By Gary Parrish
INDIANAPOLIS -- There is no way I could reasonably complain about my job when I have have friends running around warehouses. I know that. But it should be noted that anybody who thinks recruiting during the July evaluation period is all glitz and glamor is crazy. It's mostly long days in high school gyms watching lopsided games featuring one serious prospect playing against somebody who can't guard him.
It becomes boring quickly.
If it weren't for Tom Izzo's stories, I'd be asleep already. But Izzo's stories are terrific, and when USC's Kevin O'Neill joins in (like he did this morning), then we approach the record for curse words in a conversation pretty rapidly. So, yes, I've seen some talented kids. But the conversations are the highlights, by far.
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"Hey Parrish, how many autographs you sign?" yelled Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals.
"Zero so far," I said. "I only sign at hotel bars."
What I learned right away is that the guys -- young guys, old guys, all sorts of guys -- who were asking for autographs weren't after Izzo's autograph for the same reason I might've been after it when I was a kid. They were clearly just collecting as many signatures as possible to put on ebay. I made this point to Izzo just in case he didn't realize what was happening.
"I don't mind it," Izzo said. "If somebody is dumb enough to pay for my signature, I don't mind it."
After a few minutes of this -- and who knows how many signatures -- we loaded into the recruiting van, turned the TV on and began a 25-minute drive to another gym across town that's necessary because the Adidas Invitational has more than 100 teams in it. "Here's the problem," Izzo said. "These events have so many teams that we end up wasting more time than we should. If one court gets behind [in terms of scheduled start times], then you get behind. Then you drive across town, get stuck in traffic, whatever. And by the time you get to the next gym the game is halfway over, and if it's a blowout the kid you came to see might not even play much. We just waste a lot of time. How much am I really seeing?"
We finished this conversation and arrived at the new gym.
We got out.
We walked inside.
We found the court and the kid we came to see.
There was 1:26 left in his game.
"At least we saw the final 1:26," Izzo said with a smile. "It's so stupid."
Now we're at our third gym of the day.
We're watching our fifth game.
As I type, the score is 68-41.
For more of our college basketball recruiting road trip, click here.