It was a hot college basketball recruiting story in the summer of 2017. Fellow 5-star targets Zion Williamson and Immanual Quickley were known to be good friends, and rumored to be considering going to the same school as a so-called “package deal”. And then Williamson said this:
“There’s a lot of truth to that,” he said. “Me and Immanuel are good friends. … I just love the way he plays point guard. That’s the type of point guard I want to play with.”
And Quickley said this:
“That was what we talked about after the game. “He said he was going to talk to his mom. And I’m going to talk to my family, and we’re going to see if we can actually try to get it done.”
In today’s Langley (or is it Langford?), Virginia, CIA levels of secrecy and recruit-speak, that was as good as a done deal. With Quickley thought to be leaning strongly towards Kentucky, the pair would almost certainly head off to Lexington for a 10 month detour before the NBA. As expected, Quickley committed to Kentucky. As for Williamson…
BEWARE OF THE PACKAGE DEALS
Hoosier fans know that we don’t have to go back that far to find supposed package deals gone bad. It was a popular narrative that Romeo Langford would follow his buddy Darius Garland to Vanderbilt. The pair took a couple visits together and it became the basis for much of the discussion for months. Recruiting hucksters sliced and diced it from every angle, and the soothsayers adjusted their crystal balls accordingly. Romeo to Vandy. Done deal.
And then someone said something about an announcement out in the public in New Albany. What package deal?
The truth is that this is what people who cover recruiting for a living get paid to do. They look for and then report the connections between recruits and the particular schools they are covering. Mostly it’s just a way to tease out “stories” and keep the hustle going.
In reality, you can conjure up an angle regarding why every recruit might choose every school that is targeting him. Romeo is going to Vanderbilt because of Garland. No wait, he’s going to Kansas because of Quentin Grimes. Ah, but I’ve heard he is getting close with Rob Phinisee. There’s three stories right there. $9.99 please.
The truth is that there are connections between players and all of the schools they are considering. For the most part that is why they are considering a specific school. We just need to get better at understanding that the why they are considering a school is not the same as the where they are going to decide to go.
People put microphones in front of high school kids’ faces, ask leading questions, and we analyze it all to absurd levels. Every kid has a relationship, connection, or angle at every school. But these package deals? They rarely happen.
SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE?
A popularly cited package deal that did happen was Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor to Duke as part of the class of 2014. The duo talked about it openly. It happened. They won the 2015 national title together. The package deal lives!
If you want to believe, there are some compelling (on paper) potential package deals for Indiana in the class of 2019.
Trendon Watford is NYBL teammates with Kira Lewis. IU has offered them both. You could even argue that Trendon is a package deal, 5 years removed, with Christian. Trendon was there after all. Well played IU.
Keion Brooks, Jr. and Trayce Jackson-Davis are EYBL teammates on the Indy Heat, and they’ve been asked about package deals. The pair dodged and equivocated like they attended the Langford school of recruiting-speak. If there is a 2019 IU package deal that has a prayer, this is likely it.
Matthew Hurt and Tyrell Terry are teammates on D1 Minnesota. Hurt is also friends with Hoosier Race Thompson. A package deal trifecta!
Despite their compelling connections, all of these guys are most certainly not coming to IU. If Watford and Brooks, Jr. both want to come to Bloomington, we suspect that the first one to commit would cause the other to change his mind. Their games are too similar. They’d be competing for the same minutes. Oh the blue blood problems! We should be so fortunate.
That’s what really ends up happening. Commitments are made, and things snowball. Players end up making decisions based on what gives them the best opportunity. And that’s exactly how it should be. The package deal? Not so much.
INDIANA PACKAGE DEALS OF THE PAST
Okay, so it does happen.
- Jay Edwards and Lyndon Jones.
- Tom and Dick Van Arsdale.
That’s all we’ve got. We’re sure you’ll tell us there were others, perhaps a bit more loosely acquainted than these duos. Maybe something about a “Movement”. Be careful what you wish for.
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