Division I basketball program offers a sixth grader. Seriously.
This is when you know recruiting has become ridiculous: A sixth grader just received a Division I basketball scholarship offer.
Seriously. Yahoo! Sports has the story here.
North Carolina Central has offered Damon Harge, a 12-year-old phenom who just finished sixth grade. North Carolina Central isn’t a national power, but it’s not a slouch, either. The Eagles were 17-15 overall and had a winning record in the MEAC last year.
I know some athletes have undeniable talent. Before Stephon Marbury was an NBA star, he was anointed one of the country’s top sixth graders, because such lists exist, for some reason. If North Carolina Central had offered him early enough, maybe he would have considered the Eagles instead of Georgia Tech.
Jesuit ace Lance McCullers had offers from Notre Dame and Vanderbilt before entering high school, and he seems to have lived up to his talent so far. I’m sure offering early didn’t hurt Vandy or the Irish when McCullers was considering his college options.
I’m all about finding talent early. I keep tabs on a handful of prospects who just finished their sophomore years of high school - including two with offers. My wife doesn’t like it when I talk about my youngest nephew becoming a left tackle because he’s off the charts in height and weight for his age group. He’s eight months old, and I’m kidding (sort of).
But this story feels different. Yahoo! lists Harge at 5-foot-4, 120 pounds. What if he stops growing? How many D-I programs – even smaller ones – have a scholarship to spend on another Muggy Bogues? What if he suffers a major injury and loses his speed? What if he gets burned out on the game in the six years before his freshman year of college? And even though schools can pull scholarship offers, it still seems a little more official than a form letter.
What are your thoughts? Does this offer cross a line, or is this just a sign of where the recruiting process is going? Or both?