It’s shocking that it took until 2009 for the NCAA to ban the recruiting of eighth graders. Aside from the obvious ethical quandaries inherent in objectifying middle schoolers the same way one would evaluate a head of cattle, it can’t be good for the students themselves. So a case study is perhaps in order. Remember Demetrius Walker? He managed to be washed up at 16, and make a comeback at 18.
What happens when you can dunk at 8 years old, and you receive your first recruiting letter at 11? There’s nowhere to go but down. And what happens when it turns out you just had your growth spurt early, and all of your classmates start catching up to you? Demetrius Walker’s freshman year in high school was a huge disappointment, and you’re not alone in thinking that a ninth-grader being called a disappointment is all sorts of wrong.