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Tuesday / February 21.

Harris 'Disappointed' With RU Coaching Moves; Rosario to Suit Up with PR National Team

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The father of one of the top prospects in the Class of 2010 says he is “disappointed” with the coaching changes at Rutgers that were announced on Tuesday.

Torrel Harris, the father of 6-foot-8 Long Island forward Tobias Harris, had established a close working relationship with Craig Carter. Rutgers was the first school to offer Tobias, when he was in 8th grade.

But Rutgers announced that former Lehigh and East Stroudsburg head coach Sal Mentesana had been hired as an assistant coach and Carter, the captain of the last Rutgers team to make the NCAA Tournament (1991), had been shifted from assistant to the new job of “recruiting coordinator.”

“We are very disappointed that Craig will not be [an] assistant coach at Rutgers,” Torrel Harris said. “We feel he was a great person who’s honest, respectful and full of basketball knowledge.

“He has spent lots of games following Tobias. Besides myself, Craig was the next person who saw all of Tobias’ game.

Carter and Harris are both African-American, but Torrel said that was not the critical factor in their relationship.

“It is important for Tobias to respect and have a great relationship with any assistant coach, be it black, white or any race,” he said.

Tobias Harris had a terrific summer on the recruiting circuit and is now ranked No. 5 overall in the class by Rivals.

His potential list of colleges includes Kentucky, Tennessee, UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Maryland, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, St.John’s, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisville and West Virginia.

He is in the process of whittling his long list down to five schools and will announce it at some point after Friday’s Boost Mobile Elite 24 event at Harlem’s Rucker Park.

Torrel said the family had been planning a Sept. 15 in-home visit with the Rutgers staff followed by a potential official visit, but was uncertain whether those would now happen.

Division 1 basketball staffs are permitted three assistant coaches and only three total coaches, including the head coach, may be out on the road at any one time. They generally hit the high-profile summer events like the LeBron James Academy, the Reebok All-American Camp, Five-Star and others.

But in his new capacity, Carter will not be permitted to travel to such far-away events.

Still, Rutgers head coach Fred Hill said Carter will run the program’s recruiting operations.

“Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program,” Hill said. “Craig Carter has always been a tremendous ambassador for Rutgers Basketball. He has done a terrific job of building and cultivating relationships in the Metropolitan area. Craig will oversee and coordinate all of our recruiting efforts going forward.”

Meantime, Kimani Young, the AD of the New Heights AAU program, said the shuffling of the Rutgers staff could also impact the recruitment of a player like JayVaughn Pinkston, a 6-6- forward out of Bishop Loughlin High and the top player in New York City in the Class of 2010.

Pinkston visited St. John’s unofficially on Tuesday and also went to Tennessee and Villanova recently. He’s also considering Arizona, Marquette, Rutgers and Seton Hall, among others.

“The fact that Craig Carter is no longer actively recruiting and on-floor coaching, does that effect Rutgers ability to recruit a player like JayVaughn Pinkston? The answer is absolutely,” Young said.

“Craig and I go back 20 years. This business is built on relationships and the only way you get those legitimate sit-downs and legitimate opportunities to recruit a kid are through relationships.

“People are going to support friends and people that they’ve known a long time.”
Rutgers sophomore shooting guard Mike Rosario will suit up with the Puerto Rican Men’s Senior National Team Wednesday night in the Tutu Marchand Cup in San Juan.
The event features Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil and Canada.
Rosario played with the Puerto Rican U19 team in the World Championships in New Zealand in July before returning to Rutgers.
He then came back to Puerto Rico and trained with the Senior National Team.
Because of injuries to J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks and former NBA guard Carlos Arroyo, Rosario was called up.
“Of all the guys they could’ve called up, they called him up,” said Todd Washington of the Puerto Rican Basketball Association.
(Photo courtesy Kelly Kline/ Nike)
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

  • Love these quotes……..

    “Craig and I go back 20 years. This business is built on relationships and the only way you get those legitimate sit-downs and legitimate opportunities to recruit a kid are through relationships.

    “People are going to support friends and people that they’ve known a long time.”

    ———And that my friends is exactly what’s wrong with AAU and college basketball.

    • I know u have a had a job before and there is no way u got that job without having a relationship with someone. Careers are built on relationships. U didn’t know that? So I agree with adam when he says y not recruiting? Fred Hill blew this one and has lost whatever ground he gained with NY products so he must be dealing with strickly NJ players because the say no the Fred Hill campaign has now commenced in NY.

      • six8brotha,

        Yes, I have gotten most of my jobs based on relationships, and I agree with you on that. I just don’t agree with the part where he says “Craig and I go back 20 years.” This should be about the student athlete’s relationship with Carter, not Kimani Young’s relationship with Carter.

        Read what Torrel Harris said to get a better understanding of my point….

        “It is important for Tobias to respect and have a great relationship with any assistant coach, be it black, white or any race,” he said.

        —-It’s about the player and college coach, not the aau coach and college coach.

  • No, this is reality and how the real world works in any field.

    People make connections, make friends, go to school and make life decisions based on relationships.

    Why should recruiting be any different?

    Adam Z.

    • Recruiting and college basketball should be about the student athlete, not the relationship some AAU coach has with a college coach. This is not “any field.” This is a teenage boy going to college. Yet another reason why many believe AAU is bad business.

      Adam, if you believe what you write, then you’re part of the problem.

  • I also want to make it clear that my previous posts are in no way directed at Kimani Young who I understand is very well respected as a coach and mentor to young kids. I am addressing the article as a whole and the system of recruiting.

  • Adam,
    As excited as I was about the upcoming RU men’s BB season after the early part of the summer, these last couple of days have really settled me down.

    In regards to Coach Carter I was curious if anyone has interviewd him yet directly. Is this just a temporary move for Craig? Did he willingly accept this position or was this assigned to him? Is he still being paid the same? Is this demotion going to look better for him in future positions?

    Based on the responses from bloggers in the NY/NJ metro area someone needs to find out the specifics before we burn Hill and the program.

  • Woody,
    Rutgers doesn’t make its assistant coaches available for comment, so Craig hasn’t given an interview that I’m aware of. My understanding is that Coach Hill initially wanted Jimmy Carr to make this move. When Carr refused or put up a fight,he then went to Craig.