Should Late Signees Be Viewed as Possible Eligibility Issues Waiting to Happen?

  • @HighEliteMajor tossed a mind grenade late in a recent post that made me ask the question posed in the title of this post. Specifically HEM wrote:

    “Now, if he [Self] signed Diallo in November and it cost him other guys without eligibility issues, sure, different conversation.”

    In the context of the rest of HEM’s post, HEM was saying that Self may as well have taken a risk on Diallo, because it was late in the recruiting season and he had not yet signed enough inside help, so why not take a flyer on Diallo.

    HEM’s logic was sound as usual.

    But it also made me wonder, if certain players with eligibility issues tend to wait to sign late, precisely because coaches are not wanting to take on those eligibility issues until they have had their cuts at all of the players without such issues?

    Maybe everyone else already recognized this possible dynamic of early vs. late signees, but I had not.

    Bragg was good, but not an instant franchise player, and apparently had a solid transcript and he signed early.

    Diallo was reputed to be an instant impact player, and reputedly had a shaky transcript and signed late.

    Until now, I had tended to view late signees solely as the best players waiting till the last second to make the best possible choice for themselves regarding roster fits, and perhaps regarding downstream Big Shoe-Big Agent deals.

    Now I hypothesize the late signees as breaking into two categories instead of just one.

    Category 1–the relatively rare signee type that really is super good; that really does have a clean transcript; and who is actually waiting to find the best roster fit and the best down stream Big Shoe-Big Agent fit, because of how much value he adds to a team and how little eligibility risk he poses.

    Category 2–the frequent signee type that is anywhere from super good to pretty good that has a very shaky transcript that coaches are willing to take a flyer on only late in the recruiting period, when they have struck out on all the top reliable transcript players. (Note: they may offer these players early, but they are rarely signed early.)

    I haven’t followed recruiting nearly as closely as some here have for several seasons now. My question for those following recruiting closely is: do historical signings the last few seasons (the stacking era starting 2012) support this hypothesis or refute it?

    If it were to be supported at KU, would it be supported at other elite programs?

    If it were supported, it would add a lot of insight to expectations regarding future late signees.

    Basically, it would mean that most early signees are a bird in the hand, while most late signees pose the risk of a bird in the bush.

  • @jaybate-1.0 First guy I checked out for you was Emmanuel Mudiay and he committed to SMU in August of 2013. I don’t know for sure but I recall reading a few times that he had eligibility concerns which ultimately led to him playing overseas. So if that’s true, he would not fit into your hypothesis. He was #2 overall in last year’s class, or top 10 depending on which site you’re looking at, yet was an early commitment.

  • Skal Labissiere, another top 10 recruit rumored to have eligibility concerns committed to Kentucky in November of 2014, also in the early signing period for his class which does not fit within @jaybate-1.0 's hypothesis.

    Perhaps UK had a financial plan in place to purchase his eligibility so this wasn’t a concern for them? 😝

  • @RockkChalkk

    Thanks for the datum. Hmm. Did he commit in August of 2013 to start play in October of 2013? Or in October 2014? If October of 2013 he sounds like a late signee. But it appears you mean he was to play October of 2014, so he seems to refute the hypothesis, as you say.

    So: Mudiay was signed by Larry Brown, who was trying to rebuild SMU from a pretty low foundation left by Matt Dougherty, if I recall correctly.

    Maybe LB, in rebuild mode, thought Mudiay was worth the risk early, or late.

    Maybe the hypothesis needs to have an additional driver the would be program mode; i.e., is the program in rebuild mode, in which case it will take risks on OAD prospects with shaky transcripts early or late, and established programs will tend to take risks on OAD prospects with shaky transcripts only late.

    Or alternatively, the hypothesis needs to isolate OAD prospects with shaky transcripts and other miscellaneous issues as being signed early or late by any program in any mode.

    Interesting modeling issue.

  • More and more of the top recruits are waiting longer to sign because they want to see who declares for the NBA and who stays and how much playing time will be available…when you plan to be a OAD, playing time is a precious commodity. If I recall correctly, 7 or 8 of the top 10 players on the 2015 class waited until the very end before selecting a school. This is not likely to change in the future.

    According to ESPN, only 1 of the top 10 players and 5 of the top 20 players in the 2016 class have signed so far and most are expected to wait until next year.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I agree with you. They wait to see who declares and where other chips fall.

    I think it also points to something cultural. I don’t think many of these top players have a real favorite. Not many were huge fans of a program while growing up. If I had been a 5-star recruit I wouldn’t have considered going anywhere else. I was born to be a Jayhawk. And I would have signed early hoping to cement my PT by having other top players not sign because I was already signed.

    If a star recruit really likes a program, he should sign early. Or at least, make a verbal commitment and not sign a LOI, just to make it very easy to leave if you have to.

    I think the current culture for these kids is that they are spoiled with so much attention that they really need to prolong the recruiting process to “enjoy the ride” of attention.

  • @drgnslayr

    Good points. No question that a prospect 20 years ago and today’s prospects are worlds apart.

  • @drgnslayr

    Is there any chance at all that some are waiting for an informal offer and counter offer process to play out and maximize involving agent and shoe endorsement relationships down stream after the OAD season? 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0

    It’s frightening to think that these things could happen today. I don’t doubt anything being possible, especially when big bucks are involved.

    You have to wonder the role of AAU coaches. Are these guys acting as agents for BigShoe? Without question, they receive benefits.

  • @RockkChalkk Unless I am misunderstanding, wouldnt Mudiay be categorized under #2 category? Super good, shaky transcript, late signee, had to bail out to play overseas.

  • @jaybate-1.0 I dont pay close attention to recruiting. I dont much care about recruits 2 years out from graduating highschool. Its only when they become Seniors that I even get a bit interested. But, your hypothesis does bear some weight for support in my opinion.
    Data can be reflected anyway the computer sees fit. High school players, recruits can be categorized and referenced just the same. I bet that if you put even more thought into it, that a third category could be made.

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