By Roy & Harv Schmidt
Ryan Hare wondered why no television cameras had shown up at Marshall High School last Thursday when he, as well as several other basketball players and students, organized a rally outside the school to voice their support for recently fired basketball coach Lamont Bryant. After some serious deliberation, we have decided to offer some publicity of our own to this situation, although we are sure it isn't the kind that Hare and his fellow teammates are looking for.
Before we go any further, we wish to stress that this blog is not about taking sides and deciding who is right and wrong with respect to why administrators at Marshall decided to fire Bryant as the school's varsity basketball coach. We still do not know all of the facts behind the decision and therefore we are not going to go there.
What we are more concerned with are the comments coming from Hare and some of the other Marshall basketball players in the midst of Bryant's firing, words which were repeated at the rally. More specifically, we are talking about Hare and other players saying that if Bryant isn't reinstated as their coach at Marshall, that they would either boycott the upcoming season or transfer to another school. We have to wonder what kind of message is being sent to the youth of our society--not just high school basketball players, but all students in general--when one hears remarks of this nature.
Simply put, Hare and his teammates' threats carry most negative overtones and set a dangerous precedent concerning how students should deal with an adverse situation. It says that if something doesn't go your way, or if you are faced with a situation that you don't like, that you can walk away or quit rather than tackling the problem head on. Not only that, but it also says that students don't have to respect authority (regardless of whether they think a decision is right or wrong) and discourages responsibility and accountability.
What really scares us here is that students are faced with adversity almost every day of their lives, and it usually involves things of far greater importance than who your basketball coach is going to be. We are willing to bet that it is inevitable that Hare and his teammates will face more adverse situations in the future.
With that being said, we know what most of you are probably thinking at this point. This is supposed to be a recruiting blog, right? And thus far nothing that we have said has anything to do with recruiting, right? Well, actually it does. Granted, Hare has already committed to Oregon State, so therefore it would seem that if he were to sit out the upcoming basketball season at Marshall that it would have no impact on his recruitment. However, what happens after Hare gets to Oregon State if he is faced with another situation that is not to his liking? It could be something that happens at basketball practice, it could be an academic issue, it could be a problem with his girlfriend, or something else--we don't know.
Based on what Hare has said he will do if Bryant isn't reinstated as Marshall's basketball coach, how would he handle any of these situations? Would he leave and come home? We hope and pray that this wouldn't happen, but again, based on what Hare has said, one has to wonder. Basketball-wise, college coaches will not recruit players who are perceived as being "quitters." Therefore, has Hare given any thought to the fact that while he may be signed, sealed and delivered to Oregon State, there are other talented basketball players at Marshall who are still unsigned and run the risk of not being recruited by certain schools or do we dare say not being recruited at all? Why? Because rather than being looked at as being tough, they will instead be perceived as being weak because they are running away from a problem.
Furthermore, if Hare were to actually transfer, we can almost guarantee that Calvin Davis , who we think is the best Sports Director that the Chicago Public League has seen in recent memory, would never allow him to play basketball at his new school, as it would be obvious that the transfer was made solely for basketball reasons.
We compare Hare and his teammates' comments to the reaction of the kid on the playground who doesn't like a call that goes against him in a pickup game and rather than continuing to play he takes his ball and goes home. Here is to hoping that all of the Marshall basketball players who are threatening to either sit out the season or transfer rethink the situation and choose to deal with it like men, because right now they are handling it like children.