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Four top prospects offer an inside look at the wild world of recruiting


With their recruitments over, four elite basketball prospects who will play in Saturday night's Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden sat down Wednesday afternoon to discuss life as a top recruit. Dion Waiters, an explosive guard from Philadelphia, will attend Syracuse. Reggie Bullock, a bouncy shooting guard from Kinston, N.C., is a Tar Heel-in-waiting. Forward Deshaun Thomas is part of the nation's best class at Ohio State. And Roscoe Smith, a smooth wing from Baltimore, has committed to UConn.

Who was the most impressive recruiter?

Bullock: Roy Williams. He came to my house and got real close to my parents. I live in a little ghetto area, so it was weird to actually see a college coach just walking around there like he didn't need security. I got real close with him. One of my boys told me they were going to come beat on the door real hard and have everyone get on the floor just to see what Coach Roy would do. They didn't do that, though.

Smith:Coach K from Duke came into my house like he lived there. He didn't mess around. I wasn't even there because I was at Oak Hill, but my parents would talk about him.

Waiters: Coach Jim Boeheim. He came down, met my mom and family. He kept it real with my family.

Thomas: Coach Thad Matta came down, spoke at my banquet, told me the truth and met my family.

Best pitch that you heard from a recruiter?

Smith: I won't say the school, but one coach told me if I don't attend a school, the school would never be the same.

Waiters: I was already committed as a sophomore. One coach came up and told me I need to de-commit right now. I knew I was doing something right. I told him I was staying loyal to the Orange though.

Thomas: A Purdue coach came up to me and asked why I'm not considering any Indiana schools.

Bullock: Coach Roy Williams said great players like you make great coaches like me look good.

Waiters: Roy Williams -- he knows what he's doing.

Strangest thing you've heard from a fan of a school?

Waiters: Someone told me on Facebook that when I get to Syracuse they were going to kiss my feet. That was nasty.

Smith: Someone told me I look like Hoya. They love that I look like the mascot. I was like c'mon.

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Bullock: Definitely from Duke fans. That's why Coach K has got double the rings your coach has.

Thomas: I was at a photo shoot for being Mr. Basketball in Indiana on the Bloomington campus, and a fan told me that I looked like a thug. He told me Damon Bailey broke all the state records without earrings or tattoos. I was like, "If Thad Matta had taken the job, I would have come here." None of that other stuff matters.

What was it like to witness LeBron James getting dunked on by Jordan Crawford at his camp last summer?

Smith: The first time I met [LeBron] was when his name had just gotten out there. The second time was when he got dunked on.

Waiters: I went to the camp two years in a row. He just jumped late. He's blocked so many shots on guys from behind. It happens. I know if I dunked on him I'd be running around and telling everybody, too. At least he was out there participating with the kids. It happens to everybody, but I've never gotten it. I know it will be ugly when I get it.

Thomas: I was right there. No one said anything when Courtney Lee dunked on him.

Bullock: He was real humble, laid back. It was a pleasure to meet him.

Who was the most intense recruiter?

Bullock: I'd have to say Xavier assistant Pat Kelsey, who was at Wake Forest during my process. He was real high energy. He always came to my school and practices, shook your hand real hard and look you dead in the eye.

Thomas:Tom Crean at Indiana. Another high-energy guy always smiling at you. He had a high motor at all times.

Waiters: Syracuse coach Mike Hopkins is always giving you quotes. I have one of the quotes on my wall.

Smith:David Cox from Georgetown is real funny. He relates the best because he's from an inner city setting, too, like me.

Best three-point shooter in this class?

Thomas: Reggie Bullock and Cory Joseph.

Waiters:Kyrie Irving or Reggie Bullock.

Best dunker in this class?

Bullock:Perry Jones.

Thomas: Perry Jones.

Waiters: Dion Waiters.

Smith: Roscoe Smith. The after-effect is the best part. I'm there to entertain. The best dunk I've pulled off is a 360 windmill.

[Table erupts in laughter]

Smith: Ya'll think I'm playing. There's a lot of time on your hands at Oak Hill.

Best skill player?

Waiters: I'm gonna say Dion Waiters.

Bullock:Harrison Barnes.

Thomas: Harrison Barnes. Be real.

Smith: Harrison.

All of you committed the old-fashioned way, over the phone. What did you think of Harrison Barnes committing to North Carolina via Skype?

Waiters: When he did that, he made everybody think they should have done something different like that. It was clever. No one ever went out like that.

How early did you commit?

Bullock: I committed two weeks after I got offered. It was good. If I didn't commit to UNC, I told myself I would have gone with Wake Forest, and I'm glad I didn't do that since what just happened with their coaching staff.

Thomas: I committed freshman year.

Waiters: Summer heading into ninth grade. I never saw a letter or anything, but my cousin "Scoop" Jardine was committing there and my coach asked me if I wanted to go. All of a sudden like 20 scouting people were calling me and congratulating me. I was done before I played a high school game.

Why commit early? Who should commit late?

Bullock: I just wanted to get my books right for college.

Thomas: To take all the pressure off your back and the colleges offering you all that stuff that you don't need.

Waiters: I didn't want to be second-guessing myself

Smith: I committed late since I wanted to make sure whichever coach I put my career in their hands would do me right. All the other pressure did not mean anything to me; it doesn't faze me.

How often do agents try to get your attention?

Waiters: You'll come across a lot. They should just go through your family. They are putting their career and ours in jeopardy when they come up to you. If you fall off, they just move on to the next one.

Thomas: They trying to get the best. They're trying to get you early as a part of their job. I was 14 or 15 when someone first tried to approach me.

Waiters: I was 15.

Smith: I was 15.

Bullock: I was 16 and it was on Facebook. I knew they try to go after the top players. I just sent it to my coach and he told the guy that Reggie's just a student trying to get everything in order for college.

What do you think of all the coaching changes?

Waiters: Look at John Calipari. He said he would never leave Memphis, but he wasn't loyal to his players at Memphis. He got offered more money and then he rode on them. It was a recession, you know.

Bullock: When they send all that mail, they should include the information about their job status that is being talked about in their basketball offices.

Thomas: It's crazy, but they have to get their money. It's all a business out there.

Smith: I agree with Deshaun.

Is announcing your decision on television still an attractive option?

Waiters: The girls see you. Of course.

Thomas: Your mom can see you're doing something right.

Best player that you have gone up against?

Smith: When I visited Georgetown and I scrimmaged against Greg Monroe, I saw just how talented he is. I didn't know he could do all that.

Waiters: This year's No. 1 draft pick, John Wall. It was at Peach Jam and they said he got a triple double, but I didn't see all that. I got 22 points and the win.

Thomas: I'll go with the No. 2 draft pick, Evan Turner. I went up against him on a visit, and he just showed everything. He got me, and dunked on me. He's just good, man. That dude really got game. He's got handle. Nobody was there to see him dunk on me. He's the best player out there.

Bullock:Wayne Ellington. You never know when he's going to shoot it. He's got that hesitation. He's got sneaky bounce, too.

What would you change about the recruiting process?

Bullock: I would only let one coach in the gym at a time. Not have more than one trying to talk to you during the evaluation period.

Thomas: They should eliminate the assistant coaches. It should just be the head coach. He should be the one commenting to you

Waiters: I like all the coaches there. I think it really draws out the best in you.