SportsProf

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Tim Thomas Revisited?

Tyreke Evans is one of the best HS basketball players in the country, and he's also the top unsigned one in the Class of 2008. Many top-flight hoops programs are in the running for his matriculation, although nearby Villanova seems to be at the top of the list.

Evans visited Villanova yesterday, said that he really likes "Jay" (wonder if Bob Knight would appreciate a recruit's calling him Bob) and this article indicates that Villanova is the heavy favorite to land Evans, who visited 'Nova yesterday with an assistant HS coach, three older brothers and another relative in tow (Evans goes to a private HS within a half hour of the 'Nova campus). The article underscores the view that Evans is a top talent and one who, in all likelihood, would only want to spend a year at 'Nova until he's eligible for the NBA draft.

This concept, of course, raises a bunch of questions:

1. Do you really want a player who is "one and done"?
2. Does 'Nova remember what happened with Tim Thomas? (Thomas joined a very good team, seemingly disrupted the chemistry, that team underperformed in the NCAA tournament, Thomas left, and the program had to regroup).
3. Do you build long-term success with players who leave early?
4. Is it good for Evans to go to school so close to home? How much will friends and family be a distraction? How much will family and friends try to put suggestions into Evans' ear about his playing style and his NBA future that might interfere with what Coach Wright wants to do?

It's clear that Evans is a great HS player. It's pretty clear that he'll help make Villanova a better team. The big question is whether this is a case of "be careful what you wish for" or if Jay Wright and the 'Nova staff really know how to handle a situation involving a great talent who might only stay for a year.

Who really benefits? The player? The school? Both?

Both parties know what they're getting into, but there's a chance that in the end neither will get what they bargain for.

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