All-Decade: Ten biggest recruiting storylines of the 2010s
Recruiting continues to evolve at warp speed, and the last decade has transformed this aspect of college athletics into something that would almost be unrecognizable 20 years ago. Rivals.com Basketball Analyst Corey Evans looks back at the 2010s and discusses 10 developments and storylines that impacted the college basketball recruiting landscape the most.
1. SOCIAL MEDIA
Twitter and Instagram have entirely changed the way that recruiting works. For college coaches, browsing through a prospect's social media accounts gives them a sense of who they are recruiting. For the prospect, it has become a way to show fans who they are and what they are about, on and off of the court. Ten years ago, the only avenue for fans to get to know prospects was through traditional media. Now, those fans are just a click away from knowing anything and everything about their favorite program's top targets.
2. TV DEALS
Television deals have dramatically altered the recruiting landscape by further widening the gap between the haves and have-nots in college athletics. First, it was the creation of the Big Ten Network that gave member programs an extra selling point with recruits and their families. The Pac-12 was next, and now practically all of the power leagues have their own TV networks that cater to all of their needs. Almost every Division I college basketball game can be viewed on TV or the Internet. Now, the family of a New England-based high school prospect can watch all of his games in the Pac-12 or SEC.
3. TRANSFER PORTAL
Transfers didn't start with the NCAA's implementation of the transfer portal, but its creation did streamline the entire process. Two years ago, college players would have to essentially ask permission to transfer. Now, players can simply direct their program's compliance director to enter their name into the portal. That doesn't guarantee players will find a suitable landing spot, but it gives them more power than they had before.
In recent years, Iowa State and Nevada have enjoyed high-level success thanks to the transfer market. The portal has elevated the transfer world to the forefront of recruiting and has made it a legitimate and reliable avenue for roster building.
4. UNLIMITED COMMUNICATION
There was once a time when college coaches were only be allowed to call prospects once a week. While they could find ways around such restrictions (e.g. sending direct messages on Twitter), new NCAA guidelines have allowed for much easier communication between coach and prospect.
5. SHOE CIRCUITS
The Nike Peach Jam has been running since 1996 but it wasn’t until the introduction of the Nike EYBL, adidas Gauntlet and the Under Armour Association that evaluating high school prospects became less cumbersome and more seamless for coaches and evaluators alike. Games are now streamlined, stats calculated, coaching is consistent and referees are credible.
6. FBI INVESTIGATION
The FBI's warning to rogue college basketball programs - ‘We have your playbook’ - sent tremors throughout the college coaching and recruiting world In September 2017. While the fallout from the government's investigation into college basketball corruption has yet to be fully realized, the way we view the game and some of those involved in it has changed as a result.
YouTube was founded in 2005, but it took until the 2010s for the platform to really impact college basketball. Whether it was the highlights of Seventh Woods dunking all over the place and hitting his head off the backboard, the Zion Williamson show that sent fans into hysteria, or LeBron James running onto the floor after his son, Bronny James, nailed his first dunk, YouTube has helped push the future of the sport into the mainstream. Now someone like Williamson can become a national phenomenon before stepping onto a college campus. That wasn't possible a decade ago.
8. THE BROTHERHOOD
What Mike Krzyzewski has achieved in Durham has been nothing short of remarkable but it wasn’t until the past decade that the term ‘Brotherhood’ was slapped onto the Duke basketball fraternity. The term seemed to stick after a 2015 season that saw Tyus Jones, Justice Winslow and Jahlil Okafor catapult their success into NBA first-round selections. Now, top Duke targets often discuss the possibility of joining the Brotherhood, which is genius and effective on Coach K’s part.
9. JOHN CALIPARI AND THE ONE-AND-DONE
While John Calipari banked on the one-and-done rule at Memphis, he took it to another level at Kentucky. Now, the Wildcats enroll blue-chip prospect after blue-chip prospect with the expectation that they will develop and guide them to the NBA. There have been some misses along the way, but no one is more forward-thinking in college basketball than Calipari. Whether it was first class at Kentucky that featured John Wall and Boogie Cousins, or his most recent consisting of Tyrese Maxey and Khalil Whitney, Cal brought the one-and-done into the spotlight and has made others change their own tactics along the way.
10. RECRUITING GRAPHICS AND VIDEOS
The days of prospects announcing their visit plans or commitments through recruiting networks or traditional media outlets are over. Now prospects publish these news items themselves, and typically do so with a custom-made recruiting graphic or video. No one could have expected 10 years ago the level of creative freedom that prospects have in announcing details of their recruitment, but that level of expression is commonplace now.