The phrase, “recruiting never stops,” is one of those that became a cliche because it’s true.
Whenever I sit down to do a recruiting roundup like the one I put up Wednesday, I inevitably find three times as much info as I was expecting.
I guess that’s a good sign Southwest Ohio is a great place to find talented players, though, so I’m certainly not going to complain.
Watching stars emerge from each generation, do spectacular stuff then move on to try to do even bigger and better things at the next level is a great joy of this business.
I’m happy to highlight the great players we have in the region, so I welcome all the help I can get in doing so.
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Trotwood-Madison High School was bustling with activity Thursday morning as one star made his college decision official and two more in the Rams pipeline looked forward to their days in the spotlight.
Senior Myles Belyeu announced he is going to Saginaw State, a Division II school in Michigan that is probably getting a steal in the talented and mature first-team All-Ohioan everyone raves about on and off the court.
Junior Amari Davis already has Division I offers with hopes of getting into an even bigger pond sooner if not later.
It was an interesting dichotomy because while playing college basketball anywhere is an awesome opportunity, one couldn’t help but wonder if larger programs — certainly including Dayton, Wright State and Miami U. — were missing the boat with Belyeu.
I’m sure recruiting has never been an exact science, but sometimes coaches miss opportunities to add players who can really help them when they fall into the projection trap.
That means by recruiting only players who are a certain size or speed, they miss prospects who can just play.
(Is there a better recent local example of this than Norris Cole III?)
At 6-foot-2, Belyeu isn’t the ideal height for a college wing, but he has already accomplished more than plenty of guys who got Division I scholarships this year and will go on to do more at Saginaw than many of them, too.
I understand the need to project what a teenager will grow into is an essential part of maximizing a roster in recruiting, but I often wonder if the coaching world as a whole has made too many compromises in terms of athleticism and potential for actual ability to play the game.
Beyond that, intangibles are by definition hard to assess with certainty, but that’s also where having some local knowledge comes into play -- if a coach is willing to take advantage of it.
With lots of roster churn thanks to recent coaching changes, it’s hard to believe none of the local Division I schools could find a place for a player who does everything you want except for stand two inches taller…
As for Davis, I was impressed with his confidence in his situation.
Of course, it’s easier to feel that way when you already have some Division I offers in your back pocket, but I can’t say I would have been as calm and cool as he came across when I was that age.
(But then I’d also already lost hope of being a college athlete by that point :))…
Then there is Justin Stephens.
The third college recruit I encountered at TMHS was an important player for the Division II state runner-up (he finished second in the GWOC in blocked shots), but he’s a bigger prospect as a football player.
Stephens has collected a handful of major offers this week, and when I saw him he was waiting around to meet with Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, who is also the tight ends coach.
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As you can imagine, Stephens is still in the fact-finding phase of his recruitment, but he already knows what he wants to study in college — cyber security.
Even before news broke later in the day of Twitter’s issue, I thought that sounds like a pretty smart field to get into, at least when it comes to future job opportunities.
Maybe the big fella is already better at projecting than some of these college coaches…