According to BasketballReference.com, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights can count 10 NBA players in their history. The program’s own media guide claims 19 who have been part of an NBA Draft.
None of them are named Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton or Shabazz Napier. Probably because all three went to UConn.
So you can imagine the surprise that likely spread around the Huskies basketball offices Wednesday morning when they awoke to a red and black shaded tweet from Rutgers basketball with Allen, Napier and Hamilton figuring prominently and a big headline reading $1.1 billion earned.
— Rutgers Basketball (@RutgersMBB) August 31, 2016
Somewhere, former Huskies coach Jim Calhoun is probably wondering if he missed a page on his resume, or if he Rip Van Winkled his way through his days in Piscataway.
In small letters, the tweet explains “total earnings by Rutgers staff coached players.’’ Both head coach Steve Pikiell and assistant coach Karl Hobbs did coach at UConn and tutored all three, so technically the tweet isn’t inaccurate.
Technically, it’s also inane. Certainly, Pikiell is right in trying to drum up interest in his program, and trying to find something to sell in a place that has less rich history than 15-year-old Florida Gulf Coast isn’t easy.
But this stretches even the reaches of recruiting hard-sell absurdity, which is really hard to do.
Imagine,for instance if others followed suit. When Larry Brown was at SMU, the Mustangs could have claimed Allen Iverson and Danny Manning. Tennessee can now say it has ties to Kevin Durant, and Elon could tout its great basketball connection, Steph Curry. Head coach Matt Matheny did coach Curry at Davidson, after all.
As desperate as a team might be to re-position its future by recreating its past, it’s best to stay in your own lane. Even if it’s the slow lane.