Monty Makes Stop in Lone Star State

You might have felt a lull in hoops recruiting action in August, as can be expected after the ridiculously intense activity in July. But this is the month that will shape the recruiting classes of most programs around the country come the November signing period, with a plethora of visits by both college coaches and recruits. One important such event comes today, as Mike Montgomery flies into San Antonio...

Cardinalmaniacs™ are very excited for the impending slate of official visits to be taken in the next 30 days by many of the top senior (2004) recruits on Stanford's wish list.  And rightfully so.  But what slips a little under the radar is the period that just opened for college coaches to go on the road for on-campus evaluations as well as in-home visits.  Tuesday was the first day allowed by NCAA rules for coaches to hit the road, and Mike Montgomery has already racked up a load of frequent flier miles with stops in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.

One of the most exciting in-home visits to be conducted, though, will transpire today as the Stanford head man rolls his carry-on bag off a big bird at the San Antonio International Airport.  The target in his sights: 6'9" power forward Trent Plaisted, who is a high-major recruits with incredible athleticism and upside.  With offers from both coasts and all over the Midwest, his is a hotly contested recruit.  But Stanford has an incredible chance.

"My top five right now are Stanford, Florida State, Washington State, BYU and Kansas," he recently told The Bootleg.  "Stanford probably stands at the top, but there still are a lot of decisions to make.  If I had to name a top three, I'd probably put Washington State and BYU up there as well."

If you are noticing a peculiar geographical thread running through that top trio, it is no coincidence.  Plaisted and his family lived for a short time while he was younger in California, and they are very partial to the idea of a return.  "All my family is out West," he describes.  "And we're thinking of moving out there if that's where I go to school."

Another theme travels through his favorite schools, as they have given him indications that he could walk into very favorable playing time opportunities.  Stanford of course is clawing tooth and nail to grab as many as three big men in this class if at all possible, with only two scholarship players over 6'6" who will be on the roster when the 2004 Class is set to arrive.  The Cardinal's biggest player in the entire 2003 recruiting class was 6'5" Fred Washington.

"At those places," Plaisted says of his top three, "there is no guarantee.  But those schools are saying I could play a lot of minutes, and maybe even find a starting spot my first year.  When I've talked with Coach Montgomery about it, he says there will be one senior and one junior when my class comes in.  There would be a really good opportunity to play."

"We've actually talked about a lot of non-basketball stuff," the recruit elaborates.  "Coach seems like a great guy, and he's very straight-forward.  Plus he has a great reputation.  To have a coach like Coach Montgomery come out to see me - it's a cool deal."

Any time you see BYU on a recruit's list, you can pretty safely deduce that the prospective student-athlete is a Mormon young man, and that is indeed the case with Plaisted.  However, he has said several times before that a taste of success his freshman year could keep him on campus four straight years.  Otherwise stated, it is not a given that he would take his Mormon mission.  Furthermore, religion does not appear to be a lead topic when he discusses his top factors for choosing a school.

"Stanford obviously has the best academic record, but school will take care of itself wherever I go," Plaisted opines.  "In addition to playing time, I want to look at the atmosphere at a place and the guys on the team.  I also want to see how I would fit in their system."

A looming question surrounding any Cardinal recruit is the admissions process, and Plaisted took care of business by submitting his application in late July.  When we recently spoke with him, he was still awaiting the word from the powers that be in Old Union, but he also said he was likely to get an answer by the time Montgomery comes for the in-home visit.  It would probably be difficult for the coach and recruit to have a serious talk about their future together if that cloud of uncertainty still hung over Plaisted.

When we last wrote about Trent Plaisted, you read all about his strong performance in Las Vegas at the Adidas Big Time, despite his playing for the first time with a deep and chemistry-rich San Antonio Rohawks squad.  He was set to rejoin his regular AAU team (of Nike sponsorship) in Orlando the next week for the AAU Nationals.  Unfortunately, things did not go as well as planned.

"Individually, I think I didn't perform well.  It was a very frustrating experience," he recalls.  "Some teammates tried to do things individually they couldn't do, and that came at the expense of the team.  AAU basketball is a guard-dominated thing, and that kinda happened in Orlando.  It's part of what happens with all those coaches watching from the stands.  But hey, Orlando was a pretty nice place."

In less than two weeks, Plaisted is scheduled to come see Stanford on his official visit (Sept. 25).  Between this in-home from Montgomery and that visit, we will be sure to check in with the athletic lefty from San Antonio for all his latest.

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