© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
You’ve heard the “Kevin Durant ruined the NBA” refrain. How about the “Kevin Durant ruined the NCAA” sentiment? Buckle up.
Newly minted University of Miami football coach Manny Diaz recently spoke with the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson about the importance of acquiring top-notch local talent. If you secure a blue-chip recruit, others will follow, Diaz says. That’s how the gap widens among the marquee programs and the rest.
Diaz blames that top-heaviness on Warriors star Kevin Durant.
Read Diaz’s back-and-forth with Jackson below:
“Sometimes it just takes one,” Diaz told Jackson. “Sometimes it just takes that one guy that’s like, ‘I’m staying’ and then it goes. There’s going to be more skill guys [in South Florida] than what we can take, but there’s no doubt [Miami needs more of the elite recruits].
“Look, the world has changed, and I’m going to blame the NBA. Once Kevin Durant went to the Warriors after they were 3-1 up when he was at Oklahoma City — kids want to go where the winning is. So, that’s hard because you have to create the winning to get them to come to where the winning is. So, there’s a natural tendency to be drawn to the places that are currently on top, which, that’s fair.
“OK, so the only way you can battle that is you have to put out a product that makes a kid say, ‘I’ve got to go do that,’ and they’ve thought that for a long time. Remember, what’s occurred now the last couple years is really new in their memory at Miami, but we have to continue to pound on it where the ninth-graders and the eighth-graders are like, ‘Look at the Miami Hurricanes. I want to be that guy.’
“And then [they say], ‘My friends are there, and I know that guy, and I knew that guy because he kicked my butt when I was in 10th grade and he was a senior. I want to go play where he plays.’ So, I think setting the tone like that will be the key to the recruiting.”