Raw Recruits

Raw Recruits

[with Armen Keteyian]

Alexander Wolff and Armen Keteyian work their connections in college sports to penetrate the cone of silence surrounding how basketball powers identify, court, and sign the talent that can take a school to the fame and payday of the Final Four.

From the street agents, to the shoe company reps, to the head coaches whose gilded perch on a collegiate bench is dependent on how much talent their assistants can lure to campus, to the players, whose family and friends see them as a ticket to a better life, Raw Recruits lays out a world long resistant to scrutiny.

Implicating such elite college programs as Syracuse, UCLA, Missouri, UNLV, Kentucky, and Pitt, the book details the often devastating personal, financial, and emotional costs to the players, coaches, and institutions involved in this high-stakes game.


“If you’re a sports fan with a conscience, Raw Recruits is a must-read, and then some.”

—Phil Mushnick, New York Post

“The most important sports book in years.”

The Village Voice

Raw Recruits details a talent procurement system that begins long before college age, with offers said to reach as high as $15,000 for a 12-year-old.”

The Boston Globe

“Introduces the reader to characters not found on the sports pages or the highlight films, but . . . have as much to do with the game as the players and coaches themselves. . . .Wolff and Keteyian know their subject well. Their extensive contacts in the business are obvious by the depth of their reporting. . . . They report the facts from every angle when possible, and allow the reader to read between the baselines.”

—The Baltimore Sun

“Brings to light for the first time the backstories to the buying of ballplayers, the role played by agents, the high school market, the corruption abetted by the major shoe companies. Removes the shadows that have so long obscured the way American universities do their business, laying bare the dramatic state of play of college basketball today.” 

Giganti del Basket (Italy)

Raw Recruits is a book about business practices in sub-professional basketball, where the interests of one part of America’s institutional establishment, its colleges and universities, coincide closely enough with those of some black kids with special talents to create a marketplace in which they engage each other in direct commercial relationships. . . . [Wolff and Keteyian] have written a book . . . full of the familiar names of coaches and players with price tags attached . . .. But the true texture of the story they tell is revealed, like the world it describes, in its characterizations of people who have something valuable to sell for the first time in their lives and of other people who see their chance in helping them to make the deal.”

—Arthur Kempton, New York Review of Books

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