Kevin Durant has another critic taking aim at his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors.
According to new University of Miami Hurricanes football head coach Manny Diaz, Durant is the reason high school kids opt to sign with winning programs — which is why it’s hard for college programs such as the Hurricanes to recruit.
Via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
“Look, the world has changed, and I’m going to blame the NBA. Once Kevin Durant went to the Warriors after they were 3-1 up when he was at Oklahoma City — kids want to go where the winning is. So, that’s hard because you have to create the winning to get them to come to where the winning is. So, there’s a natural tendency to be drawn to the places that are currently on top, which, that’s fair.”
Basically, Durant’s decision to bolt the Oklahoma City Thunder after they blew a 3-1 series lead versus the Warriors and sign with them the following offseason has led to kids deciding to bandwagon on winning programs rather than helping rebuild them. That is what Diaz’s proposed narrative is.
While people will criticize what Diaz is saying — and I’m sure Durant will have something to say to respond to this claim — he just worded it wrong. He should have prefaced it by saying that kids have always preferred winning programs — because people in general do. However, it can be argued (which Diaz is saying here), that Durant made it OK to take the easy path and sign with winning teams rather than looking for the challenge of trying to beat your rival or trying to rebuild a program.
As mentioned by Jackson in that article, the Hurricanes have commitments from just two of the top 16 players in the tri-county region of South Florida.
What Diaz fails to mention is that other than the KD effect, this isn’t the college recruiting landscape that took place a couple decades ago. Whereas before these same type of top recruits always signed locally, recruits sign everywhere nowadays. When you factor in that the state of Florida is no longer just dominated by the Hurricanes, Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators — it now features the top-ranked Central Florida Golden Knights, South Florida Bulls, Florida International Panthers and Florida Atlantic Owls — the recruits have more options than ever before.
That’s not even factoring a lot of recruits’ decisions to sign with schools in other states. Due to the internet and tools available at a recruit and school’s disposal, there are more options than ever before.
But Diaz’s point holds merit — he just didn’t convey it in the best way.
Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/barry-jackson/article224081275.html#storylink=cpy