In an interview with CBS’s Seth Davis last week, Lute Olson said one thing he doesn’t miss about pounding the college basketball beat is dealing with the “spring and summer league club coaches.”
Bingo. Olson was fortunate that most of his career, his recruiting endeavors, went through traditional high school coaches. All of that has changed.
Now the spring and summer league coaches are as much agents and handlers as coaches.
On Friday, Sean Miller added to Olson’s concept and went beyond.
“Recruiting is incredibly difficult,” Miller said after analyzing a four-man class that ranks in the Top 10 nationally. “It’s all day, every day, and just the lifespan of a coach won’t be near where it is.
“Don’t ever compare the past to now because there’s no comparison because of all the dynamics that are now college basketball.”
Olson had more than one man’s share of unhappy players bolting for playing time elsewhere, from Michael Tait to J.P. Prince to Etdrick Bohannon, and a half-dozen early NBA entries.
“Getting a great class just means you’re covered for one year,” Miller said.
Miller turned 45 last week, winning his 100th game at Arizona. A developing question is whether the game will wear him thin by the time he’s 55 or 60.
Arizona’s Fred Snowden won his 100th UA game at age 42 (he was 100-36 compared to Miller’s 100-43) and was so worn out five years later, he cut back on recruiting work. It cost him his job before he was 50.
And in the 1980s, recruiting was cake compared to today’s never-ending cycle.