LaVar Ball’s recruiting strategy for his new start-up basketball league isn’t exactly sophisticated.
He’s spamming nationally ranked high school seniors via direct messages on social media with invitations to give up their college eligibility and play in the Junior Basketball Association instead.
Mandy Zegarowski, the mother of Creighton signee Marcus Zegarowski, told Yahoo Sports on Friday that her son received the message below earlier this week. The Zegarowski family isn’t interested in joining the Junior Basketball Association.
Joseph Tipton, a designer who edits the photos top high school basketball players use to announce their college commitments, has been tracking which prospects have received offers from the Junior Basketball Association. Of the roughly 80 players invited so far, Tipton said that Arizona signee Brandon Williams is one of the very few who have expressed significant interest.
Tipton has posted to his Twitter account screen shots of the messages nearly two dozen prospects received, from Kentucky signee Tyler Herro, to Vanderbilt signee Simi Shittu, to Kansas signee Quentin Grimes. Every message is virtually identical. There’s no personal touch at all besides changing the first name.
In one notable case, the Big Baller Brand didn’t even get the first name right. Check out the spelling on Boston College-bound senior Jairus Hamilton’s invitation.
When LaVar Ball announced in December that he was forming the Junior Basketball Association, he said its purpose was to provide an alternative for highly ranked players who have graduated from high school but don’t want to go to college. LaVar intends to field 10 teams of eight players apiece, outfit them in Big Baller Brand gear and pay each player a salary of between $3,000 and $10,000 a month.
Any player who accepts money to play for the Junior Basketball Association would forfeit their scholarship offers and be ineligible to ever play college basketball. There certainly are a few top prospects each year who would prefer receiving a paycheck while playing minor-league basketball to receiving a free college education, but the notion that LaVar will be able to find 80 such players each year seems far-fetched at best.
And of course the idea that it’s going to happen via direct messages on social media is flat-out preposterous
LaVar is asking families he has never met to sacrifice a free college education, turn their back on coaches they’ve known for years and put their faith in a start-up league he’s hoping to cobble together in the next six months.
Seems like the type of nonsensical request that would be better made in person.
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