Right now, in the office of every college basketball head coach and assistant in America, there's a board listing basketball's five playing positions. Below each position are five or more names. Below that is a makeshift roster for the calendar year, denoting likely scholarships.
Traditionally the first player in every position group will get a scholarship offer. Some programs -- like the Kansas Jayhawks or the Kentucky Wildcats -- sit and wait more than others. Kansas brings in most high-level recruits to Late Night in the Phog (their Midnight Madness); that's when most of the work gets done for them.
Recruiting is a long-term dance, and while coaches put pressure on guys to sign a letter of intent -- telling them their scholarship may go to another player -- players and their families play the game, too.
As some coaches are now admitting, more and more players arrive on campus thinking that a top-100 recruiting ranking entitles them to something. As a coach, you need talented players for your program, but you don't always want everything that comes with them.
"After about a decade of success," one BCS-level coach recently told me, "we signed a guy who played the same position as four guys on my staff -- yet he only wanted to listen to his dad, who never played basketball anywhere. He and his dad thought he was going to the league and all we did was lose while he was here."
More and more teams are getting tired of stories like that one. They want to stop the cycle and they want to do it now. So, for those looking for a model example, I direct your attention to the Syracuse Orange, who have become the blueprint for how to recruit successfully.