Forbes: Missing on Selby 'hurt'

Guard's case shows how tricky recruiting can be

Three years of hard work.

Down the drain.

It happened when prized recruit Josh Selby said "Kansas" rather than "Tennessee" during Saturday night's Jordan Brand All-Star game at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Assistant coach Steve Forbes, who has spent the past three years as Selby's primary recruiter for UT, got the bad news via a text message from Selby's mother before the game.

"I'm not gonna lie to you, it hurt,'' Forbes said. "That was a three-year deal, and it was a dogfight.

"But you can't take it personal, you just move on, and we're going to be back out recruiting the next few days.''

Forbes has been through battles against big-time schools before with the Vols, and before that, as an assistant coach to Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M.

For every Josh Selby, there's a Scotty Hopson, who was once a Mississippi State commitment and was headed to visit Texas before UT convinced him to commit.

"I was flip-flopping big-time those last few days,'' said Hopson, who also was recruited by Louisville. "It's tough; as a player you want to get it over with, but you also want to be really careful to make the right decision.''

For McDonald's All-American players like Hopson, new UT signee Tobias Harris and Selby - gifted athletes with obvious abilities - it's considered a given they will one day play in the NBA.

The school becomes a matter of preference, or comfort, or convenience or maybe relationships.

The ultimate determining factor is different from player to player, and seldom obvious.

"You never know for sure what it is,'' Forbes said. "But in the case of Josh, he did what he felt he had to do, and I'll always have a good relationship with him and his family.''

Selby, a guard from Lake Clifton High School in Baltimore, had made a verbal commitment to attend Tennessee in September of 2008, prior to his junior season. He attended the Vols' elite camp two consecutive summers and visited during UT's win over South Carolina.

But last summer, while at the LeBron James skills camp in Ohio, Selby de-committed.

Many suspected the influence of Nike was at work, and thought Kentucky would enter the recruiting picture.

But Selby never set foot on the Wildcats' campus for a visit, and Kentucky wasn't a finalist for his services.

Kansas, the school Selby chose, is an adidas school, like Tennessee.

It serves as no consolation to Forbes, who had his guts ripped out in similar fashion two years ago with Elliot Williams. The Vols lost Williams to Duke after a spirited recruiting battle.

"When you are recruiting great players, you're going to recruit against great schools, and we aren't going to back down,'' Forbes said. "You know that's not the way Coach (Bruce) Pearl operates. We don't back down on the court when we schedule them or play them, and we're not going to back down in recruiting.

"You get in trouble in recruiting when you settle, and I can promise you Tennessee is not going to settle.''

And why should the Vols?

Harris, the No. 1 power forward in the Class of 2010, chose Tennessee over Syracuse, Kentucky, West Virginia and Connecticut.

Two years ago, Emmanuel Negedu chose the Vols over John Calipari's Memphis team as well as Indiana and Georgia Tech.

"It's funny, you look at Josh, and then you look at Bobby Maze,'' Forbes said. "I just happened to be in Kansas City when Coach Pearl called me and told me we needed a point guard because of Ramar (Smith's) situation.

"I had four hours to drive to Hutchinson (Community College) and recruit Bobby, and convince him to make a mid-week visit.''

Forbes succeeded, and Maze committed while on his visit to UT, cancelling a trip he had set up for Kentucky.

"So we put three years in on Josh and don't get him,'' Forbes said, "and we put five days in on Bobby and got him. Well, it was a little more than five days - we had recruited Bobby prior to his original commitment to Maryland.''

Just like the visits that will happen today and Wednesday across Tennessee and into Mississippi, relationships begin, faces become familiar and schools begin to jockey for position.

As Forbes knows all too well and tells anyone who asks, "you never know what's going to happen in recruiting.''

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Comments » 60

Alwaysavol writes:

Darn. I didn't expect him to re-commit to us, and it's still a great recruiting class, but it would have been nice to have Selby.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Until we see he is "one and done"......

Cldvols1 writes:

I still expect UT to have a stellar season, no worries!

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

One and done doesn't have to be bad. Can you imagine what Bruce Pearl could have done with Kentucky's class last year? Instead they played for Calipari. What a waste.

Cash writes:

Maze is a good example of what the Vols need year after year. I was impressed by his play and his heart. wished he had a another year or 3.

so what if Selby went to the flatlands ? like he's the only bestest player on the planet? NOT.

