Major Programs Need to Keep Hands Off Mid-Major Recruits

Chris Trotman - Getty Images

Mike Brey recently signed Austin Torres, a player that had originally verbally committed to Central Michigan. CBS' Jeff Borzello has said this is a growing trend in recruiting which should have mid-major coaches (and the players involved) very wary.

Almost two months ago, CBS Sports talked about who other coaches perceive as the biggest cheaters in the game. It was the standard list of names that everyone assumes is cheating, only none can prove it.

Well, after Tuesday's article by Jeff Borzello, they may want to talk to those coaches again. Now Borzello was talking about a trend in recruiting that probably goes deeper than a single case, but the case is a doozy and it involves a guy that you wouldn't expect: Notre Dame's Mike Brey.

Brey didn't exactly break any laws; he just recruited a player that had already verbally committed to another school. It is a practice that has been frowned upon in basketball circles (probably because recruiting for basketball is already a minefield of handlers, coaches, more coaches, and random neighborhood people who get in the way).

So why does this one stick out? Well, Brey didn't poach a player from another major program. In this case, he grabbed a player away from Central Michigan, a program already struggling to rebuild after the firing of Ernie Zeigler, and the loss of his son Trey from the roster as a result.

Plus he stole that player from Keno Davis, a former colleague in the Big East.

But the big kicker in this one is that the player in question, Austin Torres, isn't exactly Notre Dame material. Sure, his family is legacy for the Irish, and they help out extensively with Notre Dame fundraising efforts. This is a dream for him to land there.

Go check out the other schools that were after Torres, and play that old Sesame Street game, because one of these things is definitely not like the others.

As Borzello pointed out, this might have had a lot to do with the recruitment of Torres' AAU teammate Demetrius Jackson. This might end up having been a "favor" for Jackson to eventually decide on the Irish. Not that Jackson should need a favor for signing there.

The fact remains that up until the day that Mike Brey walked into Torres' living room, there was not a single indication that the Irish wanted anything to do with Austin, other than have his family keep helping out around campus.

And that is just shady.

If it were another big program, then maybe it would seem so bothersome. Let the big sharks fight over each other's dinner. But when it dips down and takes away a player that by all indications could thrive at the mid-major level, that is something else.

I am sure it is a dream for Torres to play at Notre Dame, but how soon until that dream turns from sugar plums and fairies into a nightmare because he is stuck at the end of the bench without much playing time to his name? How soon will he be regretting the decision to pass up a prime spot in the lineup with the Chippewas because of the name on the front of his jersey?

Maybe I am wrong but these players don't get to this level, no matter what level of NCAA basketball they play at, without being driven. Sitting and letting their talents go to waste is not the normal M.O. for this crowd.

My bet is that we see Torres transfer during his career. One can only hope that he lands at a school as good as Central Michigan in the process.

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