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How effective is midnight madness as a recruiting tool?

The 2011-2012 college basketball season (kind of) gets underway tonight as several of the top programs across the country will hold "midnight madness" events to celebrate the start of practice. ESPNU will be airing a special from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring highlights and live coverage from nine of the events.

The original justification for holding a "midnight madness" practice was probably the most pure; coaches wanted to send an early message to their players. A rugged workout at 12:01 a.m. on the first day the NCAA allowed teams to practice was the perfect vessel.

At some point after that, however, midnight madness morphed into a glorified pep rally. It became a way to get fans and students excited about the upcoming season, and maybe make a little extra cash on the side.

With the NCAA having already relaxed its rules about when teams can actually begin practicing (7 p.m. is cool now), the justification for midnight madness in the modern era has become recruiting. Every year, hundreds of the top high school basketball players in the country attend these events and fans obsess about who will and won't be there in the preceding weeks.

But how big of a deal is all this really?

In 2010, 28 major college basketball programs held midnight madness events that were attended by undecided recruits who have since signed or committed. Here's a look at those schools, recruits, and where they ended up deciding to play their college ball.

(Note: The list does not include players who committed and have since re-opened their recruitment, i.e. Kendrick Nunn)

Trevor Lacey - Signed with Alabama

Daniel Sapp - Signed with Clemson
Nick Jacobs - Signed with Alabama

Kendall Stephens - Committed to Purdue

Quinn Cook - Signed with Duke
Rasheed Sulaimon - Committed to Duke
Rodney Purvis - Committed to NC State

Ryan Arcidiacono - Committed to Villanova

Florida State
Deuce Bello - Signed with Baylor
Antwan Space - Signed with Florida State

Mikael Hopkins - Signed with Georgetown
Rodney Hood - Signed with Mississippi State
Kyle Anderson - Committed to UCLA
Daniel Ochefu - Committed to Villanova
Brandon Bolden - Committed to Georgetown
Sim Bhullar - Signed with New Mexico State

Georgia Tech
Devin Langford - Signed with Illinois
Jordan Price - Committed to Auburn

Chasson Randle - Signed with Stanford
DeJuan Marrero - Committed to DePaul
Steve Taylor - Committed to Marquette
CJ Jones - Committed to Manhattan

Greg Lewis - Signed with Rutgers
Kevin Ferrell - Committed to Indiana
Jeremy Hollowell - Committed to Indiana
Hanner Perea - Committed to Indiana
Basil Smotherman - Committed to Purdue
Bryson Scott - Committed to Purdue
Devin Davis - Committed to Indiana

Angelo Chol - Signed with Arizona
LeBryan Nash - Signed with Oklahoma State
Ben McLemore - Signed with Kansas
Naadir Tharpe - Signed with Kansas
Marcus Paige - Committed to North Carolina
Shaquille Cleare - Committed to Maryland

Kansas State
Angel Rodriguez - Signed with Kansas State

Hosted Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer, who had all already committed.

Mike Shaw - Signed with Illinois
JP Tokoto - Committed to North Carolina

Adonis Thomas - Signed with Memphis
David (DJ) Gardner - Signed with Mississippi State
Perry Ellis - Committed to Kansas
Archie Goodwin - Committed to Kentucky
Tony Hicks - Committed to Pennsylvania

Dominique Pointer - Signed with St. John's

North Carolina
Cody Zeller - Signed with Indiana
John Cannon - Signed with Georgia
LJ Rose - Committed to Baylor

NC State
Dezmine Wells - Signed with Xavier
DeAndre Daniels - Signed with Connecticut

Notre Dame
James Robinson - Committed to Pittsburgh
Jerami Grant - Committed to Syracuse

Tyler Harris - Signed with NC State
Michael Chandler - Signed with Central Florida (Failed to Qualify)
Ryan Boatright - Signed with Connecticut
Georges Niang - Committed to Iowa State
Nkereuwem Okoro - Committed to Iowa State
Dominique Williams - Signed with Charleston Southern

Seton Hall
Jarelle Reischel - Signed with Rice
Elijah (Eli) Carter - Signed with Rutgers

Andre Hollins - Signed with Minnesota

St. Johns
D’Angelo Harrison - Signed with St. John's
Nurideen Lindsey - Signed with St. John's
Jevon Thomas - Committed to Dayton
Kerwin Okoro - Committed to Iowa State

Texas A&M
Cameron Ridley - Committed to Texas

Virginia Tech

Adjehi Baru - Committed to College of Charleston
Montrezl Harrell - Committed to Virginia Tech

Omar Calhoun - Committed to Connecticut

West Virginia

Jabarie Hinds - Signed with West Virginia
Pat Forsythe - Signed with West Virginia
Keaton Miles - Signed with West Virginia
Negus Webster-Chan - Committed to Missouri

DeJuan Marrero- Commoitted to DePaul

In all, 73 midnight madness guests have signed or committed to play college basketball since last October, and just 21 of those players have done so with/to the program that hosted them. The majority of players who did commit to their host school did so relatively soon after the midnight madness event. Whether they were locks to begin with or the event swayed them is up for debate.

What does this prove? I think it's worth the effort to try and get these kids to the event so you can show off your program, but landing a midnight madness attendee isn't nearly as important as fans have made it out to be in recent years. It's going to take more than a local rap performance and Shawn from Boy Meets World serving as a celebrity slam dunk contest judge to land a commitment from most high school stars.