Bruce Pearl: 'I Don't Want Somebody that Doesn't Want to Play for Us' | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / May 21.
  • Bruce Pearl: 'I Don't Want Somebody that Doesn't Want to Play for Us'

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    Bruce Pearl lost a top commitment recently when 2010 point guard Josh Selby decommitted from Tennessee while Pearl was coaching Team USA to a gold medal in the Maccabiah Games in Israel.

    Rumors flew that coaches from other programs were whispering into Selby’s ear and taking advantage of Pearl’s absence.

    Selby is now being recruited by everyone from Kentucky to Kansas to UConn to Maryland.

    “I think as coaches, we want to ethically make sure that if a guy’s got a commitment, leave him alone,” Pearl told ESPN’s Andy Katz on Monday in Orlando in a segment that appeared on ESPNU. “Now, student-athletes have a right to do what’s in their best interests.

    “And if they think it’s in their best interests to open up their recruiting and look at something else, then they should do that because I don’t want somebody that doesn’t want to  necessarily  play for us. And I think every mother or father wants what’s best for their kids.

    “And if I’m not what’s best for their kids…then that’s fine. Then you go find somebody that is. I think the big thing is…Once I see a guy committed, that’s it. No more phone calls.  You don’t put it out there, ‘In case we had interest, would you open up your recruiting?’

    “It’s over, leave him alone.”

    Translation: Pearl thinks some coaches tampered with Selby and he’s pissed.


    Long Island native Tobias Harris scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to earn MVP honors as the Albany City Rocks downed Mike Gilchrist and Team Final 68-64 at the Supershowcase in Orlando. The game was shown live on ESPNU.

    “We got to show people that Gilchrist is a young fellow but Tobias is the old brother,” said Torrel Harris, Tobias’ dad.

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

    Memphis, Kentucky, Florida and UCLA are also trying to get involved.

    Harris and his father  say they will cut the list in August and reward those programs that have been most loyal and whose head coaches have been watching him in person.


    One of the big stories coming out of Vegas is that college coaches felt “extorted” by the costs of some of the player packets they must buy to follow the teams.

    The coaches have to pay several hundred bucks. In cash.

    “The tough thing is some of these packets are $275-$300 and a lot of them are misinformation,” Xavier coach Chris Mack told ESPNU. “You get the packet and there’s no numbers, the rosters are wrong. I don’t know how to fix it, I think the NCAA may have to step in and say coaches aren’t allowed to pay for packets that are more than $100. Otherwise, they can’t go.

    “Disney’s done it right. We’re here…I asked the lady if she had an extra roster how much would it cost me, and she said, ‘No, everything’s free.’ So I knew I was in DisneyWorld.”

    The New York Times reported Tuesday that Kevin Weiberg, the chief executive  of the newly formed IHoops, a joint venture between the NCAA and NBA to help clean up youth basketball, said his group would look into the issue.


    Georgia Tech adds 6-9 forward Derrick Favors , the No. 1 big man in the Class of 2009, and Coach Paul Hewitt said he can be a factor immediately.

    “The expectations are very high,” Hewitt told ESPNU. “He won the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game. He won the MVP of the Jordan Classic. The best thing about Derrick I can tell you, he’s been very, very well taught. His mom is a no-nonsense lady and it’s about taking care of school and making sure he’s a good citizen. And his coaches…they’ve all prepared him to just keep the game simple. Rebound, run the floor, score around the basket. I don’t think Derrick is one of these guys who’s going to try and shoot 3’s and put the ball behind his back.”


    Pearl said the talent at Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida makes the SEC East “the toughest division in all of college basketball” this year. The core of seniors Tyler Smith (17.4 ppg),  Wayne Chism (13.7 ppg) and JP Prince (9.9 ppg), plus the development of Bobby Maze and Scotty Hopson, should make the Vols competitive in the division.  “This is a big opportunity year for the Vols,” Pearl said…Bryant College went 8-21 last year as an independent but won’t be eligible for Division 1 competition for three more years. “We’re going to redshirt some kids and continue to build and hopefully when we become fully eligible we’ll have a veteran team that can compete right away for an NEC championship,” Bryant coach Tim O’Shea told ESPNU…Boston College lost Tyrese Rice (to the Washington Wizards summer league team) but returns Joe Trapani (13.4 ppg), Rakim Sanders (12.9 ppg) and Corey Raji (9.9). Coach Al Skinner says his team has “enough ingredients to have success and win close ballgames.”…Siena coach Fran McCaffery says Ronald Moore “is the guy that makes it all go” and Clarence Jackson, the league’s sixth man of the year a year ago, “is the key to our season.” Jackson must replace departed star Kenny Hasbrouck….Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey told ESPNU the arrival of transfers Ben Hansbrough and Scott Martin “keeps us older. I’m excited to work with those guys.” As for the league itself, Brey said: “Cincinnati and Seton Hall are teams that aren’t being talked about enough, have very good personnel.”…Pitt coach Jamie Dixon says Greenburgh, N.Y. native Dante Taylor can potentially replace DeJuan Blair. “We think he’s going to be a real good player,” Dixon told ESPNU. “We recruited him with that in mind. We anticipated DeJuan wasn’t going to be back after his sophomore year. It’s a natural replacement. We think he’s a guy that can really give us good minutes and replace DeJuan. You’re not going to replace DeJuan…but then again DeJuan came out of nowhere, too. People didn’t expect that out of him.”…Dixon also said he thinks Seton Hall and St. John’s have a chance to move up in the Big East rankings next year.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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