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August 2, 2008

Roundtable: Baylor's recruitment of Wall

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the coverage staff for their opinion about a recent topic.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What do you think of John Wall's recruitment? Wall, the nation's No. 1 prospect from the 2009 class, is expected to soon commit to Baylor - where his travel coach Dwon Clifton was hired as the director of player development on Friday. Clifton was reportedly offered jobs at other Big 12 and Big East schools that were pursuing Wall.
Personally, I don't care who anyone hires.

If a head coach thinks it benefits his program to hire a certain person, that is between the head coach, his program and the athletic department.

Hiring prospects' relatives, coaches or anyone else who can help a head coach land a coveted recruit has been going on for as long as I can remember.

I think there are two clear perspectives here: If it's your favorite team that makes such a hire, the program is doing what it takes within the rules to be successful. If one of your rivals makes such a hire, then you think it's a shady practice.

Jerry Meyer, National Analyst, basketball recruiting
I don't necessarily blame Baylor here. The Bears are following a precedent set long ago. When Larry Brown was at Kansas he was able to land a highly coveted recruit named Danny Manning by hiring Manning's father to his staff. Just last year, Arizona State gave the high school coach of five-star recruit James Harden a job on its coaching staff. Harden committed to the Sun Devils soon thereafter.

I blame the NCAA for ignoring these kinds of tactics. We need a rule in place saying a school cannot hire a family member or a former coach of a recruit. If they really want to coach, go knock on the door of the other 340-plus Division-I schools. Guys like Clifton helped Wall get where he is today, but they are also using a teenage kid to help further themselves. Anyone is smart enough to know that isn't right.

Andrew Skwara, Staff writer, college basketball
This sort of recruiting tactic happens more than you think. Kansas hired Mario Chalmers' father, Ronnie, before he enrolled at the Big 12 school. New Mexico hired noted AAU coach Chris Walker, who was also a former high-major assistant, and his former players made quick decisions to be Lobos.

These things happen. Baylor is doing what has already been done. More times than not, the person that is hired is usually fairly qualified for the job.

Clifton's hiring by Baylor just falls in line with similar situations.

Justin Young, Senior writer, basketball recruiting

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