NCAA BK

Daily Buzz: Let the kids be kids

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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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It seems that every week there’s a new story about a barely-teenage kid being recruited to play college sports.

The latest example comes from the Indiana University, where head basketball coach Tom Crean has reportedly offered scholarships to Paul Scruggs and Zach Gunn, two incoming high school freshmen. (That would make them class of 2018, for those counting along.)

The players’ AAU coach told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Crean has shown interest in the players since last year, and the duo recently took an unofficial visit to the university, though neither has verbally committed. In addition, "several other schools, including Xavier, Purdue, Ohio State and Memphis, have also shown heavy interest" in the pair, according to the Courier-Journal.

It’s easy to write off these early offers as showmanship or a coach trying to get a leg up on the competition, and more often than not, a commitment from a 14-year-old means nothing (see: Austin Rivers). But at what point does someone draw the line and say enough is enough? At what point does the NCAA tell its universities to just let kids be kids — even if they play basketball like adults?

Don’t get me wrong, I get it from the coaches’ perspective. I’ve covered the 14-and-under AAU national championships — a tournament that Scruggs and Gunn participated in earlier this summer — and I’ve witnessed countless players who were already grown men by the time they stepped foot on a high school campus. In this case, Scruggs is 6-foot-3 and Gunn is 6-foot-6.

But to inundate middle schoolers with concerns over their college -- and, by extension, professional -- futures seems both irresponsible and counter to the goal of encouraging education. These kids haven’t even taken a shot on a high school basketball team, they can’t drive a car and most of them are barely old enough to even have girlfriends. So why pile on that distraction and that additional pressure any earlier than necessary?

What’s next? Colleges petitioning to recruit sixth graders? Elementary school students? Teams got along fine for decades without purging the local daycare, and at a point, college basketball and football coaches are going to need to be reminded exactly what level it is they coach.

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Now, for some links:

• Could the Phillies' old stadium have played a role in several former players developing brain cancer?

• Golfer shoots 56 on a par 72 — with a penalty stroke.

• Quarterback competition? Michael Vick is reportedly " all for it."

• Here’s what happens when you fall asleep around Blake Griffin:

Alabama football lands another Warmack.

That video of Eric Decker and new wife Jessie James? Just whetting your appetite for their new reality show.

• One of the prospects the Marlins received in the Ricky Nolasco trade threw six innings of a team no-hitter in a Class-A game Monday.

• Check out this ridiculous pool shot:

• After Ryan Braun got busted, is A-Rod next? And could his ban be even longer?

• Two months after being rushed off the field and into emergency heart surgery, Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens has been cleared to return to the practice field.

• Nevada football is switching to white helmets.

• That photo from the Boston Bruins’ “Bieber-proofed” locker room that went around over the weekend? It was two years old:

• Paul George says Larry Bird can still shoot the rock.

• For just $10,000, you can sit next to Spike Lee at a Knicks game.

• How seriously does the NCAA really take concussions?

• A humpback whale almost made a meal of some California divers:

• Jim Harbaugh blames Colin Kaepernick's cap controversy on a " slow time in the media cycle."

• Aaron Rodgers once bet his salary that Ryan Braun was PED-free.

• Meanwhile, Logan Morrison isn't worried about any Marlins getting caught with 'roids.

• Part of the cast of The Sandlot reunited at the field where the movie was shot:

• Geno Smith has some serious money tied to offseason workouts.

• Before she pretended to be living on the streets, Dwyane Wade's ex agreed to a settlement with the Miami Heat star.

• The Ravens placed receiver Jacoby Jones on the non-football injury list after he failed a conditioning test. Too much time on the dance floor?

• The Oakland A’s mascot crashed a wedding:

• Wisconsin quarterback Tanner McEvoy got mugged, robbed in Madison.

• Guy who shaved "Let's Go Pens" into his chest hair is ready for baseball season.

• Disney is the happiest place on earth… until a brawl breaks out at a youth soccer tournament.

• And finally, here’s a fan letting Jeremy Roenick punch him in the face:

Tagged: Indiana, Alabama

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