I'm not sure I 100% agree with this.Like it or not, the AAU coaches think that they are the center of the universe. The AAU programs with the all-star teams and playing in the national tournaments are where a lot of the real high-profile recruiting takes place. You may make first contact with kids in HS, but you close the deal during the AAU season.
And - like it or not, the top AAU coaches in MN think that the Gophers are not paying them the "respect" they deserve. And if the AAU coaches get down on a program, they are not going to encourage their players to consider that program. in a lot of cases, the AAU coaches have more influence on players than the HS coaches, because AAU takes place in the summer, kids are not in school and spend all of their free time with their AAU teams.
So, if you want to land the top AAU kids, you have to kiss some big-time butt. From what is being reported, sounds like Pitino didn't want to play that game. and Pitino supposedly "dissing" McKinley Wright really put him behind the 8-ball with the AAU scene.
Were the gophers winning, it wouldn't matter to these AAU coaches. The reason that they don't send top kids here as of right now is because our program is terrible. Why would you want your top kids going and playing for NIT berths when they have high end programs that will put both the player and themselves in the spotlight right away?
Win here and this changes instantly no matter how "wined and dined" they get. Right now, Minnesota is a bottom 4 program in the Big Ten no matter what we all think and that is the biggest problem.