One of the first things that popped into my mind when reporting on the Devin Coleman story earlier this week was how might a shunned recruit, his family, friends and coaches bad mouthing Iowa hurt the Hawkeyes in Philadelphia.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery grew up as a popular basketball player in the City of Brotherly Love. He then used ties to recruit well there during his successful coaching run.
Then, I got a message from Coleman's AAU Coach Paul Gripper last night. I asked him if this would hurt McCaffery and his staff in recruiting Philly. He wrote:
"No, it's not a good thing for them. I am very, very upset with Iowa. All they had to do was say they couldn't wait any longer for Devin Coleman and they had a commitment ready and Devin had to make a decision quick. We could live with that. But they slammed him and it makes him look like he wasn't that good to begin with and that is not the case. Horrible. But I have a long pipeline and we will remember that in Philly. Devin's family is very upset."
That doesn't sound promising, does it? Well, let's ask a man who is to recruiting what Betty White is to comebacks, Van Coleman.
"Based on the people who I've talked to back East since this thing happened, it's not a killer for them in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area," said Van Coleman, a nationally respected recruiting analyst who runs hoopmasters.com. "(McCaffery is) well known in area and has been recruiting kids in that area for years. It's unfortunate this situation came up with one player, but that's not going to change his status there."
Van Coleman believes that although this will likely prohibit players from Gripper's program from considering Iowa, most recruits make decisions based on what's best for them.
"I just don't see Coach Gripper having the pull to sour everybody on Iowa," Van Coleman said. "This is not a Deon Thomas situation where it's a national story. The people I talked to back East said there's not much talk about it."
"Van Coleman is wrong. Devin Coleman is the one of the best shooting guards to come along in a long while. If he thinks that will not matter he is crazy. The Devin situation was handled very wrong. Iowa should have handled things differently. Van Coleman doesn't know Philly Basketball and shouldn't speak on what pull I have. It's not about pull. It's about doing a Philly kid dirty."