July 6, 2011

The curious case of Dominic Artis

Kevin McCarthy

If a tree falls in the forest and say Dave Telep or Jeff Goodman do not hear it go timber, does that mean the tree and forest don’t exist and therefore any keel over could not have taken place? Not to go all Zen on you but the gatekeepers and chroniclers of prep basketball reality can only present what they witness and what each believes to be fact, however opinion-injected any presentation may be. There’s nothing wrong with the duo of scribes listed above -- the work of each is topnotch -- but the what and when of their presentations and proclamations are limited by inherent constraints.

photo of Dominic Artis

Consider the case of departed Salesian High and soon-to-be Findlay Prep (NV) point guard Dominic Artis, whose positive play of more than the last couple of months has been ‘discovered’ by the national media and is earning him nation-wide recognition. However, when something is brought to light is not necessarily when it came to fruition -- it’s when ‘it’ was witnessed by those with the largest megaphones and platforms.

For the record, the June NCP Scouting Report has Artis as the fourth-ranked overall prospect in northern California.

I’ll offer that Dom Artis’ level of play and recruiting attractiveness has been worthy of nationwide attention for a much longer period of time and that both Telep and/or Goodman would have made such a discovery earlier than the last couple of months if either was based in northern California, possibly even southern California.

For the record, it appears Telep lives in North Carolina and Goodman in Massachusetts so such homesteads may feed the fire about any perceived East Coast recruiting bias. It is simply easier to poke around one’s own geographical area or region and that situation allows for multiple opportunities to see and evaluate talent on a much more timely basis.

Geographical locations do beg this prominent question: where is the California or West Coast-based staffer of equal national stature? One survey indicated 318 past and present NBA players having been born in California, the most by far of any state so...

Granted, the Teleps and Goodmans do hit the prime exposure events so many western prospects are generally witnessed although not throughout the year.

But I don’t wish to become grassy knoll conspiratorial about all this.

It’s just funny (although sometimes galling), akin to say the discovery of a ‘new’ Amazon tribe. The group more than likely existed for hundreds of years before being found and if a member had shipped out on a canoe and somehow made it to Biscayne Bay, would the headlines read "Amazonian tribesman discovers southeastern United States"? Hardly.

What is also intriguing is a most recent listing of the top 100 2012 prep players throughout the country according to one national ranking. In and of itself it isn’t enough data to form any conclusion but here are the states of residence for the point guard honorees (Artis isn’t listed):

So Just remember this: there was gold in the California hills and streams eons before James Marshall took his first breath let alone found himself next to the American River, plenty of other types of gold remains to be located and each is often quite the shiny nugget prior to receiving any expert recognition of such.