It’s been a crazy year in the world of recruiting. 3 of the top 4 2014 targets in Indiana have committed and then decommitted. Blackmon, Lyle and Lyles all made calls then changed their minds. It’s odd and people are drawing a lot of conclusions from it, especially as it relates to Tom Crean’s ability to recruit in-state talent, but I’m much less concerned about Crean’s ability to land the Big Name Recruits as I am his ability to land the Awesome Name Recruits.
Whatever was going on around the country in the mid-1990s, one thing is clear. Parents were busy giving their kids awesome names. And I’m not talking about nicknames, like Yogi, which is a great nickname. No, I’m talking about Awesome Names, like Peter Jurkin.
It’s sophomoric, but landing a kid named Peter Jurkin is amazing and should have been celebrated with trumpets because since then, Crean has missed out on some truly outstanding names.
In no particular order we missed out on
Basil Smotherman, who aside from being a four-star, 6’6″, in-state, small forward, is the name of the butler in the merchant ivory film I am writing.
Beejay Anya, 6’8″, four-star center and former teammate of Victor Oladipo, letting Anya go to NC State robbed us of a lifetime of BeeJay or Jurkin jokes that wouldn’t have been clever or funny, but would have been mandatory in every bar on Kirkwood. Hehe wood.
Leron Black is one extra letter away from being named after the greatest bringer of the ruckus in the history of a black man doing his thang. And I, for one, am angry that Illinois bloggers will get to make references about other Illini players needing “to get up in that ass” every game I’ll only get to do that two or three times a year.
But there is hope and Crean has a golden opportunity to shrink the Awesome Name Gap.
Last weekend IU hosted a player whose name is, I shit you not, Goodluck Okonoboh. That name is even more fun to say than Basil Smotherman and if Crean has any hopes of turning this class around, he needs some Goodluck. (See, it’s almost as awful as the BeeJay-Jurkin jokes, but just as obligatory).
And then there’s the only player named for a line in a Naughty By Nature song. LouRawls Nairn, who is coming to Bloomington soon for an official visit, not only has someone else’s full name as his first name and can find his name in the same verse as Parker Lewis and Cyprus Hill, but he also has the nickname of Tum Tum.
I don’t know where these guys are going to land, but if Crean wants to avoid the stigma of never being able to land the most awesomely named kids in high school, then he’s going to need to get it done right now with Goodluck and Lourawls.
If he misses on them he’s going to need to double down on Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo, which is the worst name I ever heard.