It was reported last week that Calvary Chapel (Downey, CA) combo guard Timothy Drisdom had verbally committed to Rick Majerus and Utah. Turns out that story was more speculative scoop than careful research, since Tim had not committed to anybody or communicated as such. Tim's mother was shocked and upset by this story, and made certain that her son get the word out that he was not yet done with his decision.
The intrigue for Stanford recruitniks lies in the statements from Drisdom that Stanford was one of his final schools under consideration. The Cardinal are looking for a guard in this class to provide another ball handler, and Drisdom would project as an excellent floor general.
I have had the chance to watch this fine guard play in Vegas with the L.A. Rockfish, and was duly impressed. He brings unusual size at 6'2" and 190 pounds to the position, which allows him to physically dominate most any guard who will try to defend him. But don't let that size fool you into thinking he would lack the speed and quickness of smaller points. He has an outstanding handle and showed against top competition that he can take defenders off the dribble. In addition to his great athleticism, Drisdom brings the penultimate quality you seek in a point guard: leadership. He brings both intelligent and emotional direction to his team, and struck me in Vegas as probably the best on-court coach at the point. It's a hackneyed expression in basketball writing, but Timothy really is an extension of the coach on the floor. In total, this is a kid coaches would absolutely love to have lead their team.
So with Stanford in play, and Drisdom an obviously desirable recruit, I talked to him about his current situation. He emphatically stated that he had no leader, and didn't want that to get out in the form of another erroneous verbal story. However, he was clear about his fondness for Utah, and said that he'll make a decision after he talks to his parents soon. It's easy to read from what he said that Timothy is ready to pull the trigger for Utah, but wants to make sure his parents are on board for the decision.
So how has Stanford come to a position behind Utah in this race? I had been told that there was caution and concern about his academics. When I asked Timothy about his scores, he proudly boasted his 3.5 GPA, but also disclosed a 930 on the SAT. He was quick to say that he was disappointed with that score, but that he "didn't prepare for it at all." Apparently, the test date came right up against a big game, so he didn't have the time for any preparation. Drisdom said he really wanted to reach a 1000 on the test, and might take it again. I asked specifically what feedback he got from the Stanford staff about those scores, and he said they were disappointed and urged him to take the test again. That might happen down the road, but he'll be committed to Utah or elsewhere likely before then.
In the end, this is a classic story that plays out with Stanford targets more often than Cardinalmaniacs realize. Stanford likes a kid, and he's interested in Stanford. A poor SAT or ACT tells the staff, though, that he's going to be a serious challenge to get through admissions, so they have to back off. Simply put, they can't make an offer, or pretensions of an impending offer, to a kid with poor academic prospects. Unless that recruit has a serious enough drive and desire for Stanford that he will work ardently toward bringing up his scores significantly, the relationship fades. Stanford has to back off their pursuit, and the recruit perceives that diminished interest. Thus, the game is effectively over early, even though Stanford might still be quoted to some recruiting gurus in his list of schools.
Alas, Utah should be getting an outstanding player and fine young man. Stanford fans can take solace in the fact that he didn't land at a Pac-10 campus. We certainly wish Timothy the best of luck in his coming collegiate career.