ASU Gives Up on Local Talent

So apparently Tempe Normal coach Herb Sendek didn’t hear what he wanted after a quick meeting this past weekend with Phoenix North HS player Daniel Bejarano. Bejarano had decommitted from Texas last week and immediately was visited by University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller.

Sendek, instead of trying to meet immediately and possibly getting to Bejarano first, decided to wait until after Miller’s meeting and met with Bejarano over the weekend with a scholarship offer.

Yesterday, Tempe Normal announced it was no longer pursuing Bejarano and rescinded its offer. Miller’s assistants met with Bejarano last night after the announcement.

Bejarano is a highly regarded recruit – ranked as high as #43 in some recruiting circles – and a local talent in Tempe Normal’s backyard.

The Tempe Normal fans immediately got on the internet spouting off on how Miller is picking up “sloppy seconds” and that Bejarano won’t even academically qualify anyway. They claim that Sendek is simply moving on to better prospects and that there’s still a 5-0 streak going on.

Funny that.

Miller doesn’t have a history of recruiting kids who don’t qualify, and I’m not sure Sendek had anything really to offer Bejarano since Sendek’s style of play is not a fast-paced up-and-down like Miller’s. Bejarano wants to run, and Miller’s style of play suits him.

Miller, in the span of a summer, has done what Sendek in two years hasn’t – recruit top talent locally and nationally.

Tempe Normal does have one thing right – they are still riding a 5-0 win streak over Arizona. However, their fan base doesn’t want to face facts. The fact is that they were pwned for the previous 25 years and have a win streak only because they faced interim coaches in the last two seasons. And even then, Arizona still went on to the Big Dance both years. Tempe Normal, one appearance (last year) and one first-round flameout (last year).

Lastly, how does Sendek “move on” to “better prospects” if the local talent is already ranked in the top 50? Do the Tempe Normal fans truly believe that Sendek is going to land someone ranked higher than Bejarano for 2010? Meaning, that some kid out there with a top 50 talent is going to actually choose Sendek’s slow-it-down style of play over a top school like Duke, North Carolina, or Kentucky? Some kid is going to choose Tempe Normal and its woeful NBA draft history (4 players in the last ten years) over Arizona and its rich tradition (15 players in the same timespan)?

If the goal of a kid is to get to the NBA, the path clearly does not go through Tempe Normal. Perhaps Bejarano realized this and that’s why he didn’t give a committment to Sendek right there and then this past weekend. And perhaps that’s why Sendek pulled the offer Monday morning.

Or maybe Tempe Normal realized it wasn’t going to win that recruiting battle against Arizona after all. Just another win for Miller even before the season starts.