Over the past few days I've spoken with a handful of the area's high school, club and college basketball coaches about the Conference Commissioners Association's proposal to eliminate the July recruiting period.
Here are some of their thoughts on eliminating the July period, illegal recruiting, the club scene and more.
Northwestern assistant coach Tavaras Hardy: "I don't think it would be a good idea, just because at the end of the day we want to make our own decisions and trust our own opinions. The opportunity to see those kids in one location like everyone is saying helps us. I think the high school season is good, but it requires a school like us, one who is a national recruiting school, to try and only pick off Chicago kids. I'd love to do that, but we need to recruit nationally. The opportunity to see national kids really helps us.
"I think from our standpoint, taking away the summer evaluation period isn't the answer, just like taking away the April recruiting period wasn't the answer. I think the goal throughout this thing is to get the young men and their parents to make the right choices for the right reasons. That needs to be looked at. Outside influences, people who are trying to steer kids to places for the wrong reasons, needs to be evaluated. That stuff is going on."
MeanStreets club coach Tai Streets: "I think it's ridiculous that [the NCAA] would do something like that. Absolutely ridiculous. That's just hurting the kids. You want them to get seen as much as possible. I just think that's wrong as usual. The NCAA is just greedy to me. They want all the money they can get.
"Anthony Davis would have never been known about. Kentucky would have never been able to see him. He got to play in April, May, July in front of all those coaches. There's a lot of things I don't agree with. Hopefully, it won't happen, but we'll see."
UIC coach Howard Moore: "You always hear some negative things [in recruiting]. Who the handlers are? This coach is only influenced by this guy. You hear about certain things. You hear stories. Those are the minority. Me, myself, I haven't had to handle those things. The people I have worked for in the past avoid those issues. The majority of people want to go out and recruit good students and good people.
"I don't see why we should [return to scouting local high school events in the summer.] That worked for our era. It's not our era. Things have changed. This is the norm now. When I played we didn't have to leave Chicago to be recruited. It's a broader spectrum now where you want to see the best kids in the country play against the best kids. To see the best kids in the East and West play is tremendous."
Illinois Wolves club coach Mike Mullins: "I think they want eliminate what they think are the undue influences from outside parties in the recruiting process. What they fail to see is that they obviously have problems in their own sport with coaches and schools being involved in recruiting investigations. It has nothing to do with summer basketball. Instead of pointing their fingers outside the house, they should point it in.
"[If you say there's a problem in club coaching], it's the same as saying that all college coaches cheat. If you look at the papers, it's the University of Connecticut. It's the University of Tennessee. It's the University of Kentucky. They all have these investigations going on. These things only affect the top-10, top-20 players in the country, the one being considered as eventual lottery picks. They're not involved with the other 1,500 Division I recruits. The NCAA is disenfranchising 95 percent of their schools. The amazing thing is none of them were consulted on it. At least with the April period, they were consulted with it. It doesn't solve anything that they are intending to do. It probably creates even more problem areas."
St. Rita High School coach Gary DeCesare (former DePaul assistant): "I got a whole different philosophy on it. I don't think there should be a dead period, July period. If you look at the D-I transfers, there's over 360. Obviously, what's in place now is not working. I don't understand why we have all these live and dead periods. I said this when I was in high school coaching nine years ago. I believe they now have 130 days during the high school season and 20 during the summer. That's 150. You don't need that many days. Give them 100 days, and let them go out whenever they want. The dead period should be the national holidays. Why can't they go to the Olympic festival in August or watch the Bob Gibbons' tournament in May or go out in September and watch the Boo Williams' tournament? The universities pay a lot of money to compliance people, and what they're saying is they can't police their own staff. If you allow them to go out 100 days, and you can't police their guys, there's a problem with college basketball."
Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy: "What I think is it hurts programs like ours, the mid-majors or whatever. From a budget standpoint in July, you get to watch a whole bunch of teams at one site. When you talk about cost-cutting that helps. If you eliminate that, schools that don't have major budgets can't get around a lot. The other side of it is it hurts kids. The high-major players and high-major programs, it won't affect them. It'll affect some of those kids that go under the radar and the mid-major kids.
"It's like the old saying, ‘One rotten apple spoils the bunch.' You got guys in there you have to question their integrity, but you have a whole bunch of AAU coaches who are doing it for the right reasons and doing it for the kids. It's the bad ones who put a black eye on the program."
Whitney Young High School coach Tyrone Slaughter "Unbelievable. I don't know if it's a bad idea. I think it puts a lot of pressure on the college coaches to get where they need to be in a short period of time when they're also in season. I think it lends credence to other things popping up where other people having a greater impact. You have to rely on other people and outsiders to make assessments. I don't know what that ultimately does to the game.
"It's clearly not a decision to help the game. It's to take an element out of the game, if we're going to be honest in what we're doing. Shouldn't we be making rules to help the game and help the student-athletes? It's a game-changer in a negative way. This isn't the silver bullet to fix what they perceive to be the problem."