Ah, the first day of the fall signing period …
Look, there’s nothing wrong at all with getting excited about the potential newcomers to your program if you’re a fan. But I have to admit I’ve never been that jazzed about signing day … I guess because I’m not a fan. But also because it’s all speculation.
Not that it isn’t based on something substantive. Recruiting web sites evaluate players and talk to coaches. But how they really make a decision between, say, who’s 17 and who’s 22 … I don’t know. You can be pretty sure if a lot of big schools are after somebody, she’s probably quite good. They don’t usually miss.
But it seems to me that sometimes people get worked up about recruits the way they do about a new gadget. It’s exciting because it’s new and holds all this promise … but then they figure out it takes some work to get it running
Plus, there are always players who turn out very good even though they were never all that highly regarded in the prep rankings. Which reminds me of the time, several years ago, Kansas State coach Deb Patterson was talking about how some people claimed that they had “always known” that Nicole Ohlde would be a college star even though she was not a blue-chipper.
“Oh yeah, sure, they knew,” Patterson said. “I believe that like I believe something totally crazy …like I’m going to live on Mars someday.”
Which still cracks me up. I’m not sure if there really were any such people going around claiming, after the fact, to have been prescient about Ohlde’s success … or if it they were just those “straw-man” critics that all coaches seem to convince themselves exist.
But the point is, Ohlde truly wasn’t highly regarded _ if memory serves, she wasn’t in anybody’s top 100, in part because she didn’t play a lot of AAU ball – but she became a two-time All-American and is still competing in the WNBA.
That said, usually the kids ranked highly do end up having pretty good careers. There are a few who fall short or come up bust completely. But of the latter, especially, there really just aren’t that many.
By the same token, don’t expect coaches to say anything but glowing stuff about the incoming signees, no matter what skill level they are. The quotes are the same year after year, to the extent that if you believe them, then every coach is always deliriously happy with whom they are bringing in.
And we know that isn’t true. Some are, for sure. From what it appears, Duke should be that happy with what is projecting as the No. 1 class. Whether that will thaw those Blue Devil fans still cold toward coach Joanne P. McCallie, we’ll see.
Further, we won’t know how this top class for Duke – or any other school’s signees _ will actually react in college until they get there. But .. it’s OK for you to be excited in regard to the new crop. Even if you can’t be totally sure what you’re excited about.