Recruiting's a weird game, man. There's a certain inherent skeeviness that comes with following a high school kids' every move both on and off the court, but that's the new normal in today's day and age. In what has become a truly large generational gap that is growing bigger every time a new app blows up, a requirement in the modern coaching landscape is not only getting to know high school recruits in person beginning at an increasingly younger age, but getting to know them online, as well.
So, when you get an aging generation of coaches being forced to adapt to new technologies in the most public of forums, well, mistakes will be made. And on August 3rd, 2012, Tom Crean fired off this beauty of a tweet into the ether.
Upon realizing what he just did, Crean immediately jumped into defense mode and sent the following two tweets to cover his ass.
Realistically, it was probably exactly what he said it was, a DM to a recruit that mistakenly made its way into our timelines. But the internet doesn't let people off the hook that easy, and did what the internet does best: snarky backlash. The collective response was fast, furious, and well-deserved. With rumors flying of Crean and his weird middle-part being deeply involved in an illicit romance, major outlets across the country were all over it, and Purdue and Kentucky message boards had themselves an early Christmas.
That's not me, though. I make fun of Tommy C for a lot of things (his chronically ill-fitting pants, using what I assume is dip spit as his in-game beverage of choice, the postgame interviews that help me understand PTSD better than any medical textbook ever could), but I don't feel good about going after the low-hanging fruit.
More than anything, this was a learning opportunity for Tom. I really, really hope that in the 3+ years since hitting Send, Tom has switched up his approach in how he woos recruits. But in case he hasn't, I'm here for him.
Embarrassing moments for coaches and athletes are nothing new on Twitter, and as sure as the sun will rise, there will be hilarious DM's from athletes leaked out to the public. While J.R. Smith will always be the GOAT and Ray Allen proved he can make you feel instantly uncomfortable (Warning: NSFW), it's the earnest, sincere tweets that are my personal favorites. When John Calipari waxes poetic about nonsense or Dickie V snaps a pic looking like he's in a promo for the next season of True Detective, that's the good stuff. Take a look:
Walking on the beach this morning, doing a little thinking when I saw footprints in the sand. Reminded me of the poem Footprints in the Sand— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 14, 2014
Dickie V's now-deleted "Stranded at airport" Instagram:
So, when you zoom back out a bit, it's easy to see that Tom was not even close to being alone in this. Because of that, I have some constructive criticism that I would like to send his way.
Be good at being creepy and own it. Confidence is key to any convincing argument, and the weakness shown by backtracking on a tweet and deleting it reeks of insecurity. Moments like this are when we can see into the real Tom Crean, so embrace it. There's a direct correlation (Source: myself) between Coach Cal's emotional ode to footprints in the sand still being active online and recruits flocking to Kentucky during his tenure.
So, Tom, now I'm speaking directly to you. You've been gone from Twitter for awhile now, but your presence looms larger than ever. It's been too long since you've worn your heart on your sleeve online, and none of us are better off for it. Come home and show us your new and improved sext game.
We've been thinking about you a lot. A whole lot.