It began Wednesday night at 10:29 p.m. That's when my phone rang and the wild and wacky world of recruiting began to exert its influence on college basketball programs around the nation.
The first hint of craziness came with that first telephone call. A report out of the Big Apple was hinting that Sylven Landesberg (Scout.com No. 39) had committed to Virginia over St. John's and Georgia Tech. The news naturally stirred up a lot of emotions in each program.
Calls to the Landesberg house and various insider sources yielded no confirmations. From what we could tell, no one directly involved in the situation had communicated with each other but somehow "word" leaked out. After chasing the story for 47 minutes, it was time to move on.
Olek Czyz, the highest rated Polish prospect in the Scout.com Top 100 (yes, that was an attempt to be funny), just picked Duke. Bad news for the Louisville Cardinals but another story on Duke's campus. Czyz is an extremely athletic power forward. Getting home on the horn at 8 p.m. his time shouldn't be too tough or should it?
After receiving the initial text message from a source who didn't want to inject himself into the story, myself and Evan Daniels began chasing Czyz. Earlier in the week we were told the 6-foot-7 forward would be in touch or we'd get a call from his high school coach. At this point, the fever of the story was hot and it was time to find someone to help us lock down the news.
After digging up old emails we tried getting in touch with his guardian. The internet yielded a home phone number and we had Olek's cell. We didn't have the high school coach's digits and his number was unlisted. Doors were closing.
"Olek, its Dave Telep … Congrats on the news … Need a comment from u for a story … thx." After sending the text message, we could only hope for a return call. 15 minutes later, Olek was on the other line breaking down what went into the pledge.
We couldn't resist. "Olek, how could you say no to a Polish coach and assistant," we asked. "It would look bad if I said to a Polish coach," Czyz said laughing.
OK, so far we've got two stories and we've put one to bed. Still no word on Landesberg and its after midnight. Daniels and I were on the phone talking. Both of us were tired but neither in a hurry to hit the sack. At 12:22 a.m. the next text message delivering the news came over.
"Put a call into Danny Herz at American Heritage and/or Kenny Gillion tomorrow morning," a source texted. We asked the dumb question if it was too late now (which of course it was) and tabled the idea of breaking the Eloy Vargas story. We figured the local paper would run it in the morning.
Vargas would be a Gator but the news - at least on Scout.com's end - would have to wait until the morning. Our window for breaking story with quotes shut down before it even opened.
Time for bed. On the docket for early Thursday morning was that Vargas commitment and then later in the afternoon a press conference for Landesberg that might be anticlimactic or would it?
Jeff Goodman texted me at 8:02 a.m. Thursday morning. While at the airport headed out of Beantown for a brief vacation, he was busy gathering quotes for a Vargas story. Jeff, now the national college basketball writer for FoxSports.com, used to work for us on the recruiting side of the company. Like always, he was willing to share some quotes. Within 20 minutes, the Vargas story was up.
However, while writing the Vargas story, I noticed it was after 8 a.m. My self imposed deadline for the appropriate time to call Steve Landesberg, Sylven's dad, had passed. At 8:17 I hit him up on his cell.
I asked him how the story could have broken already. "We haven't talked to anybody," Steve said. "We didn't make any announcement and haven't yet." He confirmed the press conference for 3 p.m., asked if I'd be attending and when I said I wouldn't we agreed to talk later in the day.
At this point, it's Thursday morning. The action that began only 11 hours ago has been fast and furious. We've got two of the stories on ice and the Landesberg commitment, well that one is going to have to wait for the press conference.
While most of the East Coast was in bed (or working on the Landesberg story), three Top 100 recruits were making news. It got a little hectic but with teamwork we were able to make it all come together in the end.
All that remains are that little press conference in the Big Apple Thursday afternoon where everyone expects the Virginia Cavaliers to land the Holy Cross star.
Reports out of NYC proved correct: Landesburg committed to UVA over St. John's and Georgia Tech during his press conference.