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Some Recruiting Attrition Is Natural With A New Coaching Staff

April 20, 2011

Word came down today that 2012 verbal commit Josip Mikulic has decommitted and is now opening up his recruitment.

This, on the heels of Word Of God 2011 signee Joseph Uchebo asking for—and being granted—a release from his binding Letter Of Intent last weekend. Uchebo was quoted in a story from a Kentucky site as saying:

"The first time the new staff called me, I got the feeling they didn't want me at NC State," Uchebo explained. "Coach Gottfried was working on bringing in new players, and it was like he didn't want me. It wasn't the same feeling Coach (Sidney) Lowe brought to me.

If you're a State fan and want to read doom and gloom into these two losses from future State squads, don't.

Every coaching staff works their own angles on the recruiting trails. Just as every player has a unique personality, so too does the coach and staff of a college basketball team. When you see a finished class, often the personalities of the players, in some ways if not completely, match that of the coach and his staff.

I won't sit here with a bowl of sour grapes and tell you losing a player like Uchebo won't hurt from a talent standpoint. You'd rather have a guy as talented as he on your team, for sure. It's hard not to think about how Sidney Lowe's first four years at State might've changed if Chris Wright hadn't asked to be released from his letter of intent.

But if his personality, or Mikulic's, doesn't mesh with the new staff's, then why force him to stay? Is it wise to land a player who will boost your recruiting rankings if he's destined to butt heads with the new staff from day one? Most likely, no.

The good news, if you're a State fan, is while Uchebo and Mikulic seemed destined to head elsewhere, the two Tylers State had on board—Harris, signed for next season and Lewis, a verbal commit for 2012—are both very much still in State's camp. If anything, Harris and Lewis both seem excited about the new staff and eager to get on campus. That's the attitude and mentality you want from your incoming classes, and they seem quite vocal about expressing this to the world and the State fanbase.

As the Tar Heels learned this year, losing talented players with no desire to be there can actually become a very large positive, almost immediately. In a sport where chemistry matters so much, it's best to move on from guys who look great on paper but whose hearts aren't fully invested in what your coaching staff is selling.

And for every Uchebo that decommits from State, there may be other players signed at other schools in his same shoes, feeling those same feelings of not meshing with the new staffs at Mizzou, Arkansas, Oklahoma, etc., that provide new opportunities on the recruiting trail for Gottfried and his staff of recruiting hounds. As someone close to the athletics department tweeted earlier today,


One thing that NCSU fans will love, I can promise you that NO ONE will out-work our basketball staff in recruiting.

That should be enough—for now, at least—to put your mind at ease.
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