Sports Illustrated put together a round table with high school seniors John Henson, Ryan Kelly, Alex Oriakhi and Xavier Henry - soon to be attending UNC, Duke, UConn, and yet to be determined - in advance of yet another high school All-American game, and it's a fascinating read. First of all, all four of the guys seem to have their heads on straight and are much more sanguine about the whole recruiting process than the coaches and hangers-on surrounding the scene are; and there are some scary, desperate things going on in high school recruiting:
Henson: I did have one school, which shall remain nameless, that sent 250 letters in one day. One stack in my mailbox and two more at the doorstep. I didn't read them. I kept them next to my couch. When I was bored watching TV I'd open it up, take a look at the inspirational quotes and then go back to the regular programming.
Kelly: I've had coaches send my little sister mail.
There's also an interesting exchange on modern communication:
What would you change about the recruiting process?
Henry: I'd rather have texting. It's better than calling and talking. Before you sign, there's a whole bunch of coaches calling.
Henson: No, no, no. Think about how many texts you would have gotten after John Calipari left [Memphis]. Your phone would have vibrated all the way across the table.
Henry: Still better than talking on the phone.
As someone just on the cusp of the generation that has abandoned talking on the phone - I hate both voice mail and texting, give me the verbosity of e-mail - I sympathize. Thirty voice mails from coaches, most of whom you have no desire to talk to must be a nightmare. But texting would be even worse, drowning out the messages from friends you do want to hear from with a bunch of misthumbed missives from fifty-somethings. I shudder to think of how quickly it would become unbearable.
There's also plenty of Duke-bashing, as Henson takes every opportunity to needle Ryan Kelly. The four also seem to agree on who the best shooter, rebounder, dunker and overall athlete, giving us another four names to look out for in the years to come. The whole interview is well worth a read