Illini Wonk
Sunday, October 23, 2005
  The Blogosphere heats up over Collins
Illini Wonk has posted extensively on the recruitment of Sherron Collins, who ultimately chose Kansas over Illinois. The post-portem of the battle for Collins has stirred up a little

Mark Tupper touched a nerve with his blog post: Collins decision puzzling, to say the least, the day after Sherron Collins committed to Kansas over Illinois and Iowa. In the post, Tupper speculated on the roll of Collins' coach Anthony Longstreet played in his recruitment. To say he touched a nerve might be an understatement. This blogger can't recall EVER seeing a post with 158 comments, which is what Tupper's post contained when I published this post.

Tupper's column drew a curious response from Longstreet in which he denied having influenced Collins' decision and dished out some harsh words for Tupper. Among other things, Longstreet was quoted by as saying:
“Is this the first time a kid has changed his mind when he was wowed by something? This is a 17-year old we’re talking about. 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,” Longstreet stated. (This was a premium story on Rivals and it appears that someone created a blog specifically to post this story. Probably not legal).

That was followed by a column from Tupper in the Decatur Herald & Review, where he wrote:
I tend to believe that Collins had an idea where he wanted to attend college, then had someone else forcefully steer that decision in another direction. That would be less bothersome if the person doing the steering were a player's parent. But kids without solid parental backing seem to be more vulnerable, and, based on what I've been told by those who know him, Collins falls into that category. Some coaches want to help with the recruiting. Some want to influence it. A few want to control it.
Someone from the Associated Press apparently picked up on the story from Rivals and wrote this, with Longstreet bringing out the straw man:
Longstreet added to the Web site (Rivals) that if anybody thought he was paid by KU they should "produce the canceled check." Tupper, to be fair, never suggested KU committed any violations in landing Collins.
Who would have thought that this recruiting battle could have turned out stranger than the one over Brandon Rush? Since much of the recruitment of high school basketball players occurs away from the spotlight, we'll probably never know if anything shady happened. For that reason, it can't do much good to dwell on this anymore. Illini Wonk will have news of another recruiting target later this week.

UPDATE: Thanks for the link (and compliment) from the excellent Deadspin. As if this blog wasn't good enough on its own, we find out that it's run by an Illinois alumn who used to cover Fighting Illini basketball for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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