There it is. That’s the fear. In bright, vivid, living color.
As you may have gathered over the past six months, The Fizz has covered the recruiting angle of Syracuse athletics much more closely.
The Fizz was created back in August ’08, and it was evident very early where our analysis sparked the most interest.
Our hits exploded and our inbox filled every time we touched on the decision of an incoming recruit or the saga of a prep star’s high school experience.
There was also a pretty obvious void in Syracuse recruiting as a whole. The information, analysis and daily perspective of the recruiting trail for the big boys of the college sports landscape was far superior to anything Orange Nation could latch onto.
So, the interest in The Fizz kept growing (exploding in some cases) and we tried to evolve the staff in the same way; The Fizz went from one to five staffers almost overnight. And we brought in Ted Conroy and Mike Couzens exclusively under the umbrella of Fizz First, your daily Syracuse recruiting juice.
However, there is a dark side to what we have helped cultivate. Team Fizz was devoted to the Tobias Harris decision this week. And it worked. The biggest weekly hit total we’ve ever had.
Of course, you know the rest. Tobias went from Syracuse as a front-runner… to an 11th hour decision of Tennessee… to Orange Nation booing the kid at the ESPN Zone last night.
Look, we appreciate and value the interest in recruiting. We’ll continue to cover this as closely as possible (and with a healthy amount of sarcasm since all of us in Orange Land need a pinch of that). Doug Marrone needs every piece of the puzzle, as quickly as he can. Jim Boeheim (read: Hopkins, Murphy) is collecting highly-touted recruits like Dr. Doom collects track-and-field championships.
We treat them like rock-stars, follow their every move, believe one kid can turn an NCAA bubble team into a Final Four run.
But we all need to keep perspective. These are 18-year-old kids, deciding where they want to spend their next few seasons playing sports. Tobias did not jerk everyone around. He did not continually delay his decision. He professionally went about his business, with a structured family unit in tow. And decided on Tennessee.
And we booed. Watch the video. Fans dressed in orange (I’m assuming they’re not Vols fans), on their way to the Garden for the Cal tilt hissed.
We’re all disappointed. Tobias would’ve been a crown jewel in one of SU’s greatest recruiting classes ever. But you can’t lash out at him. That’s like booing a 5th grader for messing up the words to “Silent Night” at the school play. It’s misdirected frustration. Not to mention, how opposing coaches will use this as a negative recruiting tool.
“Did you see Tobias Harris’ decision? They booed him! From 10-feet away! Do you really want to play in front of that crowd?”
The funny thing is, I’ve been to the Dome dozens of times and watched the cheers and applause rain down on any student donning a Syracuse uniform. Booing student-athletes is not what we do.
So let’s not start now.