It's rare to hear a coach openly express disappointment about losing a recruit to another school; that sort of admission requires special circumstances. That's exactly what San Diego State coach Steve Fisher has: special circumstances. Well, that and a vacant scholarship.
On Friday, Kansas announced that former Loyola Marymount forward Kevin Young -- who sat out last year and focused on academics at San Bernadino Community College, where he graduated with an associate's degree -- had committed to the Jayhawks and would be eligible to play immediately during the upcoming season. His new coach, Bill Self, said he'll be an "impact player" right away.
Bully for Kansas, right? The only problem, at least as far as Fisher is concerned, is that Young had previously committed to San Diego State. Because Young had already signed his one allowed letter of intent at Loyola, he could only sign a financial aid agreement with SDSU. Financial aid agreements bind schools to players, but players can break the agreement at any time. Whatever the legal vagaries of his commitment, though, Fisher didn't much like the fact that Young didn't follow through. He wasn't too pleased with Kansas, either.
"I'm disappointed that a young man who I am very fond of would not feel an obligation to honor an eight-month commitment," Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said. "And I'm equally disappointed in a program and coach I'm very fond of to pursue a player who made an eight-month commitment."
Accusing another program of sliding in and recruiting a player despite his commitment to another school is as close as college recruiters will get to fightin' words. Naturally, Self had to respond, and he did so by stressing that Young had de-committed from SDSU before Kansas made any approach:
“I don’t blame coach Fisher for being disappointed at all because Kevin did commit to them,” Self said, “but Kevin also told them he wasn’t going to San Diego State before we recruited him, so we didn’t steal him from San Diego State by any stretch.
“We would not have recruited Kevin if he was committed to San Diego State. He did de-commit from them before we pursued him at all. We did not recruit him until after he de-committed,” KU’s coach stressed.
Unfortunately for San Diego State, there's not a whole lot Fisher can do or say about that. Young had the right to leave. Kansas had the right to pick him up. Unless there's some nefarious, behind-the-scenes stuff we don't know about related to the timing of Young's decision, Fisher is stuck with his complaints and not much else. Not that that makes it any better:
"Unfortunately," Fisher said, "the only people who suffer in this situation is us because we passed over three or four very talented players because we did honor our commitment."
Throw in the loss of someone apparently good enough to be an impact player at Kansas in his first year with the program, and for Fisher & Co., there's no other way to say it: This one hurts.