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Henricksen: Time of the year for a recruiting reality check

Hey, kid, you know that offer you received nine or 10 months ago but you’ve heard very little, if anything at all, from that school in the past month or so? It’s most likely not an offer anymore.

Go ahead and tell your parents and your AAU coach to take it off your “scholarship list,” the list that’s become way too important over recent years, as if it’s part of some family collectable.

When it comes to the Class of 2017, prospects who will begin their senior year in a matter of days or weeks, the majority of the players have already been identified and projected at a certain level. It’s not to say new, under-the-radar players can’t be found. But the majority of coaches have their recruiting board established –– from Plan A to Plan C –– and have showed their face and interest as much as they could to those targeted prospects last month.

If you’re a senior and you think you’re a mid-major prospect and haven’t heard from a mid-major program after you just finished three “live weekends” of the July evaluation period, it’s time to come back to reality.

The same could be said for those aspiring to simply land a Division I scholarship. If you’re still waiting after playing out the spring evaluation period and three weekends in July, chances are you’ll be waiting a lot longer. You’re not all going to “blow up” to the level those around you keep telling everyone you will.

You also may want to consider this: You know the Division II program that has shown you love, extended an offer and has actually watched you play? It’s very likely that program is better than –– and would very likely beat –– many of the low-Division I programs who have ignored you.

It’s Ok. You’re going to be fine. There’s a place for you to play basketball. Somewhere. Maybe even at the scholarship level. But the little “recruiting fibs” you’ve been telling those who will listen? … Come on, now.

Now, if you’ve just played out the July evaluation period and you’re getting some calls from new coaches and schools? As the great philosopher Lloyd Christmas once said, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

Now those are the calls to appreciate. They just watched you and, for them, the clock is ticking on the Class of 2017. They at least have you somewhere on their list. So go ahead and take those schools seriously.

Last summer I had a local club program coach tell me he had six Division I players, four of which were “for-sure mid-major prospects.” Now, I’m used to hearing that type of bravado from club coaches when talking about their players, especially their young ones, the freshmen and sophomores.

However, if the Hoops Report counted each player it was told was a Division I player by someone associated with that player, the list would exceed 100-plus in each recruiting class here in Illinois. Every. Single. Year.

But here are the real numbers. The range of Division I players in any particular class from Illinois is typically between 30 to 45, with 50-plus Division I signees being a terrific year. So simply going by the numbers should be enough to at least keep things in check.

When looking at the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 50 prospects, a list the 90-plus Division I schools that subscribe to the Hoops Report receive, there have only been seven players outside that top 50 who have signed with a Division I program in the last six years.

Yet every year we go through months of conversations, texts, emails, tweets and phone calls about “this player being Division I” and “that player being Division I,” right up until about now, when reality begins –– or at least should begin –– to set in.

That type of confidence (slow-wittedness?) was there again this past spring from the aforementioned club coach as “his guys” headed into their final club basketball season. Today? There might be one Division I player in the group among those “for-sure mid-major” players.

So if this is what is being said to me, being bandied about to the City/Suburban Hoops Report, what is being said to those kids? What is being communicated to their parents? What illusions are they being presented?

I still don’t understand why it has to be, but I’ve come to accept that many club programs have become marketing agencies and marketing tools for high school basketball players. Every club coach doesn’t have their head in the clouds; some are very real, down-to-earth with their opinions.

Regardless, it’s not as if these are completely unbiased opinions. But if their players are good enough, the college coaches (and offers) will come. The frustrating part is the self-promotion of players who often aren’t close to the level they should be ultimately recruited at.

With all that’s out there now in recruiting high school basketball players –– social media, video, Internet, recruiting services, endless AAU basketball tournaments and, of course, high school basketball from November through March –– are these players really not going to be found without the constant promoting of their players?

Do we really think those Division III and Division II coaches are going to waste their time evaluating and recruiting a kid who is a mid-major Division I talent? Do we really think all those small college coaches are that far off in their evaluations?

Yes, Twitter is now often the culprit of distorting the truth and the reality of recruiting. But what is wrong with letting the whole process, which is as advantageous to the player today than ever before, play itself out?

You’ll be found, kid. But just know that if you’re a senior and haven’t been found yet, it’s time to ditch the “too cool” schtick, accept reality and lock in on schools at the appropriate level.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport