Ever tried to find
that misplaced checkbook, but you don’t know where to start looking?
Maybe you suddenly looked in your empty back pocket after making a
purchase, and realized that it could be in a hundred different places.
That’s the best way to describe covering the college recruiting beat.
There’s no starting place, no point of reference. Unless a coach or
smaller level source is in tune with the recruiting happenings and more
importantly willing to share sacred information, beat writers are often
left with few nuggets of information.
So in order to solidify solid info, the reporters are forced to rely on
other beat writers from across the nation to break stories. Like the
coaches, who definitely aren’t talking with Joe Reporter, these small
town reporters have developed a bond with the potential recruits.
Barring a stakeout of the athletic facilities, Joe Reporter has no way
of knowing what’s going on. And for some reason, this basketball
administration would like to keep it that way. It’s on the local media
to grab the scoop, but labeling them lazy is far from the truth.
Take Darrell “Smooch” Jenkins for example. Jenkins’ commitment was
first reported by The Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho. Jenkins played
for the College of Southern Idaho, which isn’t exactly a high profile
school. And it’s in Idaho, a mere 35 hour drive from Greenville.
Once a lead is established, a story becomes quite easy. In fact, I had
a phone exchange with College of Southern Idaho head coach Barret Peery
on Wednesday to discuss Jenkins, but our schedules didn’t correlate.
Outside of Jenkins, the recruiting trail remains wide open. Any junior
college or prep school ballplayer is fair game to be signed by Ricky
Stokes and his staff. And many times the coaches or information
directors at these schools are uncooperative.
Still, ECU has a couple of scholarships still to hand out to combat
some problems with depth. Don’t be surprised if the staff chooses to
hold a scholarship or two for the next class because only Courtney
Captain will become a senior. Plenty of instate juniors are considering
ECU among their favorites.
According to a Miami-Dade Community College assistant coach, junior
college recruit Stuard Baldonado is no longer being considered by the
Pirates. Baldonado (6-7, 250) had been recruited by Kansas St. as well
as the ECU, but has reportedly only made visits to Hofstra, Oregon St.
and UTEP. Duquesne is also actively pursuing Baldonado.
Robert Spence said that ECU “chose another kid over [Baldonado].” The
power forward is listed as a top-30 junior college recruit. Baldonado’s
head coach Butch Estes, is a former Pirate assistant.
Paul Guede, a 6-foot-5 forward from Grace Christian School in Sanford
spurned Winthrop, UNC-Wilmington and ECU by choosing Valparaiso.
It is unclear whether the N.C. recruit was offered a scholarship by
ECU. However, there is a good chance that Guede will attend prep school
instead of Valpo.
According to the Cecil Times in M.D., point guard Kyle Camper (6-3,
190) will announce his commitment by the end of the week. Camper had
been reportedly recruited by Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight, but
will likely side with either Iona or Drexel with ECU being a distant
Camper is a winner. He helped lead his high school team to a perfect
28-0 season and 2A State Championship as a junior in 2002. While at
Cecil, Camper was red-shirted in the 04-05 season. According to the
school’s website, head coach Bill Lewit thinks Camper “is a strong
physical, athletic, skilled guard.”
Pay attention to a couple of transfers. Raleigh native Monty Sanders
(6-6, 225) recently transferred from the University of Richmond. He was
recruited by Jerry Wainwright from Cardinal Gibbons High School, but
Wainwright bolted for DePaul. Sanders reportedly was headed to
UNC-Wilmington, but with a new coach, that decision may be in flux.
Other long shot transfers are point guards Zam Fredrick from Georgia
Tech and Devan Downey from Cincinnati. Both have expressed strong
interest in South Carolina, but with the Gamecocks strapped for
scholarships and Stokes’ previous connections, it might be a
With the N.C. State continuous coaching carousel, Herb Sendek has to be
laughing in Tempe. But he will be laughing harder because former
McDonald’s All-American and Duke transfer Eric Boateng is close to
signing with Arizona St.