Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Mexico State already has secured a top talent for the 2008-2009 season

What if the WAC college team you lived and died for landed a Top 75 prepster?

For most fans and their teams in the WAC, the response would probably be 'do you think I have stupid written on my forehead?'

What if your WAC team also didn't have to even expend a basketball scholarship to do so?

Again, the typical reply would more than likely be similar to that uttered upon receiving those alluring emails from foreign potentates who are willing to desposit millions in your bank account just because they trust you - 'Get lost shyster' or even something more indelicate.

Well, there is a team in the WAC that has done just this. No, not hooked up with a purported gazillionaire abroad -- but landed a select high school recruit without the expense of a basketball scholarship, at least this season.

Now we want to emphasize we know of no smoke nor any fire nor do we wish to even hint at such. That is not the purpose of this post. However, this is a curious situation and worthy of the bandwidth used in offering what is known.

New Mexico State University has Troy Gillenwater on its roster as a redshirt walk-on freshman. For those of you unfamilair with him, here's a quick Rivals mini-bio:

"A Boston native, Gillenwater has spent time on both coasts during his high school career. He established himself as a national high-major prospect with his stellar play during the spring of 2006. In the winter of 2007 Gillenwater committed to Oklahoma State, only to open his recruitment back up this summer. After playing strong basketball during the July evaluation period, Gillenwater registered a No. 69 ranking in the post-summer Rivals150. Then in mid-August, Gillenwater made a surprise commitment to New Mexico State and enrolled as a redshirt freshman after achieving a qualifying test score."

We can't speak to the New Mexico State tuition policy for out of state students but, in most states, the cost is quite expensive. Maybe Troy Gillenwater is taking minimal units at a therefore low cost. He and another redshirt walk-0n, 7-0 Hamidu Rahman out of New Jersey, are apparently attending a branch campus of NMSU -- not the big one situated in Las Cruces -- so the fees may possibly be lower.

Gillenwater apparently comes from a socio economic background that would probably qualify him for financial aid so maybe that is the source for his tuition costs and living expenses this academic year.

But it is unusual for such a heralded player to not only be redshirting but also not be on athletic scholarship -- although he will certainly be on scholarship next season.

Now there could be another source for Gillenwater's finances -- Rick Isaacs.

Again, we wish to stress we certainly have no knowledge of anything untowards. We don't know any more than what we have posted nor do we know if there is any more than what we have posted.

Here's an article we stumbled across while googling for something else, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a portion of the landscape in club team basketball.

With no sneaker support, LA entrepreneur foots the bill
Bob Hohler
Boston Globe
July 24, 2006

LOS ANGELES -- The cellphone rang as Rick Isaacs, an entrepreneur who says he gave up cocaine to help kids chase their basketball dreams, steered his sleek black Mercedes toward the headquarters of his multimillion-dollar business.

The caller wanted one of Isaacs's best prospects, Boston native Troy Gillenwater, to attend a college camp for elite high school players. But Isaacs, who coaches the Los Angeles-based H Squad, one of the nation's top youth travel teams, wanted none of it.

``Troy doesn't have the money," Isaacs told the caller as he weaved his six-figure roadster through traffic. ``And it's not in my budget."

Yet Isaacs's basketball budget is rich enough -- he said he spends as much as $100,000 a year out of his pocket -- that teenagers such as Gillenwater entrust their futures to him. Gillenwater, 17, who played most of the 2004-05 season for Charlestown High School, left his family in Mattapan to travel the country with Isaacs after he rejected a similar opportunity with the Nike-backed Boston Amateur Basketball Club.

In an era when a sneaker company sponsors nearly every major youth travel team, Isaacs is a different breed, a coach who underwrites some of the country's top college prospects without corporate support. He said he does it because he enjoys helping potential stars like Gillenwater -- underprivileged youths with academic challenges -- secure college scholarships and a shot at the NBA.

"This is my cocaine," he said. ``It's my high."

Along the way, Isaacs said, he has helped pay tuition for several needy players to attend Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, which specializes in helping borderline students meet NCAA academic eligibility standards. The NCAA permits individuals outside a player's family to pay tuition at private secondary schools as long as the individuals are not agents or connected to college or professional teams.

Isaacs, 48, said he also has provided financial support to the mother of Danny Williams, an Oklahoma State recruit from Los Angeles who suffered a serious head injury last year in a car crash. He said he has helped Davon Jefferson, a hotly recruited star of his current team, travel from Los Angeles to the Patterson School in North Carolina. And he said he has helped provide housing and clothing for Gillenwater.

Go here for the remainder of Hohler's article.


Anonymous said...

Dona Ana Branch CC charges 1,692 per semester for students who are from out of state. Dona Ana Branch CC is a Branch that will allow a student to transfer to NMSU after 1 year if the student manages 30 credit hours, and 2.0 GPA

Anonymous said...

Troy Gillenwater is low income, so the kid most likely got Financhial Aid. So the kid probably got the Pell Grant, and a few loans that paid for his college.