Bob Gibbons offered his opinion on the state of Big 10 basketball recruiting, Illinois coach Bruce Weber and the Illini program.
From all of the reaction, he struck a nerve.
Now Van Coleman of Hoopmasters.com, who also has been evaluating high school players for 30 years and is one of the McDonald's All-America selectors, weighs in with his point of view.
What does it say when the Big 10 fails to land a single player on the McDonald's 24-member All-America team?
"The talent area--Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan--was down again and the league didn't fare well outside that area," Coleman said. "Despite the lack of super players, Indiana ranked No. 5, Illinois No. 8 and Minnesota No. 15 among the top recruiting classes nationally in November by adding enough depth."
Coleman predicts that this year's void will be filled next year as Illinois (Jereme Richmond, Crandall Head), Ohio State (Jared Sullinger, DeShaun Thomas) and Purdue (Anthony Johnson) already are assured of top-rated classes.
"Richmond, Sullinger and Thomas would have to have really bad summers to fall out of next year's McDonald's All-America squad," Coleman said.
Obviously, a college can win the NCAA championship without a McDonald's All-America--Michigan State has done well--but how tough is it to succeed without the best talent in the country?
"It is tough," Coleman said. "But the Big 10 was very competitive in non-conference matchups this season and has a deep and talented set of coaches that tend to recruit to fit their systems, especially Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, who have been to the Final Four.
"Look for Tom Crean to do the same at Indiana while Tubby Smith continues to add talent that will eventually play his way at Minnesota. Also Matt Painter at Purdue and Bruce Weber at Illinois have young teams that have fought their way into the top 20. And they have more help coming in the junior class.
"But, as I've said many times in the past, the Big 10 is stellar when the home talent is stellar. That's why the classes of 2010/2011, which appear to be very good, will lift the league back to the status it enjoyed from 1998 to 2000."
Do coaches recruit or do programs recruit?
"First off, players (outside the home area) are coming to play for the coach," Coleman said. "Kids outside of the Memphis area are going to Memphis to play for John Calipari, not the Tigers. It's the same with most programs. A few like North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and UCLA get an added bump from the program's tradition. But those programs usually have great coaches as well."
In North Carolina's case, Coleman concedes that maybe the program transcends the coach. Dean Smith was the man for many years. Even Matt Doherty recruited a big-time class with Sean May and Raymond Felton that won an NCAA title for Roy Williams.
Duke was good in the early 1970s but was in disarray when Mike Krzyzewski arrived for the 1982 season. The program may sustain its success after Krzyzewski retires, Coleman said, but "that one isn't as clear in my mind."