Shaq, who’s in your ear?

Shaquille Boga, 2011 commitment to the Milwaukee Panthers, has reportedly said that he’ll decide by Wednesday if he wants to sign in the early signing period with Milwaukee.  Northstar basketball talked to Boga, who said he may not sign during the period and could wait until the spring to sign his LOI.

I wrote the first ever Shameless Recruitment towards Shaq in August, shortly after the 6’11” power forward J.J. Panoske made his commitment official.  Panoske signs his L.O.I. today, and the Milwaukee coaching staff is hoping that Shaq’s is just a few days behind.

With the word now that Shaq is wavering, I guess my question is why?  The article has quotes where he reportedly says he feels he can dominate the mid-major level, he wants to play the toughest competition, and he wants to get exposure during college.

Well, that makes me feel better about it.  I know, he’s got a couple reservations about signing, but the Milwaukee Panthers have got them all covered.

For one, the toughest competition comes several times a year.  Out of conference, annual games against Marquette and Wisconsin bring teams that compete for conference championships in the Big East and Big Ten, respectively.  This season, we begin a four-year series with Northern Iowa, who was in the Sweet 16 last season.  Oh, by the way, the national runner-up happens to be in our conference.

With the Horizon League’s ESPN deal coming to a close, the negotiations for a new one, which will cover Boga’s college career, will put conference schools on TV plenty more than the current deal.  Thanks goes to Butler, who advanced to the national title game last year.

We also have the Horizon League Network, which is the envy of almost every league.  While the Big Ten Network puts games on TV constantly, you don’t get every game from every team live.  They just can’t do it.  At the Horizon League, we can.  And the scouts are seeing it.  NBA scouts mentioned being able to see Gordon Hayward most of last season online as important as his run through the NCAA Tournament.

But certainly playing in a mid-major league means your exposure won’t get you to the NBA because your competition isn’t the best, right?  Well, Hayward is far from the only one.

What about Paul Millsap from Louisiana Tech?  By the way, that’s the same LA Tech that put out Karl Malone.  Stephen Curry?  He dominated a low-major conference, but that didn’t stop him from making it to the big show. Jameer Nelson killed the competition at St. Joe’s.  Danny Granger plied his trade at New Mexico.  Jason Thompson?  He went to Rider (ree-der) and now he’s on the Sacramento Kings.  His former teammate, Kevin Martin, is now on the Houston Rockets, but once upon a time he was at Western Carolina.

Here in Milwaukee, we’ve got Andrew Bogut, whose Utah team may be a high-major next season, but for now is Mountain West.  Earl Boykins came out of Eastern Michigan.  Darington Hobson went to New Mexico. Our first round pick, Larry Sanders, went to VCU.

You’re a point guard.  You must know Derek Fisher, captain and point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers.  He’s won five rings, and his time at Arkansas-Little Rock didn’t hinder his ability to do that.  Hell, Lamar Odom and Theo Ratliff went to mid-majors themselves (Rhode Island and Wyoming, respectively).

So don’t worry about the exposure.  The scouts will find you if you’re dominating the Horizon League.

The conference opponent of Minnesota and Iowa, Michigan State, also made the Final Four.  But they lost to Butler.  So is the competition a drop off?  I will never claim, and most people won’t, that the Horizon League is better than the Big Ten.  What I’m saying is that the competition you get in the Horizon League is strong, and Milwaukee plays tough teams in the non-conference.  Schools like Iowa schedule the majority of non-conference games with low-major opponents, so the level of schedule evens out over the season.

I get that these questions asked by North Point are somewhat leading, and Boga’s answers come back to the “slight” possibility that he may not sign this week.

But Panoske’s LOI is inked today.  The future is looking very bright with Kelm, Panoske, Richard, and you, Shaq Boga.  Come make us complete.


  1. OneandOne

    November 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    We want Shaq! We want Shaq!

    Shaq WOULD kill the competition in the Horizon League. Seeing him face off against Ray McCallum at least 2x a season would be a thing of beauty.

    And yes, if he plays above the level of everyone else- it doesn’t matter what league he is in.. he will get noticed by lots of scouts.

  2. PantherJack

    November 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Did Shaq sign today?

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