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The Recruitment of Lance Thomas, Four Years Later

While looking for something I wrote back on the old site, I stumbled across a link to an old Gregg Doyel column. The column had long ago disappeared from CBS's site, but the web archives all, and it's still around. I thought it was a silly piece of writing at the time, and still do, but there's a couple of bits of historical interest.

The general theme of the column is that the school selection of a particular recruit could change the course of history:

Lance Thomas, a New Jersey native and one of the top two available recruits in the Class of 2006, faces an interesting choice:

He can go to Duke and play for a national championship.

Or he can stay home with Rutgers ... and play for a national championship

Thomas, of course, chose Duke. He's currently starting, but has been overshadowed by the rest of the team, for the most part. He has not played for a national championship. Duke hasn't even been, as Doyel predicted, "a Final Four contender throughout Thomas' collegiate career -- whether Thomas plays for Duke or not." Krzyzewski hasn't been back to the Final Four since 2004. 

Let's all take a moment to smile about that.

Now back to the road less travelled:

If Thomas chooses Rutgers, New Jersey recruitniks say four of the state's top available prospects could follow: senior point guard Eugene Harvey, junior wing Corey Stokes, sophomore center Samardo Samuels and sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs. All but Harvey are potential McDonald's All-Americans, and Thomas has played with all four of them -- Harvey, Stokes and Samuels this season at St. Benedict's, and Gibbs two years ago at Scotch Plains High.

Furthermore, Rutgers already has a commitment from another in-state 2007 standout, 6-1 point guard Corey Chandler.

The four other players ended up scattered across the Big East, and all have a higher profile than Thomas. Corey Chandler never played for the coach that recruited him, as Gary Waters resigned at the end of the season. His successor Fred Hill dismissed Chandler, who then lasted twenty-seven days at Binghamton. Hill would recruit Rutgers' first All-American, Mike Rosario, who has had a pretty good stretch of success against the Heels over the past to seasons.

I doubt the recruitment of Lance Thomas would have changed much of that. Which brings me back to my original point. There's way to much coverage of high school recruiting. Lance Thomas was not going to change the course of human events, there are way to many variables when dealing with seventeen-year olds, and really, grown sportswriters have no business telling high school students that the world hinges on their choice of schools.