In the world of college football and basketball recruiting, reporters gain their chops and their respect by breaking commitments.
If you can provide insight into where a kid is thinking about going, recruiting-crazy fans will literally pay good money to hear what you have to say. That puts a ton of pressure on reporters to deliver recruiting “scoops” or “nuggets”, but nothing is more powerful than being able to say when and to what school a recruit will commit.
That pressure recently got college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein in trouble with five-star hoops recruit Naz Reid.
Rothstein, who’s a freelance reporter now, but is still known mostly for what he does with CBS Sports, wrote an article claiming that Reid is expected to commit to LSU. We know, via Adam Zagoria, that Reid was expected to visit LSU on his birthday, which he did. But there was no commitment in sight.
Rothstein’s report directly contradicted what Zagoria was hearing, but it was written anyhow. It also contradicted what the recruit himself is thinking, because Reid shot back at Rothstein in a now deleted tweet, saying he hadn’t decided yet. He also brought up the fact that it’s not like Rothstein is creating groundbreaking news, because he basically had a 50-50 chance of being right since he is down to LSU and Arizona per his own Twitter page.
Note: Hat tip to The Spun for the above screengrab.
The funny thing is that there’s a decent chance that Reid does indeed end up committing to LSU. The Tigers recently boasted a superstar in Ben Simmons, so even though the Tigers are known more for football that doesn’t mean Reid ending up in Baton Rouge is out of this world.
So yeah, it still may happen, and it may even happen while he visits on his birthday.
Rothstein absolutely jumped the shark, though, and he got called out on it, deservedly so.
Let the kid have his moment in the sun. There’s no reason to steal his thunder just to get a scoop, and it looks even worse when you’re wrong.