Working its way around Twitter et al. yesterday was this column on Kendall Marshall... from 2002, when he was in sixth grade. It's one of Rick Reilly's from back when he was at Sports Illustrated, and it's pretty hacky. He wants to both condemn a practice of recruiting sites ranking basketball players at ridiculously young ages (admirable!) and feed off of it, by interviewing said youth to fill up column inches.
It's an interesting piece in hindsight, for a couple of reasons. One is the recruiting websites defense:
"Let's say you're a college coach," says Francis. "You know that you have to beat Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina. To do that, you have to get the star players onto your campus when they're in junior high."
I have no idea if Marshall did visit any college campuses in junior high, but it obviously didn't help. No one's going to make a college choice in seventh grade, and big schools are going to find out about good players eventually. There's also the fear that the early publicity would cause the kids to plateau – expressed, of course by folks making a living off of publicizing them – but the two names mentioned, sixth grader Marshall and eight-grader O.J. Mayo are both doing very well for themselves. Mayo, in fact, would have been better served had he been allowed to go straight to the NBA, as his college career was entirely vacated for improper benefits.
Anyway, it's an interesting time capsule of a piece to waste some time on while waiting for the Thursday games to get underway. Or, if you're Roy Williams, you're catching a flight back from a recruiting trip to Iowa. The man does like the road, doesn't he?