The notion that the sky is falling on the Louisville program gained some more ammunition yesterday when star 2012 guard Rodney Purvis decided to reopen his recruitment and break the commitment he made to the Cards late last year.
Purvis is a top 10 kid in his class, the highest rated point guard, and the “program changer” the Cards have been looking for. Purvis was going to give Louisville that face in the NBA that they haven’t had in the Pitino-era. Plus, with rival Kentucky and John Calipari basically having the market cornered on elite point men, Purvis’ commitment showed the Cards weren’t backing down from the recruiting monster in Lexington.
Yesterday’s news was expected after the departure of Tim Fuller, but the news tore at many Cards fans nonetheless. The bad luck that has plagued the program since the day Michigan St. beat the #1 overall-seeded Cardinals in March of ’09 was continuing. Sure, last year was fun and unexpected in some circles, but it was capped off with a dud in the NCAAs against an in-state team that had previously played the role of whipping boy.
The incoming class and Purvis pledge had fans staying positive about the teams championship chances in the next few years. Yet, the school was still in need of some good news after the upset loss. Then Fuller decided to leave. Then 2012 guard Negus Webster-Chan decided Louisville might not be the place for him. Now the Purvis news comes out. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think that was the type of news the program needed.
Purvis was a Tim Fuller guy. Once Fuller left, everyone knew the other show would drop eventually, but held out hope Pitino would make some magic happen.
With all that said, Cardinal fans should have never been excited about Purvis in the first place. Besides Wayne Blackshear coming in this season, I can’t recall one time where a player that committed that early has ever shown up on campus under Pitino. And that’s not necessarily Pitino’s fault. When I was a junior in high school, I was 17 years old. If people twice my age were living and dying with my every decision, it would have literally driven them insane.
There shouldn’t be this idea that just because someone is a star basketball player, they are going to act any different from your normal everyday teenager. Most can’t decide who they are going to take to the homecoming dance or what pair of kicks they are going to wear out on Friday night. You can’t expect them to make such a big decision so early and stick with it. Fans are almost more at fault for taking heed to anything someone that age says, than the player is for acting his age.
Obnoxious idiots on the internet were bombing Purvis’ twitter for changing his mind after the news came out yesterday. Why? Because they took what a teenager had to say as the gospel truth without remembering college hoops recruiting history and their own high school days. The fact fans write derogatory stuff on a kid’s twitter is bothersome. The fact they call themselves Louisville fans is sickening.
A pledge should be made among Cardinal fans that no recruit should be counted on until they sign on the dotted line. History indicates that might not even get the kid on campus (see: Amir Johnson, Allan Houston, Donta Smith), but the one-and-done rule seemingly eliminates those worries. Whenever a kid signs with the Cards, then it’s time to get excited about his prospects moving forward. The program has been snake-bitten way too many times by similar situations to Purvis that the pre-mature excitement will just lead to further disappointment.
Steve Fisher didn’t get any early commitments when the Fab 5 came to town. Derrick Rose didn’t pick Memphis until the middle of his senior year. We all saw the class Calipari put together at Kentucky in one summer two years ago.
It’s almost as if the early commitment hurts you more than it helps.
Louisville will be fine. A top 10 recruiting class coming in for a projected preseason top 10 team. It’s these small instances that grow larger over time that weigh on the psyche of the Louisville fanbase. Winning cures all ills.
2011-2012 will be a huge year for the Cards. A restless fanbase led by a coach that might have his most talented team in his tenure at the school. If Louisville doesn’t produce, this decision by a teenager will become bigger than it is now.