We'll confess, the whole notion of recruiting in college athletics leaves us queasy, and we're even more weirded out by fans who are unnaturally obsessed with it. There are countless "recruiting expert" sites that, when you really break it down, essentially make a living by looking at 16-year-old boys in their underwear. We're not here to judge, but that doesn't seem like much of a life to us; we prefer to watch the team that's currently playing and then be surprised when that freshman turns out to be pretty good.
That said, there's quite a little battle brewing between Bruce Weber and Illinois and Kansas (and former Illini) coach Bill Self. As documented by the great Illini Wonk, Self swooped up prized recruit Sherrod Collins after almost everyone projected him as going to Illinois, and the move was so sudden and so opposite of what Collins had claimed to want, some people are wondering if there isn't some nefariousness going on. This led to one of our favorite quotes from a high school coach in a long time, from Collins' Chicago high school coach Anthony Longstreet, about Decatur Herald-Review reporter Mark Tupper, one of the first people to float the rumor: "What exactly does Mark Tupper know about relationships? I m telling you, it s like falling in love. Is Mark Tupper an expert on analyzing love and human relationships? If so, tell him I d like to see his credentials." Having once covered Illinois basketball with Tupper in the late '90s, we can tell you: Mark Tupper KNOWS love and human relationships.
Worth noting: We're Illinois alums, so our view on the matter is that, regardless of any "facts," everything Bill Self does is wrong and everything Bruce Weber does is right, because he wears orange sports jackets and talks like a duck.
Blogosphere Heats Up Over Collins [Illini Wonk]
(By the way, one of our favorite tricks to play on our dad during last year's NCAA tournament was to send him to BruceWeber.com, the official site not of the Illinois coach, but of photographer Bruce Weber, "featuring the beauty of youth in male nude photography." Very fun. Dad loved it.)