“The Decision,” as LeBron James and ESPN are billing it, will be revealed during an hour-long presentation tonight beginning at 9 p.m. EST.
You could compare the LeBron event to a blown-up version of a high school recruit picking his college. Which makes sense: LeBron wasn’t too heavily recruited in high school, because back then every college coach knew he was going straight to the NBA. So for him, this is a fun part of the game he missed out on.
We decided to chat with some Class of 2010 high school stars, all of them now incoming college freshmen who — not too long ago — were in the same position LeBron is in now. This collection of All-Americans made their college decisions known either via the same network as LeBron, or at heavily-attended press conferences. They talked to us about what it feels like in the moments leading up to the big moment:
Having gone through the process of making a big decision like this, what was the night before the announcement like?
Kyrie Irving, St. Patrick’s H.S. (Elizabeth, N.J.), Duke: I was getting texts and calls from friends and family members who were all trying to put their input into my decision. In the end, I kept my circle small and talked to my dad and sister that night and made the best decision for me and my family.
Josh Selby, Lake Clifton H.S. (Baltimore), Kansas: Well, I was actually pretty nervous the night before due to the fact that I felt like I let (Tennessee assistant coach) Steve Forbes down. I had built a good relationship with him and I knew I’d have to call him and let him know I wasn’t coming there. Then I had the media calling me all night asking me where I was going. I gave them the same answer every time: “I don’t know!” But to paint the picture, it was fun and stressful.
Ryan Harrow, Walton H.S. (Marietta, Ga.), N.C. State: I was nervous because I wanted to make sure that I was making the right decision. People all over were asking me why I was going to N.C. State when I could’ve gone pretty much anywhere. But I was honestly excited.
Ray McCallum Jr., Detroit Country Day H.S. (Mich.), Detroit: It was actually pretty cool. I wasn’t feeling down or anything like that. I was excited. I couldn’t sleep. The one thing that wasn’t cool was all the people texting me asking me where I was going. Then I knew I’d have to call the coaches and tell them I wouldn’t be coming to their schools. I wasn’t looking forward to that, so that was the part that made the night before a little stressful.
Josh Smith, Kentwood H.S. (Covington, Wash.), UCLA: I wasn’t too nervous at all. The only thing was I knew I was gonna have to call (Washington head coach) Lorenzo Romar and tell him that I wasn’t gonna be coming to his school. Then I got like a million texts, most good and some bad, too.
How much, if at all, did you waver or go back and forth in those last few hours?
Irving: I knew it was Duke. I definitely contemplated other schools beforehand, but I broke down all the details and knew that I wanted to go to Duke.
Selby: Not at all. I knew where I was going.
Harrow: I didn’t waver.
McCallum: I actually made a final decision a few days before I actually had to announce it, so I never wavered.
Smith: I didn’t waver. I knew where I wanted to go. I think on the night before most people know where they’re going.
How do you KNOW you’re making the right decision?
Irving: You definitely know when you feel it in your heart and mind.
Selby: You just know. I don’t know what LeBron is feeling, I just wish him all the best.
Harrow: Just got to trust your judgment. You get a feeling. The night before, LeBron is probably just thinking about what’s best for him and where he’s gonna achieve his goals at.
McCallum: You have to trust yourself.
Smith: You just have to go over all the pros and cons and then trust that you’ve made the best decision.
Do you think LeBron already knows where he wants to go?
Irving: Yeah, probably.
Selby: I think that he probably has a clue.
Harrow: Yeah, I think he probably does. He obviously has doubts in Cleveland and thinks he can do better elsewhere.
McCallum: Yeah, just based on him making all of these plans and stuff. I mean ESPNU called me about announcing on the network, and I knew well before I was set to announce.
So where is LeBron headed?
Irving: I’m gonna say New York.
Selby: I’m gonna say either Chicago or Miami because he wants to win and that gives him the best chance to do so.
Harrow: New York. Great environment and he’s got Amar’e Stoudemire there now.
McCallum: Well, I remember LeBron said once before that he wanted to change his number from 23 out of respect for Michael Jordan. See that makes me think he may have known something beforehand and that means it’s Chicago. But my guess is Cleveland. I think he’s going to stay home.
Smith: The Knicks. He wants to win a championship and that’s one of the best places to do that.