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.
Parade of high-major coaches checking in on 4-star IMG Academy forward Eric Dailey Jr., who has the NBA option, too
By ADAM ZAGORIA
A parade of high-major college basketball coaches is making its way through IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for four-star power forward Eric Dailey Jr.
Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams, Oklahoma State’s Mike Boynton, Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton andUCF’s Johnny Dawkins have visited with Dailey in recent days, and on Wednesday Kentucky head coach John Calipari came through with assistants KT Turner and Chin Coleman.
“A lot of people are coming in back and fourth during this month,” Eric Dailey Sr., who had a 10-year professional career overseas after serving as a four-year letterman and captain at SMU and now runs Dailey Training International in Florida, said Wednesday by phone.
Calipari made his way from Texas, where on Monday he saw 2023 target Ron Holland and 2024 targets Tre Johnson and Dink Pate.
“Yeah, man, he was great,” Dailey Sr. said of Calipari. “He gave Eric a lot of high-level intel about playing at Kentucky and also preparing for the NBA, and I think that was real healthy for him to acknowledge that. ‘This is the opportunity you’re going to have, I see you as that kind of player’ and give him insight coming from a pro.
“It was real good, it was real healthy,” Dailey Sr. added. “It wasn’t, ‘We want you to come to our school, here’s an offer,’ no, it wasn’t like that.”
The 6-foot-7 Dailey Jr. recently announced a top eight of Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Texas A&M, TCU, Memphis and Florida State.
IMG post-graduate coach Jimmy Carr called Dailey Jr. “a high-major impact recruit.”
Dailey Sr. said his family is quite familiar with college basketball and won’t need to do through the normal recruiting process. His wife, Shell Dailey, is the director of girls basketball and the head coach at IMG. She starred at Texas and later played in the WNBA and coached at Florida, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Texas Christian.
“We don’t necessarily need to do the normal recruiting trip,” Dailey Sr. said. “My wife coached D-1 for 20 years.”
As for potential college visits, he added: “I think we’re going to go to Michigan, we’ll go to Memphis, we’ll take those two,, maybe before USA [Basketball].”
He added: “No dates yet, we’re meeting the coaches first and then we’re going to circle back around and take a quick trip.”
Speaking of Kentucky, and recruiting in general, Dailey Sr. said his son will make a “mutual decision” with a school about what’s best for him.
“It will be about this is what we want and him saying the same thing,” he said.
Still, there is no rush to make a decision. Dailey Jr., who turns 19 in January, is also eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft and has the option of doing what Anfernee Simons and Kenyon Martin Jr. did — going straight from a post-grad year at IMG to the NBA Draft.
“I feel that he’s got just as good a chance to go [to the NBA] as they did,” Dailey Sr. said, adding that the family has no percentage breakdown on on whether Eric will go college or pro.
Dailey Jr. has also signed with WME for NIL deals so he can earn income as a post-grad student at IMG.
“We our going to take our time until spring, maybe early summer, we don’t have to rush because we have other opportunities,” his father said. “The [NBA] pre-draft [Combine] is in May, we can go there, we’re eligible.”
He added: “All options are open.”
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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.