Good thoughts. Like you, I see both sides. There are definitely different rules for different folks in this scenario...as there are for many scenarios in our society. The playing field isn’t level.
I mean, the whole sport is full of hypocrisy. Billions of dollars flow through to these nonprofit institutions that pay millions to coaches and the players receive, at best, a “free” education (they work more than 40 hrs. Per week in major manual labor for this “free” schooling. I worked at Donatos to pay for college. I think I had it easier).
It would be hard to enter the portal and then try to return, surely provides for some awkward moments with the team. The same applies, I think, for a head coach interviewing and not getting a job. How does the team or recruits about your commitment to them? I get a Coach ... as leader of a team ... who wants to get everyone on the same page to accomplish a mission and the portal threatens that “team” unity. But, if someone is unhappy with PT or thinks they’re better than they are, no motivational team goal is gonna have them all in anyway.
I like the honesty of the portal. A kid isn’t happy and wants to see for themselves if their self-evaluation is true or not. All kids think they should play more, or start.
The portal, like the draft, tells you what your worth. I think a kid discovering their current team is actually the best situation for them is a gift for coaches. Coming back to the team actually can create bigger buy-in from right sized expectations based on objective reality. Letting college b-ball players test the draft waters to see where they stand and come back is a good thing...it did wonders for Kaleb Wesson.
Why punish a kid for that? If they come back, they’re gonna want to do what it takes to make their own self-evaluation a reality. They’ll adjust their expectations and act accordingly.
I’d totally tell a kid... without malice... “hey, here’s where you are right now as a player and this is what that means for your roll on the team this year. Do that 100% and you have a chance to earn a bigger role. If you feel differently, you can put your name in the portal and see what comes from that. If you do that and come back, you may set yourself back or someone may take the role you have now. There are no guarantees. We want you here if you want to stay, though. We are still Committed to you as a player.”