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Darryel Mayes, a former college basketball player at UNLV and El Camino (Calif.) Junior College and the father of UA recruit Jordin Mayes, believes the recruiting practice of John Calipari will do the Kentucky coach more harm than good.
He views Calipari as the opposite of UA coach Sean Miller, who paid no attention to the 3-Star rating given to the younger Mayes by Rivals.com and Scout.com. Miller gladly signed the underrated Los Angeles Westchester point guard Wednesday.
Calipari recruited one-and-done 5-star players John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins last year and he now must replace them and fill six other scholarship spots. The nation’s No. 1 prospect according to Rivals.com, point guard Brandon Knight of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest, signed with Kentucky. Former UA target Doron Lamb of Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy is expected to announce today that he is headed to Kentucky.
Calipari is also hot after 5-star prospects Terrence Jones of Portland (Ore.) Jefferson and C.J. Leslie of Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy, among others.
“You have to ask yourself, ‘Why did Kentucky hire Calipari?’” the elder Mayes told me. “They hired him to win national championships. That’s why they are paying him all that money ($31.65 million over eight years). So knowing that, what good did it do him to recruit all these guys who left after one year? How far did it get him this year? It didn’t get him a national championship. I think knowing that, I’d say his first year there was a failure, wouldn’t you?”
Darryel Mayes also offered insight into why recruiting services often swing and miss when it comes to evaluating prospects (Derrick Williams anyone?), which he thinks is the case with his son.
“What I’d like to see is these beat reporters who work for these recruiting sites judge a player aside from how high a player can jump or how fast a player can run,” the elder Mayes said. “They are too caught up in how a kid is spectacular or is like a highlight-reel player. They need to look at the whole picture. I’m talking about pure basketball skills and basketball knowledge … you know, how the game is played below the rim. Evaluate a player how he plays between the bottom of the net and the floor and you’ll find the true basketball talent.”
Scout.com recruiting director Dave Telep told me that he respects the basketball smarts of Jordin Mayes and the rest of the class signed to this point, including Phoenix North shooting guard Daniel Bejarano and Logan (Ill.) Junior College forward Jesse Perry.
“The class overall is solid,” Telep said. “They are good basketball IQ guys. I think Sean is still looking for that centerpiece guy and I bet it comes in 2011. Perry is a rugged kind of player and Mayes will finally get to play point full time.”
The elder Mayes is knowledgeable about the sport given his playing background as a point guard. He has served as an invaluable resource to his son throughout his high school career and the recruiting process. Darryel Mayes learned plenty about the game under Jerry Tarkanian in his one season as a walk-on at UNLV in 1979-80, and he regrets not returning to the Running Rebels after enrolling at El Camino (Calif.) Junior College.
“The thing I learned the most under Tark is the business aspect of the game,” Mayes said. “It opened my eyes to how basketball was more than just a game, it was also a business at the collegiate level. So many things and a lot of people go into having a winning program.
“I had the chance to return to UNLV after I went to El Camino. Tark said he would take me back. Other schools were also interested, but I didn’t take advantage of it. What I learned is helping me teach Jordin. He has his head on straight. He’s not taking anything for granted.”