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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sock Profile; Vegosen to Assume USTA Presidency

My Tennis Recruiting Network column this week is a profile of Jack Sock, the USTA National 18s and U.S. Open boys champion. At the time of our conversation in New York, Sock had nearly a dozen colleges on his list, but in the next few weeks he will be paring that down to a manageable number. When Ryan Sweeting won the U.S. Open boys title in 2005, he had already verbally committed to Florida for the spring term, and in 2008, finalist Devin Britton was preparing to enter Ole Miss in January of 2009. Chase Buchanan, the 2009 finalist, was already enrolled at Ohio State. So I think Sock is the first U.S. Open boys champion or finalist in the past dozen years who is still undecided when it comes to college. It will be interesting to see him on the court against current Division I college players this weekend in Napa, although he has of course played college players often when competing in the Pro Circuit Futures.

The USTA announced its new Board of Directors for 2011-12, with the Midwest section's Jon Vegosen named Chairman of the Board and President, succeeding Lucy Garvin. Vegosen is a longtime supporter of and volunteer for college tennis, and I got to know him and his wife Shari when their son Spencer was playing junior tennis. Their broad background in the sport will be a huge asset, as I'm sure it has been during Vegosen's years on the board, and I look forward to great things from his leadership in the next two years. Also, Chanda Rubin and Jeff Tarango have been elected to the board in the at-large positions designated for elite athletes. Tarango tweeted this yesterday about his election:

Jeff Tarango (JeffTarango) on Twitter
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So if you have ideas, take him up on it. For the complete release, see usta.com.


avid follower said...

Collette, great article on Sock!

It should be interesting to see where or if Sock goes to college.
With each school only having 4.5 scholarships (if I am not mistaken), which ones will be willing to leave a full one open "just in case"?
He'd obviously be a huge addition to any team and could put an elite team over the top for a national championship especially if he can convince another top player to come along as he suggests.

Which other top players are yet to commit?

rackettec said...

I was surprised to See Jeff T on the board, but its always good to have someone who is willing to speak his mind.

Austin said...

Here's my guess, if Sock goes to college and spurns Nebraska, I think he winds up with John Roddick at Oklahoma.

Tennis Coach said...

Austin: Oklahoma would have been a good guess, but I happen to know that his coach, Mike Wolf, and the University of Texas head coach are very close friends so I'm betting on Texas.

UVA is another possibility because they seem to find a way to give these aspiring pros like Domijan and Jarmere Jenkins "sweet" deals.

I would be shocked if he goes to Nebraska but since his home town is where the college is, and his brother currently plays for the team, he is wise not to dismiss and insult them by stating publicly that he's not considering them.

board commenter said...

The USTA is digging a little too deep putting Tarango on the Board again. Maybe people have forgotten he was not a poster child behavior wise as junior and a pro. Including the famous umpire incident when his wife slapped the official. It is known that the USTA has to put on elite athletes because the tie with the USOC. The others selected are solid but JT?

Austin said...

Most people think of Tarango as some jerk who played tennis and once had a legendary altercation at Wimbldeon. However, he also spanned a couple generations on the tour, had some good achievements, played college tennis and is Stanford educated. So this is a guy who grew up in the USTA, decided to go to college first, then had a successful pro career. I think he might have some good insights.

@Tennis Coach: my guess about Sock was purely that. He's going pro anyway, so this will be a moot point.

Tennis Coach said...

Austin: I wouldn't be so sure about Sock turning pro right now. I agree that there is a very good chance but I would call it 50/50 at this stage. His parents are very big on the idea of at least one or two years of college. Also, look at the pattern of this kid's life. He always wants to have a "normal" life: no home schooling and takes his time -- some would say too much time -- for example, by playing all 4 years of high school tennis, never playing up in any super national because he wants to collect as many gold balls as possible, etc.