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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Marcus Jordan Commitment to UCF: An Example of the Millennial Mindset

To the modern blue-chip high school athlete,a college team's tradition and history doesn't carry the same value it used to. Instead, a spotlight and premier facilities can be just as appealing, or even a deal-maker. Case in point: Marcus Jordan's commitment to play for the University of Central Florida.

For the unacquainted, UCF is located just outside of Orlando and is one of the largest schools in the nation. The football program has enjoyed a string of successful years, and the basketball team has occasionaly earned its way into the national tournament, yet FSU, UF and Miami are still regarded as the "Big Three."
Considering those facts, it's hard to imagine why Marcus Jordan, son of Michael Jordan, the greatest player in NBA history, declined offers from established teams in major conferences, such as Arkansas, Iowa and Stanford.
Two reasons:

  1. New Arena.
  2. Plenty of PT (Playing Time)

.If you don't think those were major factors in Jordan's decision, read what Tyrone Slaughter told the Orlando Sentinel.


He made his decision based on two criteria. One was the ability to go in and make an immediate impact. He wanted to go in and have an opportunity to play right away at the collegiate level. Secondly, if it was place that he went to on a visit would immediately appeal to him. He immediately felt comfortable during his visit to UCF.

Take a look at the new UCF arena,where the Golden Knights play. ucf basketball arenaTake another look at their all-record in post-season play, and you'll realize that this isn't a traditional powerhouse. In my opinion, today's blue chip recruits aren't impressed by your past, but  what you can offer them now.
You probably don't even know UCF basketball's head coach, (Kirk Speraw)  but UCF can offer something Iowa, Stanford and Arkansas don't have: A state-of-the art facility (Opened in late 2007) and a spot in the starting lineup. Surely, UCF Athletics Director Keith Tribble reminds coaches to showoff the fine facilities to recruitsucf arena

Of course, I wouldn't base my opinion on the actions of one athlete, but I spent four years interviewing local blue chip athletes about their college selection process, and I noticed two recurring factors in many of their decisions: Playing time and facilities. Of all the athletes I talked to, only a few even mentioned "Winning tradition", "Program history", "Winning legacy" or other phrases that we once heard on a regular basis.

Now, don't misinterpret my main point as a prediction that the powerhouse programs are headed for disaster. Certain schools such as Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky, UNC and Duke will always recruit with their name alone, but new facilities and the promise of playing time can level the field for many teams considered "mid-major" programs.

Ask yourself this question, if it was April 2007 and someone told you that Michael Jordan's son was going to sign with a college in Florida, which team would have been the first to come to mind? Chances are you  would have guessed the two-time defending champions (at the time), the Florida Gators. The past two seasons, UF has failed to make the NCAA tournament. Do you know when the Gators' home court,the Stephen O'Connell Center,opened?    December 30, 1980. Meanwhile, UCF's best recruiting class has signed on for next season. Just some food for thought.
 The lesson to be learned: Millenials present new marketing challenges that turn conventional wisdom on its head.

By Matt O'Hern at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

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