Will coaches give up a little July to get back April?

July, 29, 2009
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The chatter about getting rid of the July evaluation period makes sense for high-profile programs like Kentucky, Michigan State and UCLA.

But not for the majority of programs in Division I, and that's the reason why a public call for eliminating the summer recruiting season will likely fall flat at the National Association of Basketball Coaches board meeting Aug. 25-26 in Kansas City. Kentucky coach John Calipari has gone on record saying he'd like to get rid of summer recruiting.

"I don't think it's real at all," said Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli, a member of the NABC board. "[July] is too important for too many programs. It's likely going to be reduced maybe seven days on and seven days off [it's currently 10 and 10].

"If you look at the people talking about eliminating it, it's the biggest of the bigs like Calipari and Michigan State. But the Vermonts of the world need it. They need the access to the players. I'm just praying we get something back in April."

A number of coaches have spent this month playing catch-up in watching high school sophomores and juniors because this past April was the first time coaches weren't allowed to evaluate at any of the spring weekend tournaments. Access was limited to workouts at high school gyms, which at that time of the year are minimal.

UCLA assistant Scott Duncan said he'd like to see recruiting go from April 15 to June 15 and then have the coaches be on campus or even take a vacation from June 15 to Sept. 9 when home visits begin.

"If you see the kids in May and June, then you can spend the summer on campus with your players," Duncan said.

When the NCAA's board of directors meets later this summer, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero will be pushing legislation that would allow players registered in summer school to work out with their college coach for at least two hours a week. The hope is that this legislation passes in time for the summer of 2010.

Martelli said any adjustment to the summer recruiting calendar wouldn't come before 2011.

NABC associate director Reggie Minton said he has heard from a number of college coaches this month about tweaking the July evaluation period. The constant complaint is that by the latter part of the month the games aren't very fundamentally sound since players are worn down from the travel and competition of the previous three weeks.

Minton said the coaches would be open to reducing July if they could get something back in April. But part of the problem is that the NABC sent out surveys last season and the coaches didn't overwhelmingly support going to events in April.

"More than 50 percent of the head coaches said they like it the way it is," Minton said. "So as far as we're concerned, that's our mandate."

Minton said he expects a spirited meeting next month on the subject.

If the object is to get back to recruiting more out of the high school, then more evaluation time has to be given to coaches during the academic year, especially in the spring.

• Kansas coach Bill Self said he expects junior guard Sherron Collins to get down to 207 pounds by the time the season starts. He said Collins was up to 229 at one point and then down to 213.

"He had some things going on and he had to shut it down for six weeks and let his body heal up from a long season," Self said. "He also had some personal things going on with his mother. She's fine and feels better."

Kansas remained the consensus No. 1 selection among the coaches who were on ESPNU on Sunday and Monday night. With the development of Tyshawn Taylor for the gold-medal-winning U.S. Under-19 team in New Zealand and the arrival of Xavier Henry, the Jayhawks now have at least four consistent scorers, as opposed to two last season.

Self said he expects some of the pressure to score to be taken off Collins and Cole Aldrich, the only two players who averaged double figures for KU last season.

• Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said he feels like he has a complete team for the first time in years. The buzz is obviously brewing over incoming freshman Derrick Favors and how much he can excel next to Gani Lawal inside. Lawal decided against staying in June's NBA draft.

• Kentucky's rising junior Patrick Patterson and incoming freshman Daniel Orton have been working out with former NBA coach Bob Hill and Blake Griffin's trainer Frank Matrisciano the past few weeks in the Bay Area. The buzz on Patterson is that he has become ready for a bust-out season by putting his body through a rigorous training schedule and not relenting one bit when he tires.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer


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