Who’s Tom Konchalski?


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.

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.Tom konchalski

The bread and butter of most recruiting services, The Hoop Scoop included, are their rankings of high school players. But while other analysts, such as Bob Gibbons of All Star Report, would stop at the top 100 or 150 players, Francis’s rankings seemed to go on until he ran out of names. “He’d have a list of the top underclassmen and it would go to 966,” says Tom Konchalski, who publishes High School Basketball Illustrated. “It was like he was taking every name a coach gave him and putting it out there in hopes it would stick.”

Konchalski and other veteran recruiting analysts liked Francis, but they drew a distinction between what they did and what he did. “Clark was more of a popularizer,” Konchalski says. The other analysts felt their reputations were on the line when they ranked players—the college coaches who were their customers would know if they rated a kid highly and he couldn’t play a lick—and they resisted doing national rankings. “We wanted to be able to see a kid over a period of a few years,” Konchalski says. “One person can’t do that nationally.” But for Francis, who marketed largely to fans, there were no consequences to ranking 966 kids or putting a guard from Arizona he’d never seen play in his top 50.

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  1. stewart says:

    I want to give u heads up on a player in indianapolis name datrion pooh harper …you can be the first to get the reconition i think he will be at the same high school that produced oscar robertson in indianapolis ….. he’s a point gard 7th grader his dad stands 6’4 and his mom is 6 foot in aau ball he avg 29points 6 rebs 9asist and 7 steals a game

  2. bobby says:

    last night at the george hill team…..datrion harper had 25 points 5 rebs 5 assist and 3 steals in a win……..

  3. Ballman says:

    There is a hard nosed kid from Staunton, Virginia who will be a high caliber guard named Jaylin Reed, He is a 6th grader workaholic, avg’s 17- 20 pts during the AAU season. Playing up with the 7th-8th graders this year! He will have height and size!

  4. BallMan says:


    Stop using my name to legitimize your post. I have no clue who Jaylin Reed is, but I hope he is a good kid and as nice a player.


    PS- there will be so much movement in the 2017 class this year. Memphis will be awesome and there are some great match ups being planned around the country. Stay tuned!

  5. VA Baller says:

    I have also seen this kid Jaylin
    Reed play against some teams from Maryland.. He clearly stood out and works hard on both ends! We have to play them again this year..

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