Saturday, January 11, 2003

Five questions with Clark Francis

Clark Francis has been publishing the Hoop Scoop basketball recruiting newsletter for the past 20 years from his home base in Louisville. Francis, 43, who now sells his product only on the Internet, recently answered five questions from Enquirer reporter Bill Koch.

1. How did you get started in this business?

I just kind of grew into it, being around the game most of my life. When I was a little kid, I was a Louisville fan and it kind of evolved. When I went to college as a journalism major at Indiana University, I had no idea I would be doing what I'm doing. The bottom line is that anyone can break into the recruiting business. You just have to work hard and do your job and be in it for a long time, and you can establish a niche in this business.

2. What's the biggest-name player you ever missed?

How about Felipe Lopez, Yao Ming and Damon Bailey? My biggest weakness is that if a guy is 7 feet 3 and he's not very good, I'm not going to give him as much benefit of the doubt as a lot of people. With Yao Ming (now a star with the Houston Rockets), he didn't run very well and he needed to get stronger. (Former Indiana star) Bailey is a perfect illustration of how physical the game has become. Guys who are soft, I don't rate as high anymore. Lopez went to the wrong school (St. John's). He had a lack of confidence, a lack of outside shooting and a lack of being able to take punishment inside.

3. How do you respond to criticism for rating grade school players?

I rate grade school players because if somebody says this guy is great, I put him on the list. I don't go see fourth- and fifth- and sixth-grade players. Being a good journalist, if someone gives you a lead, I put it out there and get feedback. ... The kids can handle it. The ones who can't are the parents and coaches.

4. What do you look for when you evaluate talent?

Most great players have one of three things - outside shooting, athleticism and size. If you have all three...but they don't make many people like that... If a guy plays smart, does he play defense, does he play tough? An awful lot of things go into the equation.

5. Why do you think fans are interested in recruiting?

The season is often times too long. After awhile, you know what you're going to get and you want something new. It's fun to say, "If we get this guy and this guy, our team is going to be this way."

Lewis leaves without job
Daugherty: Right coach, wrong team
Krumrie leaves Bengals for Bills' defensive line job

NFL reviewing Shockey for throwing cup into stands
Curnutte's NFL picks
Best bets
Gunslingers Vick, McNabb square off
Bulluck won't shy away from hitting Maddox
Longtime writer McDonough dies at age 67

Reds trade for Penny still possibility
All-Star outcome could add meaning

Struggling A-10 clubs need cure
Women: Xavier 65, Duquesne 57

UC hasn't let defense rest

Enquirer's Tipoff page
Five questions with Clark Francis
Catching up with Brian Grant
Things get rougher for aching Bucks
Wildcats sharing the scoring
UK's Hayden dies

Moeller rallies behind Duncan
Anderson gets physical and wins
Holmes embraces the pass, beats Holy Cross
Indians go from surprise to streak
Ohio: Top-ranked Bacon holds off No. 2 Badin
Kentucky: Wendeln keys Scott upset of Dixie
Prep schedules, Friday's results

Ducks gain tie, 'Clones win
Mercy, Pig hold free run clinics
Wishing Well today at Turfway

Strange bedfellows

Els making easy work of season-opening event

Fans might bench top MVP candidates in All-Star game
NBA rookie Stoudemire is something special
Shaq's joking, not being racist about Yao
NBA notebook

Sports on TV, radio this weekend