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Monday, May 22, 2006

Reject My Recruiting Overtures at Your Peril, Punk.

It comes as no surprise to those who know me that I have donated way too much money to the folks at As with thousands of others, no doubt, I was swayed by an ESPN Magazine column by Bill "The Sports Guy" Simmons (whose 100% Boston all-the-time columns have begun to annoy me recently) in which he discussed his Whatif obsession. If you're a sports fan and, particularly, a statistics geek, you owe it to yourself to at least check the site out. They offer baseball spring leagues (consisting of ten simulated games) so that the uninitiated can try their site for free. Having done a few of those, I was hooked--and have been pretty much ever since.

I'm not a huge college basketball guy, although I religiously watch March Madness and, in fact, I oversee our office Madness pool. I somehow decided to try out Whatif's Hoops Dynasty college basketball simulator. You start out as a coach of a Division III basketball school, charged with taking that program to the promised land, or at least a few seasons with a winning record, before moving on to another program at D2. (You have to show some success at D3 to move up a level, and even moreso to move from D2 to D1.) In any event, in two "worlds" I've got two different Division II teams: Incarnate Word University and Presbyterian College.

Part of the Hoops Dynasty season involves the wooing of limited resources of high school kids to come to play for your program. This is where my HD love/hate relationship comes into play. You choose a variety of recruiting methods, including phone calls and campus visits, out of your available recruiting funds. (And when you're out of recruiting money, if you haven't filled your scholarship slots, you're going to get some suck-ass walk-on players.) Every three hours, the recruits you've targeted will send e-mails to you in which they respond to your various overtures. The responses can be highly entertaining, at times; the folks at WiS spent a lot of time coming up with the various responses. Some recruits respond well. Some, however, just don't respond favorably no matter how much money you spend on them.

That fact wouldn't be so devastating if I weren't desperately wanting this one particular center to sign with my school. I've spent almost 20% of my entire budget on this one kid, and he still shows me no love whatsoever--he's even declined my invitations for him to come visit the campus, including the various accoutrements (booster money, strippers, booze) that no doubt would accompany such a recruiting trip.

Here's the thing; I know I'm not going to be able to sign him before 7:00 tonight (at which time recruits can begin to sign with schools). The only school he's currently "considering" is a conference rival of mine.

This completely pisses me off. Not only am I not going to sign this kid but, having spent a ton of money on him, I'm likely going to end up with a much worse recruit or, even worse, a walk-on. Then I'm going to play his new team twice a year, and have to be reminded of my recruiting failures.

Too bad I don't have Johnny Lawrence on my team. "Sweep the leg, Johnny."



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