Wednesday, April 22

Clifton Brothers: The Dark Side of the (John) Wall

In between listening to Jaydiohead and lamenting that other people are picking up on one my draft sleepers, Darrius Heyward-Bey, I began to ask a question that all Carolina hoops fans should consider as we drift down from Cloud "5". If one of the best players in the country was in Roy's backyard, why did it take so long for him to start recruiting John Wall? The answer is simple, but the implications could be a stain that lasts long after Wall has revived hoops in Sacramento (I prefer to project two drafts in advance... more after the break...)

Read almost any story about John Wall and you'll see Brian Clifton's (pictured, right) name subtly mentioned. You've probably scanned past the name looking for words like "commitment" "announcement date" and "faster and stronger than Derrick Rose." Clifton is a former agent and AAU coach that serves as John Wall's mentor. Less than a year ago, it was the Clifton brothers, but then Dwon Clifton took a job as Baylor's Director of Player Development. Dwon coached Wall's AAU team and explains Baylor as the one outlier on Wall's list of prospective teams. Not surprisingly, Baylor's not been interested in declaring how much Clifton is being paid, but it's not a coincidence that a man whose coaching experience was based primarily in the Carolinas found himself with potentially two Big XII "coaching" opportunities (Oklahoma State was also interested) so similar to the Dalonte Hill's salary capless role at K-State. Brian Clifton has been openly stating Baylor's the best choice for Wall, but Wall's savvy to the game. When asked if Dwon got the job because of him, Wall responded, "Oh, I think it was," Wall said. "You know, whichever AAU coach gets a job in college is hoping that he gets the point guard or the best player from that organization with him."

Other accusations include routing all coaches through the Clifton brothers instead of directly approaching Wall or his mother and a direct connection with other agents. Gary Parrish at CBS has done a tremendous job of identifying the smoke near the recruiting firestorm that has been John Wall since Roy called to check in. John Wall would likely be the difference between a very good young team and a title contending team the likes we haven't seen in sixteen years, but when Roy works so hard to recruit from Bremerton to North Babylon how would he have missed John Wall in Raleigh? Clifton and Williams don't get along, possibly because Roy's got enough cache to approach Wall directly, but as long as Clifton is around Wall could end up being the recruit Roy regrets. His first instinct must have been to stay away, but now his competitiveness may be getting the best of him. Wall's best chance to win is at Carolina and Carolina's tempo is the best chance for him to shine (with respects to the used car salesman in Lexington), but is a chance for number six worth it? As much as I'd like to see Wall in the baby blue, Roy must tread carefully.

Note: If both Lawson and Ellington don't go pro, the Heels likely won't have a scholarship for Wall.


Taylor said...

has there ever been a more anticipated college basketball recruit signing than this one?

Cleet said...

There have been a lot of anticipated signings (Webber I remember being a huge one) but this one is a big deal because of the Nike Hoop Summit and his listing of so many different schools and the fact that there is the one and done rule. Coach K may appear calm on his book tour but he has to be shitting his pants by Wall naming all these other schools including UNC in the mix. Duke needs Wall badly.

Anonymous said...

You are all missing the point. The problem with the whole system are the blood sucking leeches that call themselves "mentors." Give me a break, they don't care about the kid, the care about the money that the kid can make for them. At least there is a coach that has more integrity and respect for the game then to bow down to a "handler" to land a quality recruit.

Cleet said...

No I actually got the point, I have even discussed this at length with Catfish. I was just discussing a different side of the argument. While Roy is refusing to deal with this handler, he has dealt with others in the past I'm sure. The only major coach I know to refuse to deal with them is Gary Williams, and of course, his recruiting has suffered because of it. These leeches are a problem, but unfortunately right now no one has an answer for them, especially the NCAA because too much control ends up taking away the young individual's personal freedom.