Logan Cooley's Story
by ndmd99 (2023-03-07 10:24:40)

In reply to: Games and titles are being won by teams with dynamic  posted by wearendhockey

Cooley committed before the recent recruiting timeline changes in late 2018 (4 years before he would set foot on a college campus). Pretty sure McGroarty committed right around then too. Certainly our success in 16-17 and 17-18 played a big role (which debunks the fallacy that JJ wasn't trying to capitalize on our success).

Cooley saw our pretty good 2018-19 season. He didn't decommit.

Cooley saw our not great 2019-20 season. He didn't decommit.

Cooley saw our OK 2020-21 season (a season without non-conf play which makes it impossible to determine how good we were vs anyone outside the B10). He didn't decommit.

Cooley entered the NTDP in 2020. He wasn't on anyone's draft radar. He started as a 3rd/4th liner (which usually is a player who will be drafted mid/late draft round or undrafted).

By winter 20-21 he was usually centering the U-17 top line. Around this time McGroarty was the first promotion to U-18.

I forget exactly, but Cooley was moved to the U-18 team around Jan/Feb 2021. Pretty quickly he was centering the top U-18 line (between Dylan Duke and Pastujov).

His draft hype started picking up steam around summer 2021 as a first rounder. He started getting top-5 hype winter 2021-22.

He saw our team playing "dynamic" hockey in 2021, but never officially decommitted publicly.

Nov 2021, everyone signed LOIs. Except Cooley. Still no public acknowledgment of commitment issues, but clearly a problem. What exactly should JJ have done different at this time? Everyone signed for 21-22. We have problems with a center we banked on (and reserved scholarship $$) for years. And he bailed.

Cooley shopped around. For months on twitter there were random "insider" tweets declaring a shocking imminent flip for Cooley to schools like OSU, PSU, UND, UW, and a couple Boston schools. Who knows where else he looked. Finally one of those came true in Feb 2022 when he committed to the goofs. What was JJ supposed to do at that time? Where do we find a 1C for 22-23 in Feb 2022?

Wild speculation on my part -- but I got the sense Cooley might have been NIL shopping. I know he ended up with a Chipotle deal (which may not be related to signing with Gophers). Don't know if he has other NIL $$. I don't think NIL is playing a big role in NCAA hockey, but it may be something that gets used selectively to attract high end "talent" by teams with a rabid fanbase that will spend the $$ (I also see it as a possible way to circumvent the scholarship limit issue). If NIL is exploited in hockey, Irish will likely be in trouble with 5 star "talent".

Recruiting in hockey is a different animal. FB and BB recruiting gets all the press, but hockey recruiting (androster management) is wildly different. You can't find stud players last minute.

Irish committed to Cooley in 2018. He left us standing at the altar 3.5 years later (while we were in the midst of a season where we were playing great "dynamic" hockey).

With the Cooley problem we had 2 realistic solutions -- portal or bring in a freshman. Freshman options were probably either Fleming (who had the opposite draft hype trend to Cooley and left the NTDP in Nov 2021) or Ali. What decision should JJ make at the time? The portal was the right answer then. Pierson was brought in as the 1C. He had proven good production on a terrible team in Hockey East (the only critique I'd give is if they actually watched tape on him or did they rely on stats and phone calls with his coach) .

Hindsight is 20/20. Pierson was terrible at 1C. Ali on the team would've been the better option by a wide margin.

Given the above, tell me what JJ was supposed to do different?

I can present the timelines for Pastujov and McGroarty as well. It's hard to criticize JJ's decisions at the time. Heck, if Pastujov doesn't bail in Aug 2021 (after he was already on campus) I bet last season has a very different outcome. He was really the missing scoring talent needed on a team that played great hockey. JJ had no control over Pastujov getting drafted by the Ducks. He had no control over Guelph owning his OHL rights. He had no control over the Ducks wanting Pastujov to play with Guelph so he has access to some famous skating coach. And he had no control over the Ducks signing him to an ELC (which burned his NCAA eligibility).

All JJ can do is roll with the punches. Continue to adjust. Which he has been doing.