No problem with UCLA hiring AAU coach
June, 21, 2011
By Mike LaPlante, ESPN Recruiting
Jordan Adams (Lawrenceville, Ga./Oak Hill Academy) made big news when he committed to UCLA on Monday evening. The Bruins have rarely had to leave the fruitful recruiting grounds of Los Angeles to attract the level of talent needed to compete for conference titles and national championships, however, coach Ben Howland has smartly expanded his recruiting base into the Southeast and there may be more players from that part of the country to follow Adams. With UCLA's hiring of Korey McCray, who was previously Adams' coach on the Atlanta Celtics AAU program, the discussion of a "package deal" always seems to ensue. I can understand why some may point out the situation as being bad for the game, or a sign that a coach has lost hope in being able to recruit players in the more traditional way, but in the big picture I don't think this is a big deal. With the new NCAA rules regarding staff hiring (e.g. two-year ban on recruiting players involved with staff members prior to, and after, being hired in an administrative position), it makes sense for more non-scholastic coaches to be hired as full-time assistant coaches in order to get a player. Although it may raise some eyebrows and seems odd that an AAU coach could go from an unpaid/low-pay position to one of the elite assistant jobs in the country that pays a six-figure salary, those decisions are for the coach -- in this case Howland -- to make based on what he feels is best for the program and its future.