New youth movement in ASU sports: recruiting 14-year-olds

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                </div>Arizona State is really getting into the ‘youth movement’ that is becoming increasingly prevalent in college sports…recruiting kids before they get to high school. The ASU head football coach, Todd […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Arizona State is really getting into the ‘youth movement’ that is becoming increasingly prevalent in college sports…recruiting kids before they get to high school.

The ASU head football coach, Todd Graham, just got his man…er, kid.  Loren Mondy, a linebacker from Texas who just finished up the eighth grade, has reportedly accepted Graham’s offer to play for the Sun Devils when he eventually gets old enough to don the maroon and gold.

And the Sun Devils basketball coach, Herb Sendek, threw out an offer to a 14-year-old phenom who lives just down the road from the Tempe campus.  Marvin Bagley III hasn’t decided where he will play his college ball, but according to an article by The Arizona Republic‘s Richard Obert, the young’un has at least four scholarship offers in hand already, including the one from the Sun Devils.

At 6’8″, Bagley the Third stands heads and shoulders above his classmates at the charter school he attends and plays for an AAU team instead of his school team, where he would dominate the game to the point of being unfair to the competition and unable to provide him with the challenge he needs to continue to improve his game.

ASU made its scholarship offer just days after the man-among-boys finished up his seventh-grade studies.  The Devils weren’t the first to make an offer, however.  The second-year coach at Northern Arizona University, Jack Murphy, was reportedly the first to zero in on the future prospect.

The youngster has ties to ASU that might give Sendek an edge in the recruiting wars.  Besides living just a few blocks away from the Tempe campus, his lineage includes one of the most well-known and revered players in Sun Devil basketball history.  His grandfather is Jumpin’ Joe Caldwell, a human pogo stick that had an outstanding career at ASU, won an Olympic gold medal, and then had an All-Star career in the professional game.

Similarly, Mondy has ties that go back aways – but with the coach rather than the school.  Loren’s father, Michael Mondy, played for Graham in high school and then later at East Central University, an NAIA school that moved up to NCAA Division II in 2011.  Graham was on staff as the defensive coordinator for a couple of years in the early ’90s.

This kid will be a big addition to his high school team next year – literally.  He’s a 6’1″, 233-pound linebacker who reportedly bench presses his weight.

He could be the youngest player ever to commit to the ASU football program.  But the recruiting of players before they reach high school is becoming much more common in recent years.

Four years ago, USC recruited David Sills to play quarterback for the Trojans when he was 13 years old, and about six years ago their basketball program offered a scholarship to a 14-year old guard named Ryan Boatright. And there are plenty of other examples outside of the Pac-12 schools.

The problem is, it’s a long time to keep a commitment – especially for a youngster that may not have even decided on which high school to attend, much less selecting a college.  It’s highly unlikely that he/she has given any thought to a major field of study to pursue in college, and isn’t that what should determine the final choice for that four-year trip through higher education?

Chances are good that any 14-year-old is going to open up his recruitment options by the time his/her junior year in high school arrives.  There are probably statistics out there somewhere that will support that assumption.

And what are the chances that the head coach who recruited him will still be there at the school when he arrives? Based on the nomadic nature of college coaches, probably not all that good.

But Sendek might be looking at the bigger picture here.  If he doesn’t corral a commitment from this Bagley, he will still have laid the groundwork for recruiting Marvin’s younger brother, Marcus, who will be entering sixth grade in the fall.

Marvin says the kid, a 5’10” point guard, is better than he was at that age.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)