CBS Sports: Sonny Vaccaro Working To Get ’09 Recruits To Europe


Potential Negative Effect on NC State’s ’09 Class?

In my opinion, Sonny Vaccaro is no friend of college basketball, and even in his retirement, Vaccaro continues to work against the interests of collegiate hoops:

Europe Still An Option For Recruits

Vaccaro said he had breakfast Monday morning with a table of people working on behalf of or in association with European clubs, and that there are “six or seven” clubs considering offering a contract to an American more interested in spending at least one season in Europe than college. Furthermore, Vaccaro said there are people “right now” scouting various high school players, and that this will continue through March.

“They will make offers,” Vaccaro said. “They will make offers (to players) they think can play.”

As far as this senior class, there is no consensus top 10 list, per se. But the prospects most commonly identified as “top 10-caliber” recruits are Derrick Favors (uncommitted), John Wall (uncommitted), John Henson (committed to North Carolina), Xavier Henry (committed to Memphis), Renardo Sidney (uncommitted), DeMarcus Cousins (uncommitted), Lance Stephenson (uncommitted), Kenny Boynton (committed to Florida), Abdul Gaddy (committed to Washington), Avery Bradley (committed to Texas) and Jordan Hamilton (committed to Texas). Again, Vaccaro declined to name names. But has previously reported that the prospects who remain uncommitted — specifically Wall, Sidney and Stephenson — are the most likely to explore Europe as an option, though it’s worth noting that Vaccaro insisted the group of prospects who are intrigued by Europe isn’t necessarily limited to uncommitted players.

I’ve given teams the names of the kids I think would be worth looking at,” Vaccaro said. “That, I’ve already done.”

In other words, though not exactly (especially legally) Vaccaro is acting as an agent of either the Euro league looking for a one-year wonder or the players.  Your pick.

What is an undeniable fact is that Vaccaro could single handedly wreck the recruiting classes of a number of colleges, NC State included.

Imagine this scenario: NC State gets commitments from any combination or Wall, Favor or Demarcus Cousins, and Vaccaro talks any of them (or all) into going to Europe to play.  That would be bad very news for NC State indeed.

09-10 Basketball Basketball Recruiting

17 Responses to CBS Sports: Sonny Vaccaro Working To Get ’09 Recruits To Europe

  1. Daily Update 01/13/2009 at 4:07 PM #

    Sonny isn’t paid by the NCAA. He is being paid by European teams to do a job for them. If the NCAA wanted Sonny Vaccaro to work for the best interests of college basketball, then they should hire him. Since they haven’t hired him, then I don’t think making him out to be some type of villain for doing his job makes any sense.

    These European clubs probably subscribe to several scouting services. Are they all out to get the NCAA then? He has always been about helping kids and coaches including our very own Herb Sendek and he has been doing that for decades. I don’t think he gives a crap about the NCAA one way or the other.

  2. Tar Heel Fan 01/13/2009 at 4:09 PM #

    To what extent has it already screwed Arizona? Brandon Jennings did have issues with his test scores but I have to think AZ is better off now than they would otherwise be had Jennings showed up, even for one season.

  3. Alpha Wolf 01/13/2009 at 4:11 PM #

    Daily, it’s more than just this. Vaccaro invented shoe camps, and more or less invented AAU hoops.

    Read this: for an example of how Vaccaro operates right on the edge of legality:

    “Vaccaro estimated 10 to 15 colleges arrange for booster donations of more than $20,000 to the foundations in a given year. In exchange, they get an inside track on recruiting players. “Why would you remember someone who did not help you, as opposed to someone who did help you?” Vaccaro said. “The person who gave the money would not give the money unless they thought it helped them. There is no benevolence on this level for saving mankind.”

  4. packpigskinfan23 01/13/2009 at 4:16 PM #

    Oh this guy could kill recruiting classes for sure… but its not his fault.

    Its the NCAA’s and NBA’s fault. Until we see the NCAA forces a change, the NBA’s rule will hurt College basketball.

