Brian: As Steve Donahue starts to reach out and begin repairing BC basketball’s relationships in the Northeast, I have to wonder whether recruiting pipelines - specifically in the Northeast - truly matter in college basketball? As we all know, BC football has found a ton of success by establishing recruiting pipelines in areas like Cincinnati and northern New Jersey, but does establishing similar pipelines in basketball truly help?
Here's a look at the map of where the last 5 classes of BC’s recruits (2004-2009) come from (click on a marker to get more details about the recruit and their hometown):
What's surprising to me is the lack of talent Skinner was recruiting in ACC states. Of these 19 recruits, only 3 come from ACC territory (Virginia’s Tyrese Rice, North Carolina’s Evan Neisler and Florida’s Evan Ravenel). The other 16 recruits come from such far-flung places as Fort Collins, Colorado, Houston, Texas, Saginaw, Michigan and right here in Evanston, Illinois.
Do you place an importance on geographic recruiting pipelines in college basketball? Or with the tough academic requirements of the school and the men's program's unique style of play, is it more important to find players that fit your school/system from all over the country? Your thoughts?
Jeff: Skinner was able to build a successful program, but one that never made recruiting splashes, by looking all over the country for guys he liked and would fit at BC. He got guys from Nebraska, Colorado, California, Minnesota, Texas and other places to fill rosters and to take chances on under the radar guys. This strategy paid big dividends while in the Big East, but since moving to the ACC, the pre-ACC recruits had success at first but the new recruits have not enjoyed the success we all hope for. Therefore, Al Skinner is no longer the coach at Boston College.
So was it Al's recruiting style that was his downfall, his style of play, or just simply BC's move to the ACC that contributed for things not working out? Unfortunately, with the importance of AAU basketball in recruiting these days, I would say Skinner's lack of a recruiting pipeline anywhere was a big part of the downfall of the program and as it appears right now, his coaching career. These days, a lot of the best players play on these All-Star type AAU programs around the country and the coaches of these AAU teams are sending players to major D-1 schools annually. If Skinner had had a few more connections with coaches like these, it would be a lot easier to land a decent recruit who may not have otherwise been sold on BC. Kids are very impressionable and if a coach they trust is telling them BC is the place for them, Skinner's job would've been a lot easier and he would not have depended on players who other coaches passed over to be the face of our program.
Thoughts? Do geographic recruiting pipelines matter for BC and ACC basketball? Or are you happy with Donahue scouring the country for players that fit with the school and his system?