We should just get used to this. Every few months or years the national media will come back around to slamming Tim Floyd. First, it was the USC scandal where Floyd was cleared. Then, it was an imaginary package deal that didn't violate a single NCAA rule. Now, Tim Floyd is being portrayed as a heartless monster in Pulitzer Prize winning sports author George Dohrmann's new book "Play Their Hearts Out."
The author followed several high profile middle school and high school recruits through the AAU circuit and recruiting process. Particularly, the book focuses on the recruitment of Demetrius Walker. Walker committed to USC before eventually changing his mind and going to Arizona State.
Miner fans might remember Demetrius Walker. When Tim Floyd was first hired at UTEP he nearly brought Walker in as a transfer before he decided to go to New Mexico. So, Floyd must have really left a negative impression on the kid as evidenced by the fact that a few years later he nearly came to El Paso to play for him, right?
ESPN says this book will "make you sick" because of the way it exposes AAU coach Joe Keller and many college basketball coaches, most notably Floyd. The Dagger (Yahoo! Sports) says the book paints an unflattering picture of Floyd.
The book details the phone call between Walker and Floyd when the recruit first tells Floyd he is having doubts. After hearing Walker was having doubts about his USC commitment, Floyd called him. Here is the book excerpt:
"You’ve been committed to us for months. Why are you having these feelings now?" Floyd asked.
"I don’t know, Coach. I don’t know why I am having these funny feelings, but it’s how I feel."
"I don’t really have time for this," Floyd said. "There are other guys out there we can recruit. I don’t have time to be waiting around for you."
"Well, that’s your choice. I don’t want you to sign anyone else right now. I’d like you to wait like two days, just give me some time to think."
"I see what kind of person you are," Floyd said. "You are a liar and you are not a man of your word. ... I thought you were a player like O.J. Mayo and DeMar DeRozan, not afraid of coming in and competing for a spot, but you'd rather be given a position instead of earning one."
"Coach, I'm not afraid of anyone."
"Yes you are. And I'll tell you this: If any NBA teams interested in you come talk to me first, I am going to tell them who the real Demetrius Walker is." Then the coach hung up.
Honestly, the way the national media has obsessed over Tim Floyd has even surprised me. If Floyd was such a jerk to Walker, why would he consider UTEP as a transfer destination? Yahoo! and other national outlets have been given a few excerpts from the book to generate publicity and interest. Why is this the only one anybody's talking about?
Because Tim Floyd makes for an easy punching bag. That's it.
This book covers how Adidas and Nike have infiltrated middle schools with money in the hopes of snagging the next Kobe or LeBron. It covers an AAU coach who said that if Demetrius Walker didn't make the NBA, he'd be a "bad investment." Yet, Floyd has become, again, the face of everything bad in the recruiting process by the media.
Floyd is the guy that went to the NCAA Committee on Infractions and volunteered to testify about the USC allegations when he had no legal obligation to. He didn't lie to their face like Bruce Pearl. He didn't face a show-cause like Sampson. He was cleared by the Committee and has been doing a knockout job at UTEP.
But that doesn't matter. He's the one that the media has chosen to vilify. Miner fans should just get used to it.