Long Days, Late Nights & Celebrations
How many college grads are on their post-collegiate grind PRE-GRADUATION? I know one guy…
One of the biggest transitions in life occurs when a person leaves college and looks to build on what he or she has spent years accumulating in academia. In many cases, it’s a substantial shock to the system because of how different it is to negotiate with the world on our (and the world’s) own terms. For former Ohio State guard Danny Peters, his world seems to be in a different place altogether. Since leaving the Buckeye basketball team as the winningest player in the program’s history while trekking into a career of teaching as a college coach, Danny has been gracious enough to let me and the rest of the SLAMonline family in on what it means to embark on the daily challenge of becoming a successful coach in the NCAA, by way of a special “as told to Sandy”, open-letter San Dova Speak-Easy series, dubbed “From Danny, To Sandy”.
Check out Danny’s previous diary entry here.
First and foremost, “Keep LeBron In The Slab!”…now, back to the subject at hand.
June has been busy since school got out… NBA Playoffs!? (in “Jim Mora voice”), AAU camps and events, events with Tom Izzo, plus I have graduated and been very busy with basketball all around the state, from working guys out in Columbus and Cincinnati to watching Walsh College practice for their summer league in North Canton. I won’t talk much about the Kicks photo shoot but thank you to John Simon, The Sandman and Jay Veal — you are going to have to pick up a copy when it drops.
I just finished watching Game 6 of the NBA Finals and Coach Izzo’s press conference. I am glad to see that he is staying at Michigan State. It’s a very tough decision to make when he’s reportedly being offered twice his current salary, yet still not knowing the future of LeBron, but he will continue to be successful with Sparty. As much as I would like to see him leave (six Final Fours in 12 years is hard to recruit against at the alma mater), he is great for college basketball and the lost art of loyalty in athletics. It will be interesting to see where Cleveland goes from here. Best of luck to Chris Jent, former Buckeye and current Cleveland Cavs assistant; he has one year left on his contract and will hopefully stick with the new staff.
About three or four weeks ago, I was able to get back home and help out the former AAU program. In high school, I played with Mike Price and Cincinnati AAU, which has now merged with Shining Star Sports and Alex Meacham, one of the best run programs in the country! The very first class focuses on developing the kids as people and players, just as it should be. Next to a Brand Jordan sponsorship, Shining Star has brought home the hardware, recently placing in the top 10 last year at AAU nationals. Alex asked me to come down to the headquarters to work with a couple of his kids alongside Chuck Machock, former University of Cincinnati assistant coach and the so-called “Big Man Guru.” I brought the kids through some drills to work on their ball handling and strength around the basket. It paid off as they went on to win and place as the runner-up in the All-Ohio Midwestern Shootout and Showdown.
On the circuit, the All-Ohio Super 16 was loaded with teams from the Chi, Indiana and Ohio. Overall, it was good to see talent from the Eric Gordon All-Stars, Derrick Rose All-Stars, Spiece, All-Ohio, King James, Team Ferrari, and many other teams in Columbus. Jerry Watson’s All-Ohio Red 15s have some good young talent with Nigel Hayes and Marc Loving Jr. Their names will be very familiar in the near future once Dave Telep and Evan Daniels get a few more opportunities to evaluate their games. Watch out for Tony Farmer and the King James Shooting Stars. Besides being the best dressed team on the circuit (and I did find a way to get a pair of their exclusive LeBron VIIs), they are loaded with talent. Coach Joyce is doing a great job of recruiting for his program from top to bottom stretching for players out of Northeast Ohio, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. All-Ohio Red 17s are stacked across the board as well with Stevie Taylor, Trey Burke and Elijah Macon, just to name a few (each receiving Big East interest). Trey is back on the market after opening up his recruitment from Penn State. At any level, players will de-commit and change their mind, it happens all the time, so I tried to take a step back and evaluate his decision not as a fan but as a coach, but failed because I believe my feelings would depend on how the situation was handled between parents/player and coaching staff. Honesty, openness, and trust between the parents/player and coaching staff will eliminate most of the dramatic breakups over a commitment just as it has in the case of Trey and Penn State. Both Trey and his family and Penn State’s staff are good people and will continue to be successful in the future.
The Ohio State AAU Tournament was hot, and guys were tired. It was the last tournament of the spring season and school was almost out. It happens every year at that time when the excitement of playing AAU basketball drops off a little and the players start to coast, as they anticipate the summer days off from school. It will happen again at the end of the second session in July when the college coaches are allowed back on the circuit. But, congrats to the Queen City Prophets, Ozie Davis and Aaron Thomas’ athleticism for bringing home the ‘ship.
This Nike EYBL is unreal; both the King James and All-Ohio teams are a part of Nike’s genius plan, so I have trying to follow along through Twitter updates as closely as I can. I did not make it out to L.A. for the last round of games, but I hope to make it to the finals at the Peach Jam in July for some more experience evaluating. Recently, I have been helping a scout from HighMajorScoop.com promote his AAU tournament in Columbus this upcoming July and with his scouting service during the AAU tournaments this Spring. He has me “interning” with him as we travel around the country evaluating talent. In June and July, we are headed to the NBA Players Camp, Ohio State Team Camp, Ohio State AAU Championships in Cincinnati, WV Jam Fest and possibly the AAU Nationals.
The 16-hour days of evaluating and providing immediate internet feedback can be difficult mentally and physically. A lot of late nights have come from talking different players’ strengths and weaknesses, where they can play and be successful as a ‘role’ guy or as ‘the’ guy, and if they have what it takes to make it to the next level and stay there successfully. It is a different aspect of the recruiting scene, because I am not just evaluating from one particular level. It is judging talent for several types of schools competing for different goals from a Division III tournament birth to a Division I National Championship.
June 15 was the first day college coaches were able to call high school juniors-to-be. I guess you may be able to over-analyze the interest of each school by how quickly they called on that Tuesday. I am always interested to see how important a player is to the future of a program by how quickly the coaches call. On Twitter, some kids were saying that their phone rang at 12:01, unreal…but as my father said, “It is not about the Xs and Os, its about the Jimmys and Joes.”
I walked at Ohio State and received my diploma last Sunday, so I would like to say “congrats” to the high school and college graduates this spring. I was speaking at a high school camp last summer, and the coach there followed up my demonstrations by saying that the most important uniform I will ever wear will be on the day I graduate. I did not understand the importance of his comment until this past weekend.
Like I said before hand, June has been crazy. I graduated, had my Kicks photo shoot, Ohio State AAU Tournament, Ohio State Team Camp, workouts, high school summer leagues…it never stops. Finally, Good luck to ET in the Draft, I like Philly or even DC. They have players in both cities and I am ready to visit! See you on the circuit.
You can pick up more bits of Danny’s ride through the recruiting circuit and his thoughts on basketball via Twitter (@PetersDanny).
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist and fitness enthusiast, as well as an unyielding Prince fan (for real). You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook, Associated Content and Twitter.