SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scouting Them Young

Much has been made in the U.S. of the basketball recruiting gurus who scout elementary school and middle school kids, all with an eye to predict who will be the next big thing. The problem, of course, is that early perception seldom meets up with reality. Sure, Tyson Chandler and Sebastian Telfair are in the NBA, but we had heard about them for so long that it would have been impossible for them to become the next, say, Wilt Chamberlain and Earl Monroe. And they're not even close anyway.

I'm overseas, and I was talking with a colleague who lives in Ireland about his 11 year-old nephew, who made his town's team. He's a starter, and in the finals of a big tournament, scouts from English Premiership teams were there. The goal of many an Irish kid is to play for Manchester United, and Man U was represented, as were Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, among others.

So, looking at the (very) youngsters is not only the franchise of self-appointed recruiting gurus in the United States. It's a very big business in Europe.

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