1-on-1. Then you have all the marketing things."
Regardless, there are an extraordinarily high number of prospects making the trip to campus this weekend. For instance, Arizona, Arkansas and Kansas have elite level players en masse heading into their gyms.
This weekend is so important to recruiting that we called a high number of underclassmen to poll them in regards to their whereabouts for the first official weekend of the season.
In doing our homework, we arrived at a fairly comprehensive – but not exhausting list – of visitors. We caught up with top prospects like Brandan Wright, D.J. Augustin, Kevin Durant, Tywon Lawson and Vernon Macklin and each indicated they would not be making trips for Midnight Madness. For what it's worth, Durant said he would have gone to Kentucky if he could travel that weekend.
So, here you go, one of the most important lists we produce each year. Note where these tops underclassmen are spending their time this weekend and pay attention to see if it matters in their choices down the road.
Underclassman Unofficial Visitors
Deaquan Cook (Cincinnati) Cole Aldrich (Kansas) Jerry Smith (Kansas) Matt Bouldin (Kansas) Wayne Chism (Arkansas) Willie Kemp (Arkansas) Pierre Niles (Arkansas) Thaddeus Young (Arkansas) Mike Sanchez (Arkansas) Alex Stepheson (Arizona) James Keefe (Arizona) Chase Budinger (Arizona) Quincy Poindexter (Arizona) Josh Lomers (Arizona) Keith Olson (Arizona) Lance Thomas (UConn, tentative) Eric Wallace (North Carolina) Derrick Rose (DePaul) Brian Carlwell (DePaul) James Dews (Michigan State) Tom Herzog (Michigan State) David Lighty (Ohio State, Saturday) Scott Reynolds (Michigan) Isaiah Dahlman (Iowa, Sat.) Jason Bohannon (Iowa) Eric Hayes (Maryland) Aaron Holmes (Miami-FL) Dwayne Collins (Miami-FL, Thurs.) Dwayne Collins (Florida, Fri.) A.J. Stewart (Florida) Jamie Skeen (Florida) Mitchell Carter (Marquette) Corey Lucious (Marquette) Brian Brown (Marquette) Joevan Catron (Marquette) Bryce Webster (Marquette) Scott Christopherson (Marquette) Albert Jackson (Xavier)