February 06, 2008
The Kevin Hart Saga, Local VersionIf you've been following the news recently, you may have heard about Kevin Hart, the Nevada high school senior who held a press conference to announce he had accepted a football scholarship from Cal--only to have it revealed that he had no scholarship, and in fact had not been recruited by any of the schools he claimed were in pursuit.
I figured the local papers must be all over this story, and sure enough they are. The Reno Gazette-Journal has a series of articles on the story. The most recent is the "I made it up" one, and from there you can see them all, from the initial coverage of the press conference, to doubts beginning to surface, the mystery deepending, rumors of a shadowy middleman being involved, and then the denouement.
The most poignant, or strange, article is the very first one, the initial press conference. This is covered as a straight "Cool things happening in Nevada story". It starts out "As recently as three weeks ago, Fernley offensive lineman Kevin Hart was all set to commit to Oregon. But on Friday, during an assembly in front of the entire school, Hart chose California over the Pac-10 rival Ducks." (while he was pretending that one school was recruiting him, why not raise the stakes by pretending that multiple ones were and he had pulled a late switch-eroo?). Hart put an Oregon hat and a Cal hat in front of him, then chose the Cal hat (a moment captured in the picture above from the RGJ website--what precisely is going on inside his head at that instant?). Hart, described as "the first Fernley athlete to receive a full scholarship to a Division I school directly out of high school", is quoted as saying "I'm sure it won't hit me until I hit the practice field and get welcomed to the Pac-10"...and then the team coach says, "This is a great day for Fernley High School...This is one young man who is going to represent us on the national level. But we'll always remember he came from Fernley." It's all too horrible/awesome to believe.
The most thorough coverage of the story that I've found is this article at bearterritory.net, a site that covers Cal recruiting and was evidently the first to suspect that something was amiss. The sad part is that Hart really was ranked at a 5.2 by rivals.com, which puts him right in the middle of the 5.0-5.4 band described as "Division I prospect; considered a mid-major prospect; deemed to have limited pro potential but definite Division I prospect; may be more of a role player." So even if he didn't make a D-1 school, he probably could have played in Montana or something. But now it's doubtful any college coach anywhere would take a chance on him.
Posted by AdamBa at February 6, 2008 09:52 PM
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At the time he "selected" Cal, some locals were miffed that he hadn't signed with nearby Nevada Reno, (who Kevin claimed also offered him) a WAC Conference member that plays against teams like Hawaii and Boise State.
Maybe he can catch on with a Div. II team or find a J.C. that might be interested in him now.
Posted by: Steve in Concord at February 7, 2008 12:13 AM
Here's some more quotes from him--as they say, "rather odd":
Posted by: Adam Barr at February 7, 2008 03:50 PM