If you like what you read here, check out my blog Ballin is a Habit.
That quote right there is a comment from Bsquared-2 on a blog post from Gary Parrish.
The post is about Tubby Smith's decision to not hold an Elite Camp at Minnesota this summer. If you don't know what an Elite Camp is, read this.
Essentially, this is how it works. A school will host a basketball camp during the summer with the sole intention of getting the top 10 or 20 or 50 kids they are recruiting onto their campus. They then pay the recruit's AAU coach, father, brother, or someone else with influence over the recruit a large sum of money to come speak at or work the camp. The understanding is that some of that money goes into the pocket of the person of influence (usually the AAU coach), while some of that money is to be used to assure that the player can get on campus for the camp.
How else would 16- and 17-year-old kids be able to afford to fly all over the country during the summer?
The craziest part of this is that all of it is perfectly legal. The NCAA cannot regulate who the school hires for its camps, the same way it cannot regulate who the school hires as a coach. Furthermore, they cannot regulate how much the school pays these "employees" so long as they are relatively similar across the board (i.e. if UConn hires both myself and Brandon Knight's AAU coach to work their Elite Camp, we both better be making $1,000, or $3,000, or whatever it is the Huskies staff decides to pay).
$3,000 minus travel expenses does not sound like a huge payday, until you consider the fact that each school can hire these guys multiple times during the summer. If an AAU coach works two camps each at ten different schools recruiting one of his players, that is a quick $60,000 into that coach's pocket (and God knows how much into the player's pocket).
But, again, this is all legal.
And everyone does it.
It is part of what makes a great basketball coach: Finding the loopholes in the rules that allow you to throw a little money around and get the top recruits and their families/inner circles onto your campus.
Like it or not, this is how recruiting at the big-time programs work. It is how you land players that will win you national titles.
And Tubby Smith doesn't believe in it. After running Elite Camps in his first two summers at Minnesota (the 2007 Elite Camp he ran at Minnesota was his first—he said he never had one at Kentucky), Smith and the Gophers will not be hosting any this summer. From the Big Ten Network:
"There's been some concerns as coaches with kids that are traveling that far for a day or two-day elite camp. We don't want anything to suggest that there's any type of (wrongdoing). But I think the best way to be is to be a guy that says we're going to do it this other way (to host only day, overnight and team camps). An elite camp is legal. I think guys are doing the right things, but there are some things that can look like they're not, so you have to be real careful."
While it may not be the smartest decision given the nature of his profession, it is quite a noble gesture.
And one of the reasons he was run out of Lexington.
Which brings me to Bsquared-2's point.
All told, Tubby did not have a bad run while at the helm of the Wildcats. But he was not landing blue-chip recruits. As we have said so many times on this blog, successful recruiting is the biggest key to a successful program. Since he wasn't landing the cream of the recruiting crop on a consistent basis, he was not hanging banners which is, when it comes down to it, what they care about in Big Blue Nation.
Tubby will continue to nobly run his Minnesota program, and, as he did at Kentucky, he will continue to compete atop the conference and make NCAA Tournaments, with an occasional Sweet 16 or Elite 8 run mixed in. Those results are perfectly OK at a school like Minnesota.
But they are not at a school like Kentucky.
As Bsquared-2 so aptly put it, "This is why Tubby don't work in Kentucky no more".