This is from the POV of an Iowa Hawkeye party. This first part is going to be a weak attempt at satire. I didn’t used to get to go off this jump in the old beat writer job, so if this ends up ham-handed AF, my bad.
Let’s say the Hawkeyes have an imaginary recruiting board with several prospects in the post. Of course, the staff has them tiered. They really like A Guy, but so does everyone. They have a great relationship with B Dude and it feels right. Curtain No. C is Colton Kablammity.
A Guy is texting Duke while you’re talking with him and his dad. B Dude is attentive. His family is smelling what you’re cooking. Colton Kablammity grew up with a Les Jepson poster in his room. He’ll fight a bear to be a Hawkeye.
Kablammity is a step slower than the others. Good body, decent strength, but he doesn’t quite have the gear you need. You calmly explain this to Kablammity and his dad. They get it. They have eyes. They know where they stand.
So, they say thanks. In this day and age, hell yes, they say, “We’re always going to want to be Hawkeyes, let’s stay in touch.” This is perfect. Iowa can totally stop wasting time with A Guy and wave in B Dude, the fit with potential. Kablammity had his thrill. He got close to the sun (the one that people thought was a Tiger Hawk) and now he’s off on his hunt for gold at Up North State.
Up North State third assistant high fives himself. He got his guy. He has a particular vision for Kablammity. Colton, mom and dad, everyone is all in and it’s awesome.
Kablammity starts his freshman year as the sixth man and ends up the second-leading scorer and second-team all-Aurora Borealis Conference. In Year 2, Kablammity is the man. Power forward with a deceptive first step. His understanding of how to move his feet, how to counter pressure he feels, has made him the best big man in the Aurora Borealis Conference.
“Hey dad, let’s text Iowa.”
Hawkeye starts circling. Yada yada yada, portal time.
The Hawkeye circling overhead has a Kablammity it needs to take to the nest. Hawkeye gets close to the nest and … “What’s that blue bird?”
Blue bird from a much higher elevation is at your nest. One of your birds, who’s already started turning blue, points to himself in a “Who me?” mode. The big blue bird nods its head.
They fly off to maybe the midsouth, a place famous for bourbon where maybe Raylan Givens is a booster. Who knows.
Meanwhile, back at Up North State, third assistant guy is back somewhere in northern Missouri scouring juco-land for some semblance of a Kablammity. He’ll find one. And then someone will notice and then … sigh. Third assistant guy edited VHS scouting tapes. He’s not easily deterred. He loves the road and is up to this challenge.
So, Iowa. You found out you have what a Kablammity wants. A kid from your area whose had dreams of playing for your program his entire life is a safe bet. You’re still a Big Ten program with great TV, exposure, campus life. The platform is solid. NIL? The Iowa senate might get around to it. That’s a wildcard and another blog post.
Iowa also found out its on the damn menu. A kid with dreams somewhere else is susceptible to influence, even one of your kids.
That’s a little unsettling. You’d like to think Iowa would be above being pillaged, but you knew this could happen. And here it is. It’s a lot more fun when you’re pillaging Up North State.
I don’t think Iowa gets plucked for players on the reg. The deal here with C.J. Frederick is one of those “dreams” things. In 2021, you’re not going to stop transferring. The NCAA recently OK’d the one-time transfer thing with immediate eligibility. The NCAA has reached a point where if it says “no” on a transfer, it gets sued and the transfer happens anyway. The NCAA was sick of fighting an increasingly losing battle.
Iowa might have a case for tampering. There’s an idiot uncle involved. I’m not bothering to learn his name. We’ll forget it in a week anyway. He did happen to Facebook to a Kentucky group that “help is on the way” in early March. That’s the unseemly part. Iowa is in the middle of a run for a Sweet 16, a 20-plus year quest that had teased and tortured fans, coaches and players since 1999. And this Facebook post kind of just sits there and seems incredibly suspicious.
Iowa has snubbed the shit out of CJF. Fran McCaffery and the program have simply acknowledged his departure. No kind words for endeavors, future or otherwise. UI compliance had a tweet yesterday that was aimed right at the family, reminding student-athletes that contact with schools before you’re in the portal is illegal.
Yes, it’s OK to be vindictive here. It’s likely the Fredrick’s will mention something about playing time and the fact Fran McCaffery does have two sons on the team. Your counter there is “Did they change their names on the front end of your recruiting? You knew who everyone was, right? OK then, f$%^ off with this.”
In the end, it doesn’t matter. If a kid doesn’t want to be on your team, at some point, the coach and the program have to get to “GTFO” and let everyone go where they think they can be happy.
In this case, you know the NCAA is going to wave it around third. I do want the uncle to sweat out his March Facebook post about help coming, especially now that he’s declared war. This is where you how McCaffery’s Irish works for him. (I’m Irish and I still haven’t figured it out.)
That’s just one front for McCaffery, though. You want him out finding Kablammity.
Who cares whose team you ruin. That’s their problem. This shit is one year now. You might be able to buy more through bonding, but the old “I got you for four, I mean, three years” is over.
You build a team for a year. You build your next team for the next year. You find as many Kablammitys as you can and never turn off the recruiting light.
Who gives a shit about Frederick and Kentucky. Pride stings something something. The mad mob wants you refreshing the portal like your job depends on it.
This new transfer portal is gonna transform all these “systems” coaches into “players” coaches real quick.
The teams with the best recruits will be the teams that can treat their guys the best and let them flourish. It’s a players league now. Bout time.
— Jarryd Cole (@Jarryd_Cole) April 20, 2021