CBP will put a team on the floor that will compete with anyone any day of the week. coaching makes players, not the media.

have fun in Kansas, hope you can stand the weather Selby. we really don't need you anyway.

hustle not hype makes a true Volunteer.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

One and done doesn't have to be bad. Can you imagine what Bruce Pearl could have done with Kentucky's class last year? Instead they played for Calipari. What a waste.

You know, i really dont like being negative but man you are on the money with Cal. I've had the opportunity to watch him up close....talk with him some and see him around...He has had more talent in the last 5 years than anyone in college basketball...I think thats a very accurate statment....and he just hasnt done much with it....now the championship game is a credit to him...but he blows in the the final two minutes...if he cant take the talent he had this past season any further than he did...i just dont see him being able to do it with less talent...i think most would agree...he's just not that caliber of a x and o coach...not to mention...the huge white elephant in the room at the programs he coaches...but he's a likable fellow...

CincyOhVol writes:

Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, and North Carolina are "Legacy" Programs. They are built only after decades of dynasty.

Coach Pearl has built a solid program. I give him another 4-5 years, an NCAA Championship (or two), and these recruits won't see a program they will see a legacy. We'll have an entire roster of 5 Star players year after year.

beachvol1 writes:

One again, his mother told Forbes by text!! what a baby Selby really is, and you can bet if he is not treated like she wants at Kansas, the little sugar baby will transfer...don't need this guy, even if he was King Kong!! he's not a team guy or would never be a team leader...unless mom says...go to Kansas "WaterBoy"...

ThugTillIDie writes:

If the mom has rows, go home and stop recruiting the kid. Never trust a mom with rows. I'd also stay away from the kids with tattoos on their face.

Southland writes:

From what I have seen from the kid he is a thug waiting for a prison term. Hopefully he will be good for the one year he will be at Kansas. I think he would have been poison to the team

Ironcity writes:

in response to Southland:

From what I have seen from the kid he is a thug waiting for a prison term. Hopefully he will be good for the one year he will be at Kansas. I think he would have been poison to the team

Guys get over it. We are UT. Wish the kid well and lets move on. Like one of the previous posters mentioned. Start winning championships and we can start choosing who we want instead of recruiting them. Its what scares BOK the most.

HtownVol writes:

Just stop saying we dont need him. The kid is awsome!

I really wish he chose UT, even for a year he would make us a great team.

As it is we will have a VERY talented team next year!

eduardo writes:

Man that was some kinda gut shot!! The dude can flat out play so you idiots bashing him get over yourselves!!!

Melveen writes:

"Many suspected the influence of Nike was at work, and thought Kentucky would enter the recruiting picture....Kansas, the school Selby chose, is an adidas school, like Tennessee."

Interesting that "Nike" is capitalized while "adidas" is not. Does this mean the News Sentinel is a Nike newspaper?

BillsBrother writes:

in response to Melveen:

"Many suspected the influence of Nike was at work, and thought Kentucky would enter the recruiting picture....Kansas, the school Selby chose, is an adidas school, like Tennessee."

Interesting that "Nike" is capitalized while "adidas" is not. Does this mean the News Sentinel is a Nike newspaper?

Don't sling mud where there is not any. The three stripe company does not capitalize their name.
http://www.adidas.com/us/homepage.asp

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

what you guys aren't catching onto is this: sometimes, that 3 years is a waste. The kid is always comparing the 'next great thing' to you. You are his/her safety blanket, they know they can always 'settle' for you.

Colliervol writes:

Forbes' time would have been better spent on other kids. Three years of work in exchange for one year of service doesn't sound like a good deal to me anyway. Xavier Henry didn't bring Kansas a title and that was with Cole Aldridge and Sherrod Collins. And Selby ain't bringing them one in his only year as a college "student". (And I use that term VERY loosely.)

slsmithsr#269458 writes:

Look @ it this way. Hopson not improving & being a 1-2 yr. and done is the main reason why many (not all) big time players will not wind up in Knoxville. If Scotty would have gotten better,,,then maybe. Otherwise, look for mostly 4 year players who will be borderline NBA to be on the roster. Prepare players for the NBA and then, many ...many ...many more dandies! Today...Chism is has the best shot, and even he ain't a sure bet....but I like his chances. He made the best of his time.

allntl1#565211 writes:

Butler did OK with no one and dones. Did pretty good with no McDonald's All Americans.

richvol writes:

Hopson not improving has more to do with him being immature and lazy than a lack of coaching. I do think that Pearl could have used the bench as a tool to effectively light a fire under his arse though.

