I worry about Quincy Miller. I’m concerned about Tony Wroten, too.
Before the Big Blue Nation makes this into a Kentucky conspiracy (which, of course, they will), it has nothing to do with the fact that both players are considering heading to Lexington in about a year or so.
It’s more that Miller and Wroten have their priorities out of whack.
Trust me. I’ve seen this story before, and it’s usually not a storybook ending.
Miller is a charismatic and intelligent kid.
I like him a lot. He’s unafraid to speak his mind, plays with a wonderful, youthful exuberance, is exceptionally talented and plays as hard on the court as most of his peers.
“Once I get in college, I definitely want to be a rival,” Miller said. “I want to be somebody that everybody hates.”
Miller is originally from Chicago, moved to North Carolina a few years ago and has blossomed as a player, drawing comparisons to NBA star Kevin Durant due to his length and versatility. Scout.com has him ranked as the No. 2 player in the nation behind Michael Gilchrist.
I don’t know nearly as much about Wroten, who checks in at No. 16 in Scout.com’s Class of 2011 rankings, beyond what I have seen of him on the court and heard from him on Twitter.
The Seattle native is exceptionally talented. He’s a big, strong and athletic guard who has all the tools to be one of the elite players in the country, but he can be difficult to watch because he plays as if he knows all of that.
This is what he tweeted from his ToneTone13 account last week:
"#ToBeHonest. If I’m not top 5 in the country then there shouldn’t b any rankings. Not being cocky just telling y’all how I feel.”
Wroten then went on to days later expand his list from a handful to 15 schools.
It’s because Wroten and Miller, who both remain uncommitted in the college recruiting game, both welcome the attention.
In fact, they bask in it.
And it could wind up being their downfall.
I’ve seen it too often with recruits who are consumed by the recruiting process instead of just going out and letting their play dictate the story.
It’s become a red flag.
Some are more concerned with the number attached to their name in the recruiting rankings than the number attached to the score at the end of each game.
See Darius Washington Jr., or Willie Warren, who have done nose-dives since being ranked near the top of their classes.
Those guys loved to talk the talk. In fact, it was all about themselves — and it wound up costing them dearly.
Others, like former Villanova big man Jason Fraser, ex-Arkansas guard Stefan Welsh and ex-Florida State guard Jason Rich, seemed as interested in doing interviews as playing in games.
They were great kids who were highly rated back in the day, but none lived up to expectations.
At last check, Washington was playing in Italy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Warren — a lottery talent who slipped to the second round of the NBA draft — winds up overseas as well.
Fraser had his share of injuries, and he’s now out of basketball altogether while Rich is in Europe and Welsh will be fortunate to join him.
It’s about focusing on the right things.
Just look at the lottery in this past June’s NBA draft.
Guys like John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson, DeMarcus Cousins, Ekpe Udoh, Greg Monroe, Al-Farouq Aminu and Gordon Hayward — who occupied the first nine slots — had something in common.
Go back to the 2009 NBA draft, and it was more of the same with Blake Griffin, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn and Stephen Curry.
They didn’t yearn for or seem to care about all the attention.
Things have changed over the last couple years now that Twitter has given pro, college and even high school stars a chance to interact with fans.
But there are those who have found a balance.
Take Gilchrist, for example.
The New Jersey native entered the summer as the No. 1 player in the Class of 2011, and he’s part of the Twitter culture.
But unlike Miller, who has more than 3,000 posts, and Wroten, who has more than 1,600, Gilchrist isn’t obsessed.
Gilchrist has 216 posts on Twitter, and one of them spoke volumes about his priorities. It was about one of his supposed rivals, Anthony Davis, a 6-foot-9 skilled forward out of Chicago who has gone from obscurity to arguably the top player in the nation in a matter of months.
Here’s what Gilchrist had to say:
“Shout out to Anthony Davis, a lot of people think I would be mad that he’s number 1 but I’m happy for him for real.”