I’m not sure how I missed this story when it first surfaced last November, and I know it involves basketball, not football, recruiting, but still, think about the implications if this became commonplace.
… There is some debate as to whom is the best high school player in America, but I’m here to tell you that there is no doubt who is the smartest.
His name is DeMarcus Cousins.
You could also make a case that Cousins is the most physically talented player in the country. At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, he possesses an NBA-ready body with shooting range that extends beyond the three-point line. Rivals.com ranks Cousins No. 2 in the class of 2009. Scout.com ranks him No. 10. Last March, Cousins, who attends LeFlore High in Mobile, Ala., announced his intention to stay near home and play for UAB.
Cousins is ready to put pen to paper and make his commitment to UAB official, but he’s adding one wrinkle: He wants UAB to put in writing that if Blazers coach Mike Davis is not at UAB next season, then the school will release Cousins from his National Letter of Intent (NLI).
“My whole point of committing to the school was to play for coach Mike Davis,” Cousins told me Monday. “If he gets another job offer or leaves for his own personal reasons, I want to be able to leave [UAB] without any problems. I need that in writing so there won’t be any issues. That’s real important to me.”
As far as I can tell, Cousins has stuck to his guns. He hasn’t signed with any school to date and wants to see where former UAB coach Mike Davis lands before making a final decision.
But back to the main point. Could the system withstand the shock of fairness here? After all, the NCAA likes to perpetuate as a truism the myth that every recruit commits to the institution not the coach. Riiiight. That’s why Tennessee now has an athletic department display of football players who played for members of UT’s current staff at other schools and went on to NFL careers. Good ol’ Rocky Top indeedy.
Basketball has an early signing date for recruits that football lacks. If anything, that makes what Cousins asked for even fairer. If college football ever goes down that early date road, I hope the NCAA concedes this little bit of control, although I doubt it would. The irony is that it would indirectly benefit the coach on shaky ground who still managed to assemble a good class of commits (**cough** Fulmer** cough**). Because there’s that other truism about recruiting being the lifeblood of a college program that might actually have some legs to it.