The mother texting the decision to Forbes after three years of developing a relationship with the kid says volumes about his maturity as well. If the kid can't at least be man enough to tell Forbes himself then he is weak in the areas that make a man a man.

richvol writes:

It's certainly hindsight but the time Forbes spent on Selby should have been spent recruiting a seven foot center...we need a true center more than anything else.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to Melveen:

"Many suspected the influence of Nike was at work, and thought Kentucky would enter the recruiting picture....Kansas, the school Selby chose, is an adidas school, like Tennessee."

Interesting that "Nike" is capitalized while "adidas" is not. Does this mean the News Sentinel is a Nike newspaper?

It means you are not as smart as you think.adidas is not capitalized.

rocky_topper writes:

selby and momma starve for attention. most of us vol fans wrote him off many weeks ago. it wasn't a disappointment or a shock at all.

feathersax writes:

Another "one-and-done" player with a handler & lots of baggage; just what we don't need at UT.

rposter writes:

in response to allntl1#565211:

Butler did OK with no one and dones. Did pretty good with no McDonald's All Americans.

Yeah and there are around 300 schools without All Americans that did pretty bad.

rposter writes:

in response to feathersax:

Another "one-and-done" player with a handler & lots of baggage; just what we don't need at UT.

Yeah who needs top 5 talent. Screw all top 5 talent we don't want any of those types around here

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to UofTNFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why cut off Collier's balls because he expresses his opinion??

The snide sarcasm really isn't necessary.

volsunited writes:

I agree we are gonna need a big guy after this year in the 2011 class but there isn't many guys out there like that. I assume a 6-9 possibly chism-like guy is what we can hope for in that class unless a transfer comes through

vol88 writes:

I'm not sure what shoe UT was wearing when I went there a million years ago. I brought a pair of Chuck Taylor Coverse. Is it too late for me to decommit? Geez. GBO.

volsunited writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Cousins was a lock for top 10 in the draft out of high school! Come on he was the #2 recruit coming out of high school not a 2-3 at best to the NBA . Cal great "recruiter" pretty good coach, the NBA showed that when u dont have above average talent he isn't a great coach

volboy81 writes:

too bad we don't play Kansas again...then we could beat him!

bryanvolsfan writes:

I think Bruce Pearl showed everybody this year that he is more than a "AVERAGE" coach, he showed he can MANAGE and WIN ball games by his coaching talent. He went from Up-Tempo, pressing style to Half court, Zone in the middle of the season. Not many coaches could do that, Bruce definatly earned his money this year. Im excited about the upcoming class, I believe they will be another special team.

VOLSfan1982 writes:

in response to slsmithsr#269458:

Look @ it this way. Hopson not improving & being a 1-2 yr. and done is the main reason why many (not all) big time players will not wind up in Knoxville. If Scotty would have gotten better,,,then maybe. Otherwise, look for mostly 4 year players who will be borderline NBA to be on the roster. Prepare players for the NBA and then, many ...many ...many more dandies! Today...Chism is has the best shot, and even he ain't a sure bet....but I like his chances. He made the best of his time.

I would rather have 4-year players that are boarder line NBA'ers than a crapload of one and done guys. Look at KY this year…all the freshmen talent in the world, no championship, It takes a lot more than a bunch of McDonalds freshmen to win championships. How many one and done's are on Duke's roster?

Homermoosevols writes:

Man we gotta get off Adidas and ink with NIKE. You might think its ridiculous but we all know how kids are these days. They care whats on the jersey and that swoosh (c) emblem is powerful. Highschool kids attribute the Adidas logo to soccer not basketball and football. Just my opinion. GO VOLS.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your exact post was posted a hundred times by Memphis fans on these boards a couple of years ago. We weren't buying it then, we aren't now.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Selby would have been a terrific addition to next year's team, mostly because he would have given us increased depth at point guard, a position where we only have one proven, experienced player. However, he was not a lock to be the starter, because no one knows if we would have worked hard at being a good defensive player. We know he has more offensive game than Goins, but he has no experience at this level, and Goins is a senior who helped alot in getting us to the elite eight. I think he picked Kansas because the point guard spot is wide open there, and it may not be here.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Selby would have been a terrific addition to next year's team, mostly because he would have given us increased depth at point guard, a position where we only have one proven, experienced player. However, he was not a lock to be the starter, because no one knows if we would have worked hard at being a good defensive player. We know he has more offensive game than Goins, but he has no experience at this level, and Goins is a senior who helped alot in getting us to the elite eight. I think he picked Kansas because the point guard spot is wide open there, and it may not be here.

