When I covered high school sports my first year out of college, I remember asking former Arizona coach John Mackovic about the trend of college football coaches still pursuing prospects who had already verbally committed to other schools.
"Coaches are great gentlemen except two weeks out of the year: the last two weeks of the recruiting period," Mackovic said. "In those two weeks, we ruin our reputations."
What has been common in football for years is becoming more prevalent in hoops.
Earlier this offseason, Tom Crean took to Twitter to complain that "more and more people never stop recruiting other school's pledges" soon after top Indiana target Trey Lyles announced he was reopening his recruitment. Kansas commit Brannen Greene told SI.com last week he's still being recruited with the fervor by other staffs as if he were still undecided. Then Tuesday, via CBSports.com's Jeff Borzello, comes the story of Austin Torres, a 6-foot-6 Indiana native who committed to Central Michigan last week only to renege on that pledge when Notre Dame coach Mike Brey offered a scholarship four days later.
"I told coach Brey on Thursday that this was a dream and something I wanted to pursue," Torres told CBSSports.com. "I was sure I wanted this to happen. And then I decommitted on Friday."
Brey didn't violate any NCAA rules wooing an unsigned recruit, nor is he even close to the first basketball coach to keep chasing another school's commit. But the fact that an established and respected coach like Brey wouldn't hesitate to pursue Torres days after he chose Central Michigan suggests college basketball recruiting is starting to resemble football more and more.
There are two sides to Brey's actions.
On the one hand, it would have been classy of Brey to give Central Michigan coach Keno Davis a heads-up that he intended to keep recruiting Torres, a gesture that CBSSports.com reported Brey did not make. On the other hand, Brey's job is to do whatever it takes within the rules to help Notre Dame win — and that's exactly what he did.
Torres is a two-star forward who had mostly been recruited by mid-majors prior to Brey's interest, but his addition makes sense for the Irish. Not only is he a local product who grew up minutes from the Notre Dame campus, he's an AAU teammate of Notre Dame's top class of 2013 recruit, guard Demetrius Jackson.
However you feel about Brey's decision to pluck Torres from Central Michigan, it's a reminder of one thing: Nothing is final in recruiting in either football or basketball until the signing period begins and pen can finally hit paper.
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