Some top recruits find out the hard way that recruiting can be a flavor-of-the-month exercise. That is, as Frank Sinatra sang in "That's Life," "...you're ridin' high in April, shot down in May..." This is especially true for those basketballers who end up not qualifying academically coming out of the prep ranks.
Tyrone Appleton is a prime example. Wooed by Missouri, Washington and other powers out of Harmony Prep in Cincinnati, he chose to go with Virginia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference, making the announcement in early January 2006.
This was after Jerry Meyer, a Rivals.com recruiting analyst, earlier noted that Appleton played "ferocious defense" in making O.J. Mayo take tougher than desired shots in an April 2005 matchup. Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg offered this on his new backcourter: "Tyrone Appleton is the kind of fierce competitor you need to be successful in the ACC. He has the size of a two-guard and the skill of a point guard. He has a toughness about him and brings every intangible you need to compete at the highest level." One doesn't come out of Gary, Indiana by being a finesse player.
But ultimately, Appleton was denied admission and, to even the most avid of college basketball fans, dropped off the map.
Such is a figurative phrase because Appleton actually enrolled at Coach Grant McCasland's Midland Junior College program. He was an important cog in the Chaparrals winning the national junior college championship last season, scoring scored 21 points, including four three-pointers, in the final.
Cue Sinatra again: "...Each time I find myself layin' flat on my face, I just pick myself up and get back in the race..."
In that season, Appleton scored 14 ppg., shot 50% overall, including 51% on his 71 three-point attempts. He also compiled 3.7 rebounds a game, 3.5 assists a contest and just over two steals each time out, playing every game at the point.
An all-conference selection last year, Appleton has been designated a First-Team Pre-Season All-America pick for the upcoming season.
Asked to describe his star backcourter, McCasland offered, "He always finds a way to get the job done, doing all the little things that help a team win."
Appleton has worked on his early weaknesses, his jumpshot and shooting range, to the point that one out of every two shots he takes goes in. "His shot selection is really, really good" said McCasland, adding "he takes shots he can make."
Appleton also has the talent to play the one or the two at the next level, his combo versatility making him even more attractive.
"He can fit on any team, Big 10, Big East, you name it and contribute right away" added McCasland.
Best of all, the 6-3, 190-pound Appleton is on a plan to be a spring graduate.
Whether it be in the upcoming November signing period or following the season, Appleton will notice he has regained flavor-of-the-month status and will have a choice for his next destination.