Yesterday, yours truly got all high and mighty about DePaul's decision to block recruit Walter Pitchford's appeal to be released from the national letter of intent he signed with the school last fall. Pitchford signed with the school when former coach Jerry Wainwright was still in the building; now Wainwright is gone and Pitchford wants out. DePaul, struggling to keep pace in the Big East and faced with a rebuilding project under new coach Oliver Purnell, basically just told Pitchford no. Which is pretty ridiculous, when you really think about it.
Here we are, a mere day later, and the story remains the same. This time we turn our attentions to fellow Big East cellar-dweller Providence, where recruit Joseph Young, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard from Houston, Tex., has asked Providence coach Keno Davis for a release from his letter of intent. Davis' response sounds a lot like DePaul's: No, you're going to stay.
“Joe Young signed a National Letter of Intent... and we expect that he will honor that commitment,” Providence coach Keno Davis said.
Naturally, the Young family isn't too happy about this. Michael Young, the player's father, insists the request is thanks to his sister's recent series of open-heart surgeries:
“We're concerned about my sister,” Michael Young said. “Sports and basketball, it is what it is. If that can work out and he's able to stay close to home and play this year, fine. Right now, we're done to talking to Providence. We have nothing else to talk about. Providence as we can see is not family. We put family first.”
I'm not sure this means Providence isn't "family first." I just think it means the program is desperate.
The truth is that the motive for the player's release request shouldn't matter. If a recruit decides he doesn't want to come to your school, then you should let him go. If you're Keno Davis, that's a hard calculus to figure; you probably spent the better part of the last two years recruiting Joseph Young, and now you want to see the fruits of that labor pay off.
But if a recruit is no longer enthusiastic about being your player, somewhere along the line, you lost him. You have to let him go. It's that simple. It's especially bad when a school refuses to do so in the midst of a coaching change -- looking at you again, DePaul -- but it's always bad.