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Insider

Last-minute decisions

5/14/2007

The latest sign that the Apocalypse is upon us is the almost morbid curiosity over which school prep recruits Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas will sign. Because the two are the best players that had not yet signed (or to put it another way, the only players that can walk and chew gum that have not signed), they are being treated as the basketball equivalent of Roger Clemens or Madonna.

Well, here is the truth of the matter. If you wait this long to make a decision, there is something wrong with you. You enjoy the recruiting process too much. Or you enjoy media attention too much. Or your family enjoys the spotlight too much. You enjoy getting asked about your decision daily and having recruiting nuts hanging on your every word. It is silly, and we in the media buy into it and cover it like it is a big deal. It is not.

Patterson is an outstanding athlete and prospect that has the chance to be a great college player and perhaps a pro. Lucas is a small guard that will take some time to be a difference maker on the college level and may never be a pro. Lucas is similar to Drew Lavendar, formerly of Oklahoma and now with Xavier, and will likely not be an impact player early in his college career.

Lucas, the son of former NBA great and NBA head coach John Lucas, has long thought to be joined at the hip with Patterson, so much so that some coaches have given thought to offering a scholarship to Lucas in order to have a better chance to get Patterson. The truth is, Patterson is the remaining gem in this recruiting class. Lucas is a good player, but not in the same class as Patterson. Neither is worth this kind of attention over a simple decision.

No high school prospects have gotten more ink this year than have Patterson and Lucas. Well, the coverage doesn't make Patterson better than Kevin Love, or Lucas better than or even as good as Eric Gordon or Jerryd Bayless. Those players, and most every other good player in America, seem to be able to make their minds up in a reasonable amount of time. Clearly, Patterson and Lucas cannot seem to do that. I wonder how long it will take them to decide if they want to come to practice, or if they want to listen to their coach.

There are few legitimate reasons to wait this long to make a decision about where to attend college and play ball. Patterson and Lucas could have been waiting to determine whether there would be a coaching change at their schools of interest. That time has long since passed. Both could have been waiting to determine which players decided to go pro, even though the door is still open for any that declared early entry to come back.

Then, it was reported that the final sales pitches are made for the services of Lucas and Patterson on Mother's Day, before their final decisions were made.

Well, what didn't they know or understand on Saturday that they knew or understood by Sunday night? Probably nothing. But they and their families got their tails kissed and their egos stroked one more time. And we covered it like it really matters. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't. And next year, when they hit the floor, it won't matter at all.