Baylor’s Recruiting Strategy: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Posted by rtmsf on April 9th, 2012

It’s no secret among college basketball observers that the recruiting prowess of Baylor’s Scott Drew has been largely looked upon with a skeptical eye. In just the past three recruiting cycles, Drew has signed top 10 prospects Perry Jones, III, (2010), Quincy Miller (2011), and Isaiah Austin (2012), making the Christian school in Waco, Texas, one of the premier destinations for elite high school basketball recruits in the country. To those skeptics, Baylor’s quick ascendance from Big 12 doormat to national relevance perhaps signaled that Drew’s recruiting bounty may have been achieved through extraordinary measures — some of which may have been counter to the rules and regulations of the NCAA.

Baylor's Drew Is Feeling Some NCAA Heat, But Does He Care?

The critics appear to have some basis. According to a report released today by ESPN.com’s Jason King, both Drew and Baylor women’s basketball coach, Kim Mulkey, presided over staffs who rampantly and repeatedly violated NCAA rules via text and phone communication with prospects during impermissible periods. Most of these contacts were alleged to have occurred during a 29-month span from 2007-10, but the total number of violations are staggering — 738 impermissible text messages and 528 impermissible phone calls between the two programs.

In a bit of an ironic twist, it was Baylor women’s star Brittney Griner – the Anthony Davis of the women’s game — who in 2008 as a high school star originally notified the NCAA about Baylor’s impermissible contacts. She eventually signed and matriculated at the school anyway, leading the Bears to a flawless 40-0 title season in 2011-12. Since the majority of these contact violations occurred from 2-5 years ago, and the men’s program has since reached two Elite Eights and the women’s program has made an Elite Eight, a Final Four, and won a National Championship, is it wrong to suggest that the illicit contacts performed by Baylor staff to entice elite recruits such as Jones, Griner, Miller, et al, was well worth the risk?

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Big 12 Morning Five: 10.20.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 20th, 2011

  1. The men’s basketball media day for the Big 12 begins this morning, but the women’s side produced some interesting comments yesterday. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey told reporters she would not schedule Texas A&M once it bolts for the SEC next year. She even likened the situation to a nasty divorce, saying “if it’s over, it’s over.” On the men’s side, Kansas coach Bill Self said a few weeks ago he would consider cutting Missouri from the schedule if it left the league, but he didn’t make any definitive comments like Mulkey. Although her decision to discontinue a series with A&M has no impact on Big 12 men’s hoops, it’s still an interesting thought to consider. Will Texas A&M’s Big 12 rivalries cease to exist? And if so, how soon will they become extinct?
  2. Speaking of Big 12 basketball in Texas, new Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie called his program a ”goldmine” today, an optimistic view on a team that consists almost exclusively of new faces this year. On one hand, he’s right — Tech has the ability to recruit the entire state of Texas, and it’s a school with a lot of resources and recent tradition under Bob Knight. However, it’s more of a challenge than Gillispie makes it sound. Tech has struggled to fill its arena at times, and it’s had a tough time competing with the top Texas programs for players on the recruiting trail. If there’s a man to get things done in Lubbock, though, it’s probably Gillispie. After all, nobody would have ever called Texas A&M a “goldmine” either, but he created a consistently solid program there — and we shouldn’t forget that he also did very good things at UTEP prior to that.
  3. We introduced you to freshman Quincy Miller in our New Faces series earlier this week, and he’s certainly one of several stars for the Baylor Bears this season. However, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the impact of incoming point guard Pierre Jackson, who garnered his own column over at Big12Hoops.com. It’s essential for Scott Drew to get consistent point guard play, and Jackson’s one of the top junior college recruits for the Class of 2011 at that position. At 5’10″ in stature, he’s not going to wow anybody physically, but he’s a game-changing point guard who dishes, dunks and scores. Look out for Jackson as one of the key pieces on this year’s squad.
  4. Keeping with the blog theme, a Missouri blog broke down the program’s eight “awful” months of turmoil, dating all the way back to a collapse during Big 12 play at the end of last season. When you take the time to reflect on the Tigers’ struggles, it’s astonishing what they’ve been through. They tumbled to an 8-8 finish in the league after a promising Top 10 ranking during non-conference play, and then lost head coach Mike Anderson to Arkansas. After that, of course, Missouri made the unpopular Frank Haith hire, who in turn found himself at the center of a controversy dating back from his days at Miami. Did we forget anything? How about the Matt Painter miss? Or the Laurence Bowers injury? Boy, oh boy, it’s been a rough eight months in Columbia.
  5. Haith can at least take solace in a new recruit, though. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported yesterday afternoon that center Ryan Rosburg committed to Missouri, giving the Tigers some much-needed bulk in the paint. He’s 6’10″ and nearly 250 pounds, and he chose MU over Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Missouri State. His older brother, Andy, has already walked on to the team, so that’s also an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. Rosburg isn’t considered an elite recruit, but he should provide the Tigers with a back-to-the-basket option in the paint in coming years. A true center in Columbia? Believe it. These aren’t Mike Anderson’s Tigers anymore.
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