The Skinny on Olu Famutimi and Luol Deng Recruitments
It is unproductive to cry over spilled recruiting milk. However, it is worth looking at the two elite swingmen who recently chose other schools than Missouri, and try to understand the motivations and dynamics of these situations.
From several reports, Famutimi spent the summer telling his friends in Michigan that it was all but a done deal...he was going to Missouri. In fact, it is ambiguous at best, if Olu verbally committed to the Tigers on his official visit. You can find very credible sources who will swear that he did, and that he definitely did not.
Two factors cannot be in question in this recruitment:
- First, Olu was looking for some guarantees. He was looking for an assurance that he would be an immediate starter and that he would be showcased next season. He made it clear to the schools that recruited him that he intends to be a "one and out" type of player, meaning that he wants to make the biggest splash possible next season so he can move on to the NBA the following season. Clearly, Arkansas could make those guarantees and Missouri could not.
- Second, Missouri's great relationship with Olu's AAU coach Chris Grier was more than offset by Grier's existing relationship with the new Arkansas staff. What could have been an asset in most recruiting battles, was nothing more than a push in this case.
Regarding Luol Deng, in the final outcome, Deng wanted to go to Duke from the beginning and the cards were completely stacked in Duke's favor in this recruitment.
For Missouri, Indiana or Virginia to have a chance, they had to get past Deng's high school coach at Blair Academy. In the Academy setting, contact with the athletes are carefully regulated. If the coach there doesn't want you talking to his player...you don't talk to his player. By all accounts, this coach was solidly in Duke's corner from the beginning. The fact that Deng had last minute thoughts of attending one of the other three schools instead of Duke is really quite remarkable given how this recruitment unfolded.
So to both young men, we wish them good luck and hopefully they will look back on their choices and have no regrets in the future.
Life Goes On...
If Missouri had just missed out on recruiting a highly-touted point guard or center, the Tigers would be in trouble right now. However, quality small forwards are plentiful in the junior college ranks.
Supermizzou.net has identified at least three potential targets that the Tigers will likely pursue to fill out the 2003 recruiting class.
6'-4", 175 lbs.
|Chipola Community College, Florida||Highly recruited swingman coming out of high school who originally committed to LSU|
|Harvey Thomas||6'-9", 200 lbs.||Northeastern State, Oklahoma||
Committed to Georgetown originally. Thomas was ranked between #17 to #20 nationally. He played his high school ball at Hamilton High School in Fredericksburg, VA
|Jeff Varem||6'-6", 230 lbs.||Vincence College, Indiana||Played point guard last season. Coach Dan Sparks says that Varem is a slasher who will be moved to small foward this season. He is also being recruited by Cincy, Indiana, Wyoming and Villanova. Varem is a Nigerian native.|
As more information and names surface, we will pass them along to you, the premium subscribers to this service, as soon as possible