Carmodys Corner diary: Interest from big-time programs making Carmody re-evaluate
December 30, 2016 12:00 AM
Robby Carmody continues to work through the recruiting process while putting up big numbers for Mars.
Robby Carmody is a 6-foot-4 guard on the Mars High School basketball team who is ranked among the top 100 juniors in the country by some scouting services. He is one of the most heavily recruited basketball players in the WPIAL in a decade, with scholarship offers from many colleges across the country. Carmody's father, Rob II, is in the middle of it all as dad, head coach at Mars and also assistant for his son's AAU team (Ohio Basketball Club). The following is another installment of Carmodys Corner, a diary from the elder Carmody that will appear periodically in the Post-Gazette, as told to P-G writer Mike White.
When the school year started, I’m pretty sure Robby had six or seven colleges that would have probably been at the top of his list and he definitely would want to visit. But with what has transpired after the past few months, and with some new schools coming in, it has made him step back and re-evaluate things.
Kentucky, Indiana, Butler, South Carolina, UCLA and Arizona have all been in touch since the fall, or came to Mars to see him work out or play. They haven’t offered scholarships, but they are all interested and talking to us. Some of those schools can recruit a little differently. They can come in later because they were worried about their class of 2017 first. Now they are on the class of 2018.
We’ll see what happens, because Robby still likes a lot of the schools that were recruiting him all along. It’s just that when some of those other schools come in, you say, ‘OK, maybe I better think about this some more.’
Kentucky is one of those places that recruits on a little different timetable than everyone else. You look at their class of 2017 and for a while they didn’t have anybody. Then all of a sudden, a month goes by, and they have five of the top 50 players in the country again. Although some of these new schools recruiting Robby haven’t offered, they’ve been very clear. They don’t want to recruit anyone unless there is a sincere interest in them and we understand that.
Western Pa. connection
Everyone knows Arizona and Kentucky have coaches from Pittsburgh with Sean Miller and John Calipari. Sean hasn’t been to Mars, but an assistant coach came in the fall. They are definitely interested and Sean talks with myself and Robby.
It’s crazy cool because I watched Sean play when I was a kid and, obviously, I know his father, John [legendary former Blackhawk High School coach]. Any time there is that Western Pa. connection, it’s nice. I think the connection Sean had with [Chartiers Valley’s] T.J. McConnell when he was at Arizona was great. Plus, Sean can say to Robby, ‘you’re coached by your dad. I understand what you’re going through.’ Sean knows how rewarding it can be, but also how difficult it can also be at times to play for your dad.
John Calipari came to Mars to watch Robby work out in the fall. The day he was coming, he called and asked if we could move our workout up in time because he had to get back home. It was John Calipari. So heck, I said, ‘Coach, I’ll take them out of school right now if you want.’
He wanted to talk to Robby and me before our workout. So we sat down and talked. The rest of our team came in and they didn’t know Calipari was here. Our players are putting on their shoes, getting ready, when Robby, myself and coach Calipari walked around the corner. I think some of the kids just said, ‘Holy cow.’ They couldn’t tie their shoes all of a sudden. We started working out and all of a sudden they couldn’t even do a three-man weave because John Calipari was there watching. It was pretty funny.
After we worked out, Calipari said, ‘Let’s get a picture.’ I’m not into taking pictures with all these guys. I mean, I’m not the best looking guy. But it was very cool to see how he was. He thanked all of our kids. You see the guy on TV and think ‘here’s this guy that makes all this money, he’s probably real slick.’ But he’s just a guy from Moon.
Robby would definitely consider some of these schools, but we’ll see if they offer. He still has all the other offers from places like Pitt, Penn State, Duquesne, Michigan, Notre Dame, Purdue, Ohio State and Louisville.
What about Pitt?
Pitt coach Kevin Stallings came to our game against Knoch (Dec. 23). The week before that he came to our practice. Assistant coach Tom Richardson has been around as well.
Robby is definitely going to look hard at Pitt. They have talked to Robby about exactly how they see him fitting into their program. That’s really what all schools have gone to in this process. It’s no longer, ‘We think you can play for us.’ They’re now talking specifically how Robby will be used.
Where a team will use Robby just depends on the terminology coaches use. Some places tell us they don’t have positions with a set ‘1’ or set ‘2.’ Other teams have specific names. They say they want him to be a ballhandling ‘2’ or a shooting ‘1’.
Coaches land at Mars
During the fall and so far this season, it’s crazy how many coaches have been to Mars. Who would’ve ever thought we’d ever have all these coaches coming to Mars? They say things like, ‘I think you’re missing the ‘g’ on the sign for your school nickname. Shouldn’t it be the Fighting Planets?’ I have to tell them, ‘No, we’re just the Fightin Planets. The ‘g’ doesn’t belong.’
Michigan’s John Beilein, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Stanford’s Jerod Haase, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Penn State’s Pat Chambers, Pitt’s Kevin Stallings, Northwestern’s Chris Collins — they’ve all been here. I hope I didn’t miss anyone.
I don’t think it’s any secret that any time a head coach walks into practice or comes to a game, you notice. It’s not that assistant coaches don’t play a big role in this. But when a head coach shows up, it’s almost like they’re saying, ‘Hey, we want you and we’re not going anywhere.’
It’s been fun and crazy, too. But I think Robby wants to now try to concentrate on our season. I told him that if all he wanted to do was worry about recruiting, he could go to a prep school. But that’s not who he is. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize about him. He wants to be here at Mars. He wants to try to win here with his buddies that he grew up with. He’s been in our gym since he was 2 weeks old. He’s not going to be intimidated by the recruiting or afraid of it, but he wants to be here at Mars.
I think by the time the April viewing period in AAU comes around, he’ll have things narrowed down a little and I really think he’ll decide before next school year.
I’m having a blast coaching this team. It’s so different than last year when we had 12 kids back from a team that went 26-3. But if you want to always just have the best talent, then you should go coach in college where you can recruit.
Robby is really the only guy with any varsity experience, but that’s OK. This is part of why you coach, to try to teach and get kids to learn. It’s funny because people ask me before every game, ‘What do you expect?’ I don’t know what to tell them. Really, I just expect us to play hard. These kids don’t know what they don’t know. I think we have a good chance to be a good team as our guys gain experience. But the problem is our league [WPIAL 5A Section 2] is so strong, we could come on too late. There are no off nights in our league.
But we are playing in this very good tournament in New York this week and we are 4-0. Robby is averaging 21 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. His role has definitely changed some from last year because of the inexperience. He is now our best rebounder. That’s something he has to do.
Teams are paying a lot of attention to him, but that has helped in some ways. I don’t know if he will ever be a kid who wants to shoot 30 times a game. I don’t think that’s how he’s wired. He’s always looked to make the right basketball play. He’s only taking 14 shots a game.
What makes me happy is the guys are playing hard and it’s a group that seems to be coming together. Someone in our district rented out the Cranberry Cinemas for our whole basketball program, grades 3 through 12. We all went to the new Star Wars movie. There were 146 people there, a lot of gummy bears and Swedish Fish. And it was unbelievable that only one kid threw up and I didn’t even have to clean it up.
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