SportsProf

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Penn Lands Big Recruit -- Just Ask His Prep School Coach

Read all about it here.

He's a guard named Darren Smith who played at South Plainfield HS in NJ, and he's now at the Peddie School, a fine private/boarding school in Central NJ that hit the map within the past ten years because billionaire, former Ambassador to England and friend of Ronald Reagan Walter Annenberg gave them $100 million. According to his coach, Chris Potash, Smith is the top recruit in the Ivy League.

How many times have you heard that before? On the one hand, Penn's junior guard, Ibby Jaaber, is one of the top players in the Ivies and did a year of post-graduate work at Peddie before going to Penn, so you might figure that there's something in Peddie's water that helps them turn out Ivy-caliber players for top Ivy teams. On the other hand, I ask readers out there to post comments about what they've heard about Smith. If you're a Penn fan, what have you heard other than the usual "he must be the next best thing since Michael Jordan (the former Penn PG, not the Bulls mega-star)"? If you're a Princeton fan, have you heard that Princeton coaches are gasping because Smith is another Jordan or Jaaber? (You'll recall that the Phillips Exeter coach of Penn frosh Cameron Lewis remarked that if the 6'8" Lewis "had a jump shot, he'd be going to Stanford." If many mid-to-low DI players had a consistent jump shot, they'd probably be playing at high-DI schools too). Enough with the hype.

Congratulations to Peddie coach Chris Potash for turning out another Ivy-caliber player. Congratulations to Darren Smith for making an excellent choice of schools. It's hard to argue with those statements (unless you're a partisan fan of another Ivy school who is upset that Smith didn't go to your school, but understand that his final choice was between Penn and Iona, not Penn and another Ivy).

What is easier to argue with is whether Smith is the top recruit and whether he'll project out to be the Ivy Rookie of the Year next year, when Jaaber is a senior and presumably will contend, as his prep school coach hopes, for Ivy Player of the Year honors. As with any major college program, you never know how it will turn out.

But no other Ivy, especially this year, is willing to concede anything to any other school. If you're the Ivies top recruit, they'll come at you even harder.

To prove, if anything, that you shouldn't have been.

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