Yep, it was just like that. All the college coaches would crush through the doors after the Final Four hoping to discover an uncommon bargain, but in such a rush it never was easy to be certain about quality or fit.
It's different now. A lot of the players available in the spring aren't leftovers; they are back on the market because of coaching changes. Schools routinely allow players affected by such circumstances to void their letters, and some players ask for such assurances in advance, which means succeeding in spring recruiting now can turn around a program in a hurry.
Of Scout.com's top 10 prospects in the 2009 class, five selected their final answers in the spring period and one, guard Lance Stephenson of New York, has yet to decide. So those who got all their work done early missed on some of the best deals (although it's probably not best to use that particular word, even metaphorically).
These were your biggest springtime winners:
Spring additions: PG Eric Bledsoe, C DeMarcus Cousins, SF Darnell Dodson, PG John Wall. Surely you've heard enough about the Wildcats by now.
Spring additions: SG Xavier Henry, PG C.J. Henry. The Jayhawks should be celebrating over who they did not sign (Stephenson) as much as who they did (Xavier Henry).
That meant KU would not have to deal with any eligibility issues nor whether Stephenson would be interested in fitting into a team already talented enough to contend for the Final Four.
Does it seem Kansas is always a few seconds away from disappointment and then something miraculous happens?
Spring additions: SF Solomon Hill, C Kyryl Natyazhko, SG Kevin Parrom. One reason a lot of coaches weren't so eager to become the new Wildcats coach--including the one they landed, Sean Miller--was the near-vacant roster the next guy would inherit.
Miller helped fix that by retrieving Hill, who'd abandoned the commitment he made before Lute Olson's sudden retirement, landing Natyazhko after doing the groundwork while at Xavier and bringing along Parrom, who'd signed in the fall with the Musketeers.
"That would have been a great class if he'd just gotten that without moving schools," Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels said. "To get that in a month was unbelievable. Those are three very talented guys, all top 100."
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
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