Like most elite high school basketball players in the 2017 class, Norman (Norman, Okla.) point guard Trae Young was beyond excited when the clock struck midnight on June 15 and his cell phone began buzzing and lighting up so frequently you would’ve thought it was malfunctioning.
The NCAA permits college basketball coaches to make unlimited calls and send unlimited texts to recruits June 15 after their sophomore year.
“It was pretty crazy,” Young said.
Five months later the constant fawning from the countless coaches trying to make a lasting impression has, somewhat, taken its toll and made the current Early Signing Period, which ends Wednesday, attractive to Young.
His peers, however, are divided on the timing of their plan to officially end their recruitment.
High school basketball players can only sign during their senior year.
“You see all the guys posting on social media signing their letters and that’s exciting to me,” said Young, who is ranked No. 4 among point guards in the ESPN 60. “I just don’t want to go through my senior season with that hanging over my head. I want to be able to have fun and just focus on my senior year and working hard on and off the court. I definitely plan to sign early.”
Centennial (Las Vegas) guard Troy Brown Jr. has a different perspective.
While Brown can certainly understand Young’s train of thought, he feels like the “early bird” approach could hurt opportunities for his teammates.
“I just have a different mindset,” said Brown, who is ranked No. 14 overall in the ESPN 60. “I think about my teammates and I think about getting them exposure so a part of me wants to wait until the later period when my time comes because it could help my teammates get looks from coaches. The coaches could be in the stands to see me and then start liking one of my teammates or call another coach who’s looking for a player at that position and put him on like that. It happens all the time; for that reason I’m leaning toward maybe waiting.”
Father Tolton Catholic (Columbia, Mo.) forward Michael Porter Jr. has seen all of the happy posts on social media from his friends in the 2016 class that signed over the last week and said the relief is evident.
“I know how much of a load off that is for them,” said Porter, who is ranked No. 3 overall in the ESPN 60. “I just can’t see myself having that big decision over my head going into my senior season. Cant’ see it. It would just help me to have it done with earlier than later.”
It helps the coaches too, a point Young was quick to expand on.
“I just don’t wanna waste anyone’s time, and I know the coaches can move on if they know for sure where you stand,” Young said. “I am enjoying the process right now, but I can’t see me being in the same position, dealing with a bunch of different coaches, as a senior.”
Smart move, according to Virginia Episcopal School (Lynchburg, Va.) forward Sacha Killeya-Jones, and he would know.
Killeya-Jones, a senior who is ranked No. 31 overall in the ESPN 100, signed with Kentucky on Nov. 14 to eliminate the distraction of the recruitment process.
“Guys have to do what’s best for them, but my advice is definitely to sign during this time,” Killeya-Jones said. “When you don’t have to worry about calling a bunch of coaches back or answering a whole bunch of different questions it’s so much better because you don’t have anything distracting you from getting better. That’s the only thing you should be concerned about the year before college.”
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