Sports Illustrated Lashes Clark Francis Hoop Scoop!

The Education of Demetrius Walker

During eight years of reporting on grassroots basketball, the author saw coaches, recruiting analysts and sneaker companies put the marketing of talented young athletes ahead of their development as players- George Dohrmann

Demetrius Walker

In the spring of 2003 stories about the prodigious ability of 12-year-old Demetrius Walker spread through the Southern California basketball community and beyond. His name appeared on message boards at SoCalHoops, a prominent website among hoopniks, and he got his first piece of college recruiting mail, a form letter from Miami (Florida). His performance at a spring tournament in Maryland had created some buzz, but it was mostly the result of tireless promotion by his AAU coach, Joe Keller. For three years Keller, age 32, had told anyone who would listen—parents, journalists, high school coaches, college recruiters—that Demetrius was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and some were persuaded enough to pass the word along.

Joe Keller

One man spreading the Gospel of Joe was Clark Francis, a dowdy former journalism student who had turned himself into one of the most quoted figures in basketball. Since 1983 Francis had operated a recruiting newsletter, The Hoop Scoop, out of his Louisville apartment, building a following among basketball diehards. His bulletins, which had begun as black-and-white mailers, consisted of pages and pages of notes on players Francis scouted at tournaments and camps; overwrought flattery of college and grassroots coaches; and “scoops” that weren’t really scoops at all.

Right-Clark Francis Hoop Scoop

Francis did not play college basketball, which is apparent the minute you meet him. He is built like a Weeble, one of those egg-shaped toys that always rights itself because of the weight in its base. He is pale from all the time he spends in gyms across the U.S.—more than 200 days a year by his estimate—and talks so fast that he can be difficult to understand. Francis’s lack of playing experience did not make him unique in his field. He had opinions and the means to distribute them, which was all anyone needed to become a recruiting analyst…


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed Under: MSE Players


RSSComments (5)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Bender says:

    Why you bash Francis all the time?

  2. Amazing, I appreciate you for these details. Good to comprehend that people are important and also talking over within using this method. I keenly anticipate being able to notice a many more such as this soon.

  3. Tom says:

    Jerry only been in the bizzness for couple years and thinks he know it all clark makes one mistake and its not enoughf to punish him

  4. love says:

    frances is a geuis

  5. love says:

    up top i cant believe they really are talking about this man like that…wow amazing jerry love must really hate him this is personal…putting it in print

Leave a Reply