Rival Views: Should elites change their 2020 recruiting strategy?
For most of the spring, it was thought that the NBA would be changing Draft rules so that players could go directly to the league out of high school and that the class of 2020 would be the first that was impacted. Now, it looks like that change won't happen until at least 2021. However, with the end of one and done looming in the near future, should the top programs who have relied on one and done talent start changing their recruiting strategy? As usual, national analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans have Rival Views.
BOSSI'S VIEW: CHANGE MAY BE NEEDED
When I was out and about at tournaments during the April live period, many coaches at high level programs told me that they weren't investing much time recruiting top 10-15 type players because they figured they were bound for the NBA. Many of 2020's top players even made it clear that they would be inclined to enter the Draft. Now, they are all going to have to go to college -- or perhaps overseas or prep school for a year if they don't want to be a student -- and it puts coaches in an interesting position.
Are John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Self and other coaches who have had several one-and-dones going to stop chasing one-and-dones from the 2020 class? No. But, I think it might be a good idea to take a look into making a bit of a change to the recruiting process. It's one thing to replace three or four pros who leave after one year with another three or four pros. But, if I've learned anything since the option of going straight to the NBA started to become a possibility it's that in the first year kids can do it, more than should are going to enter the Draft.
In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see anywhere 15-20 players look to enter the Draft from the class of 2021 if they can do it. So, to prepare for that I think it would be wise to mix in a few more priorities from the 15-50 range of the rankings then those top tier elite guys. Yes, the best programs will still be first in line for the top talent that does go to school for a year or longer from the class of 2021. But, I'd be willing to bet that the schools who have players that ranked in that 15-50 range in 2020 will have much better sophomores for the 2021-22 season than those who have replenish several players with top 20-30 type kids will have freshman.
It doesn't have to be radical, but I think any staff worth their salt is taking a look at switching things up for 2020 and beyond. It's never too early to prepare.
EVANS' VIEW: NO NEED TO CHANGE
I think the nation's elite should stick with what got them to this point and recruit the best of the best no matter what. You're out of your mind if you think John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski are going to pass up a prospect like Jalen Green, Scottie Barnes or RJ Hampton in 2020 just because they won't be able to add a similar one-and-done talent in the following class.
Sure, the blue bloods could prioritize prospects that may stick around for multiple seasons while at the same time immediately helping as freshmen. However, coaches like Calipari and Krzyzewski have become accustomed to coaching the very best year in and year out and I do not see that changing in the foreseeable future
The recruiting philosophies of Duke, Kentucky and other blue bloods has always been about enrolling the best prospects possible. Sure, doing so right up until the one-and-done rule changes means they might take a minor step back the following season, but wouldn’t everyone else? If the top eight or so prospects from the class of 2021 are going to jump directly to the NBA, then Nos. 9-20 are going to be the top priority for programs like Duke and Kentucky. This continued domino effect would not hinder the blue bloods as much as it would hurt the lower high-major rung or the mid-major ranks. So, maybe the question should be, how quickly should those within the mid-major level turn their attention to the 2021 class so that their list of attainable prospects is not as severely limited?