"....because no one knows if HE would have worked hard at being a good defensive player."

Sorry, I hit the button before finishing the proofing.

murrayvol writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You do understand we're talkin' basketball here.

murrayvol writes:

in response to volboy81:

too bad we don't play Kansas again...then we could beat him!

If the Vols play well in the Tourney next year, we may still get that chance.

1vavolfan writes:

So Griff, what does UT do with that last scholarship? Are they recruiting anyone else? It would be nice to know.

murrayvol writes:

in response to fasteddy41:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We got Tobias. That's a good start.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to murrayvol:

We got Tobias. That's a good start.

And previously we successfully recruited Hopson - he was a five star. Look at the four star players we have recruited in recent years - Hall, Tatum, Woolridge, Maymon, McRae, Golden, and most recently Jones and Ware. That's not bad for any program. We have to be mindful that it wasn't long ago that we would never have been in the running for players like Selby or Harris. That Harris and Hopson picked UT, and that Selby had us in his final two tells you we have made tremendous progress in recruiting.

Shiggidyhappens writes:

If nobody wants a one and done player....quit crying about Selby going to KU and his momma texting. Quit whining and putting down anybody who makes a decision to go elswhere period. And Scotty Hopson ain't lazy...his problem is he doesn't have a sound basketball IQ. The same can be said about several of the players. Even with that, they got farther then I thought they would....I applaud that effort.

hueypilot writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You're also a lot closer to NCAA sanctions including the death penalty with Cal than with Tubby. Isn't that the next logical step the next time KY is found culpable, after the Sutton fiasco when you were banned from post season and TV? Not being a smart azz but doesn't Calipari's recruiting record make you just a little bit nervous?

MidTennVol writes:

in response to bryanvolsfan:

I think Bruce Pearl showed everybody this year that he is more than a "AVERAGE" coach, he showed he can MANAGE and WIN ball games by his coaching talent. He went from Up-Tempo, pressing style to Half court, Zone in the middle of the season. Not many coaches could do that, Bruce definatly earned his money this year. Im excited about the upcoming class, I believe they will be another special team.

People half my age would type "word" in reply to that post. I'll type "That's the truth, Ruth."

BP and his staff proved they can adapt their style and game-planning to their personnel. They changed horses in the middle of the stream and look where it got us. Incredible coaching job.

Re recruiting, look what they did with what we have, guys. Good players all around but only one consistently "very good" player (first-team All-SEC Chism) and certainly no "great" players in a long time.

We have a great class coming in and they will be in very good hands. I still see a nine-man rotation. Re a big man/center, I'm beginning to think that the traditional center doesn't really figure into BP's system. Seems like he prefers a strong PF/4 to play the 5 most of the time.

On the other hand, Williams certainly did make a difference inside and down low down the stretch. Not sure if we'll see another 6'11" pure 5 recruited next year.

murrayvol writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

People half my age would type "word" in reply to that post. I'll type "That's the truth, Ruth."

BP and his staff proved they can adapt their style and game-planning to their personnel. They changed horses in the middle of the stream and look where it got us. Incredible coaching job.

Re recruiting, look what they did with what we have, guys. Good players all around but only one consistently "very good" player (first-team All-SEC Chism) and certainly no "great" players in a long time.

We have a great class coming in and they will be in very good hands. I still see a nine-man rotation. Re a big man/center, I'm beginning to think that the traditional center doesn't really figure into BP's system. Seems like he prefers a strong PF/4 to play the 5 most of the time.

On the other hand, Williams certainly did make a difference inside and down low down the stretch. Not sure if we'll see another 6'11" pure 5 recruited next year.

If that "6'11" pure 5" can run, rebound, block, defend, score in the paint, and stay out of jail, he'll get recruited......by us and lots of other folks.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

the reality that we are in the competition for these kids is the real story here

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to GeneralNeylandsReturn:

the reality that we are in the competition for these kids is the real story here

Bingo.

nolancrooks10 writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

who is Chris Jones????

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rocky_topper:

selby and momma starve for attention. most of us vol fans wrote him off many weeks ago. it wasn't a disappointment or a shock at all.

I was much more surprised when I heard we were back in on him after he decommitted the first time. It still hurt when he turned us down again, but I would have been shocked if we had gotten him.

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