  5. wufpup76 01/13/2009 at 4:19 PM #

    I agree THF about Jennings, but that is a “one-off” situation … Some kids *may* go over there and have a ‘Lebron’ effect – but that’s an extreme as well … Each case will be judged differently, I guess

    I’m with Bobby Knight who says the “1 year out of HS” rule is terrible for college basketball

    As for Vaccaro, has been paid plenty of money by Nike, then Addidas, and now European teams … He may very well have kids’ best interests at heart (highly debatable), but this 1-year rule needs to be addressed … as does AAU and their “coaches” and recruiting in general

    Who has any confidence that NCAA will be able to do anything at all? Like the article said, everybody serves their own best interests and the NCAA has never been associated with common sense and pulling together to achieve/create something both meaningful and beneficial

    Bahhh …

  6. Wolf74 01/13/2009 at 4:19 PM #

    Vaccaro is in it to make money and help those that pay his salary – nothing else.

    BUT to be perfectly honest, ever since the NBA put in that stupid rule requiring every player to go college one season in an attempt to protect themselves from their own stupidity in drafting so many HS players, I have not understood why this hasn’t happened sooner and more frequently. When the rule was first put in, a good friend of mine and huge Wolfpacker, commented that the truly elite kids that didn’t want to go to college should just go to Europe for a year and get paid while waiting on the NBA. Made sense to me then and makes sense now. I am all for the kids going to college but the present rule of one season is crazy. The NBA should go to the MLB rule where you go straight out of HS or you cann’t be touched for three years or until you are 21.

  7. Alpha Wolf 01/13/2009 at 4:23 PM #

    Oh this guy could kill recruiting classes for sure… but its not his fault.

    True, but you have to look at the overall record of Vaccaro. The quote above about selling influence to fund his camps should tell you all you need to know, but quite honestly, entire books have been written about the corrosive effects on college sports that the shoe companies (with Vaccaro as a guiding light) have had.

    I really think a lot of people would be shocked and dismayed if the hood of college recruiting was lifted up and we could all see clearly what goes on.

    I strongly recommend to anyone who hasn’t read Dan Wetzel’s book “Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed and the Corruption of America’s Youth” to go over to and order it (linked). At $0.01 used plus shipping, it can be had for $4 or less. It is eye opening to see what effect the shoe companies have on basketball recruiting and how it has distorted fair play. Vaccaro stars in that book.

  8. Daily Update 01/13/2009 at 4:38 PM #

    Sonny was the opposite of corrosive to NC State and Herb Sendek. I know all about Sonny Vaccaro.

  9. Noah 01/13/2009 at 4:46 PM #

    Sole Influence is a very good book. I would strongly recommend it, as well.

    Brandon Jennings’ decision earned him a couple of million dollars and it saved an NBA squad a lot of money too. He’s currently getting a lesson in the reality of his own abilities.

    I don’t know where I come down on all of this. Personally, I hate pro basketball. I just hate it. I think it’s an unwatchable mess. The season is 30 or 40 games too long, the game is a mess, the officiating is non-existent. I could go on all day long.

    On one hand, I think a person should be able to earn a living. If you can get someone to pay you to go play basketball and that’s what you want to do, you shouldn’t have to answer to me. I’m fine with requiring the players to be legal adults. After that, it’s their life.

    On the other…their decisions seem to be ruining the very game they are trying to enhance. College basketball ratings are consistently falling. The final four doesn’t get anywhere NEAR the ratings that any of the BCS bowls get.

    I’m curious about the economics of pro basketball. Where are they getting their money? NBA Properties was a HUGE revenue source during Jordan’s time. I mean, it was a couple of billion a year split 30 ways. You could GIVE your tickets away and still make a mint owning a team.

    Is that still the case?

    Basketball is trending the wrong way and it’s got a lot of problems and NO ONE seems to be talking about any of this. David Stern chastises anyone who dares mention ANY problems with his league. He’s like a character out of some cautionary fable.

