Tarkanian: You Can't Recruit Against Kentucky

Former UNLV coach and Las Vegas legend Jerry Tarkanian is blogging about basketball -- and other subjects -- for the Las Veags Sun. And if the first couple of posts are any indication, this is going to be a highly enjoyable read.

Here are a couple of highlights from the first couple of entries. For starters, he says that he landed Anderson Hunt because he stuck around for some beers and chicken wings. That and it was nearly impossible to recruit against Kentucky. Check out some more after the jump.

When I was at Long Beach State, we would recruit Detroit. But then Freddie Stone got an assistant's job at Michigan, and he was the same contact I had. So we didn't get anyone out of Michigan.

Anderson Hunt was the exception. I had a speaking engagement in Grand Rapids, Mich., and I was the last speaker. I followed Jim Valvano, the late, great North Carolina State coach. After the speech, I talked to a half dozen Detroit-area high school coaches and they asked me to join them for chicken wings and beer. I said, yeah, I'm not doing anything.

I had a good time. They said it was the first time a major college coach had done that. Every time, they said they'd have to catch a flight or were doing something. Perry Watson, at Southwestern High, told me when he got a great player he'd send him to me.

Two or three years later, I read one of those preseason scouting reports and learned that a 6-7 kid from Southwestern had signed with Iowa. I called Perry and said, you told me when you get a great player you'd send him to me. He said, Tark, he's really good, but there are a lot like him in L.A. He's not a difference-maker. I haven't forgotten you. When I get a difference-maker I'll call you.

Two or three years later, he calls and says, I got the difference-maker for you. Anderson Hunt. He signed with us without ever visiting. He visited after he signed. Perry Watson delivered. Anderson was a difference-maker.

You can read the rest of the entry, here.

This yarn is a riot, where he talks about not wanting to recruit against Kentucky any more.

One Sunday morning, I'm eating breakfast and I read a big article about Sam Bowie, a 7-foot high school player from Lebanon, Pa., and he lists UNLV as a school he's considering.

I didn't even know who he was. I call his coach and tell him I'm happy Sam is interested in us. What got him interested?

He wanted four things - pretty girls, warm weather, he wanted to start and he wanted to study hotel management. I got really excited and drove five or six hours to Lebanon. I met with him and his family.

I know this is in my latest book, but it's too funny. That season, I caught red-eye flights four times to see him. I thought we had a great shot at the kid, but I had never recruited against Kentucky.

I stayed at the only hotel in Lebanon, a Rodeway Inn. Every time I checked in, Kentucky assistant Leonard Hamilton was there, too. I always called him, but he never answered.

It's the middle of January, and we heard Sam's mother was in the hospital. I had assistant George McQuarn fly out there.

He calls me and says, "Coach, you'll never believe this. I'm here in the hospital with Sam Bowie, his family and the whole Kentucky staff." They had flown in on a private plane.

Trust me, there is a lot more if you go here.

Seeing what subjects Tark touches on will be interesting. He's already had some pointed words for some other programs. Most notably Arizona. But this is certainly going to be a great read this basketball season.

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