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Dirty Rotten Recruiting

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Big time college sports have always had some shady elements. Almost every school that has been in Division I for a long enough period of time will pick up a scandal or two. Even Villanova has had a few -- the phone card incident, Howard Porter's ABA contract, cocaine use in the 80s, and even the practice of blatantly paying for football recruits that almost saw the Wildcats ejected from the NCAA.

College basketball has had some of the deepest accusations of dirty recruiting, however. Perhaps because teams are small and we obsess over only a small group of recruits. Still, some recruitments are dirtier than others, depending on who "runs" the show. Often that might be a high school or AAU coach, a parent, or in more rare instances, the prospect himself.

CBS Sports continued their series of informal polls of coaches this week by asking which player they perceived to have the dirtiest recruitment in the last decade.

More after the jump...

Which player is perceived to have the dirtiest recruitment in the last 10 years?*

Shabazz Muhammad: 15 percent
Anthony Davis: 13 percent
John Wall: 7 percent
Kyle Anderson: 7 percent
O.J. Mayo: 7 percent
Derrick Rose: 6 percent
Renardo Sidney: 6 percent
Terrence Jones: 3 percent
Tobias Harris: 3 percent
Chris Obekpa: 3 percent

Villanova, interestingly, was only heavily involved (briefly) with one of the players who appeared on CBS's list, Kyle Anderson. The skinny North Jersey point-guard/forward was heavily recruited by a number of schools on the east coast that would have better suited him as a point guard, but instead picked UCLA. That lead one coach to ponder:

"A kid doesn't go across the country to a school that doesn't fit his style of play - and turn down some of the top East coast schools - without it being it unfair. It doesn't make sense from a basketball standpoint."

Chris Obekpa, meanwhile, landed at Big East rivals St. John's and other conference rivals were involved in the recruitment of some of the other named recruits.

CBS's Jeff Borzello notes that an article out of Chicago once claimed that Anthony Davis cost the school (or its boosters) $200,000. Not all dirty recruiting is necessarily going to be about direct cash payments or even cars, houses and chattle.

The recruitment of Shabazz Muhammad, who also ended up at UCLA (and no-doubt helped land coach Ben Howland on CBS's list of perceived cheaters), was one that might illustrate the involvement of of various outside forces in recruiting. According to Borzello:

A financial advisor admitted to CBSSports.com in February that he paid for two of Muhammad's unofficial visits while another financial planner said he helped fund Muhammad's AAU program, the Adidas-sponsored Dream Vision. UCLA, it should be noted, is an Adidas-sponsored school. Lots of coaches (and people in general) have made that connection.

It doesn't take the allegations of a free BMW or a mysteriously-improving bank balance to make recruiting dirty.

Maybe it doesn't matter though? Almost 60% of college coaches believe that players should be paid in some form anyway. Once you throw amateurism out the door, does it make a difference if money gets thrown around in recruiting as well?

The list covers the past decade, so presumably it would cover every Villanova recruit since Randy Foye and Allen Ray first moved to campus until the present. Should it be a sign of pride that none of those athletes were implicated in this survey, or does that just mean that Villanova isn't trying as hard as other programs?

*(The following players also received votes: DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Randolph, Enes Kanter, Josh Selby, Lance Stephenson, Khem Birch, Rodney Hood, Norvel Pelle, Terrence Jennings, J'Mison Morgan, Jordan Goodman, JaKarr Sampson, Jevon Thomas)