  10. Gene 01/13/2009 at 5:02 PM #

    Am I the only one, who thinks going to college has its own charm? It’s kind of sad to see kids, who are so career driven at such a young age, they don’t want to broaden their horizons, even though they have the chance.

    Some sports really do demand kids turning pro, without much of an option for integrating collegiate athletics (and the college experience) into the professional leagues, but major U.S. team sports don’t really fit into this rule.

    Noah, I think most sports teams, other than the NFL, have their own networks, which broadcast their games, so they get money from the ad revenue. For example Comcast has a stake in the 76’ers and broadcasts their games and has a deal to broadcast all the Phillies games, as well. The Madison Square Garden Network covers all the MSG teams, so they get the ad revenue from the network. I don’t think they are dependent on league wide contracts and league wide revenue figures.

  11. TheCOWDOG 01/13/2009 at 5:41 PM #

    Sonny is not a bad man. There is no bad man, it’s the system. If one wants to eliminate the influences around shoe deals and AAU, just open ALL NCAA sports up to draft eligibility at 18 years of age. If you don’t sign out of high school and take a scholy, you go back into the hopper at 21. I have never seen the problem with this.


    The 1 and done does more harm to programs than the possibility of losing the recruit to EUROPE FRESH OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. If you’re putting the effort into a kid that is ” can’t miss ” only to see him take the money, how many others are in the same boat?

    Only way to get right is to look at baseball.

  12. redfred2 01/13/2009 at 6:20 PM #

    Wolf74, Vacarro is giving the Euro leagues exposure, and at the same time he is circumventing OUR system, and he is enticing kids away from what we all know and LOVE as OUR college basketball, by putting together this “recruits trip”.

    “Recruits”, Ha!!! They we will be cattle, seduced by quick and easy fame and fortune, and then sold to the highest bidders, with ol’ Sonny V smiling all the way. Just like AAU ball, it will be “SHOWTIME”, only this time, it’s “SHOWTIME BB in EUROPE”.

    Those Euro leagues are admittedly secondary to the NBA, but notice I did say “are”, as in present tense, because that’s for right now. If Sonny Vaccaro has his way, he’ll be even more loaded when he’s known as “The Father of the North America to Europe High School BB Pipeline.”

  13. redfred2 01/13/2009 at 6:44 PM #

    How much longer is it going to be until they do not even have to work hard enough to graduate from high school?

    The NBA had better get it’s shit together, their stock has been slipping since about the time they started taking kids straight out of HS anyway. Either that, or the NBA just needs to plan on expansion, and add a few more divisions over in Europe.

    HS < AAU

    College < Euro Ball < NBA (for now anyway)

    Actually, I’d have to put playing collegiate basketball at the very ROCK BOTTOM on the list of options these days, below even HS or AAU BB. Those two are pretty much required these days and playing collegiate BB is no longer required. Add to that, the kids/players ARE actually REQUIRED to do something besides just playing BB in college, and as we all know, more and more of them know nothing else and don’t want to do a damn thing but dribble a basketball anyway.

    Yep, that is progress for sure. Any wonder why we are getting our asses thoroughly kicked in a global economy?

  14. highstick 01/13/2009 at 6:56 PM #

    Noah, BBall trending the wrong way? Boy, that is an understatement! It’s been going on for years and I don’t see any chance of a change until it fails on its own!

    I used to enjoy both pro and college, now the professional game is crap and the college game is going in that direction.

    Any chance of any AD’s going to Europe?? I know someone we can volunteer!

  15. redfred2 01/13/2009 at 8:11 PM #

    My justintv is no longer working, who would have ever thunk that?

  16. packnwilm 01/13/2009 at 8:14 PM #

    My question is whether WALL will cross the Atlantic with his mother back home with health problems. Would he?

  17. sf59 01/13/2009 at 9:37 PM #

    an old coach of ours owes everything past and present to this gem of a guy….

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