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Aaron Pico

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A lot of superstar athletes do not play for their high school teams or play in college.

 

Great golfers or tennis players may play for school teams, but mostly they play in higher level competition. A lot of soccer players have moved to club teams and away from school teams. Basketball players do play for school teams, but summer AAU teams can be more important.

 

Pico is obviously a special talent and is following that model.

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What weights will Pico be targeting? He recently competed at 66kg. So for the new weight classes, he's looking at 65, 70, or 74. Who does he have to beat out? JO? Dake? Burroughs? It's going to be a tall order.

 

He might be better off just focusing on MMA.

By the time the Olympic Trials roll around, I think Pico will be head and shoulders above anyone at 65 or 70 Kilos in the US. The training he will get will give his US opponents fits. He will basically be a hybrid American/ Russian freestyler, he will have the best of both. "Witness", he is the Chosen One.

 

Also, I wish the US would forgo folk style in high school and college and switch to freestyle.

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He will not have the college wrestling fans nearly as engaged in his career, but he will have the following of the dozens who show up for the US open.

 

 

Yes because why would anyone who loved a sport want to focus on a style done all over the world over a style only done here?

 

I bet Burroughs would be raking in the endorsement bucks on his college career alone.

Concentrating on FS is like collecting water with a sieve. Should he plan on upper body cinch, leg cinch, practice winning ball grabs, win 1-1, 0-6, 1-1 best of three, work on sumo skills, train for short matches or grind out longer ones? All these have been included, and some still are (for now), in various incarnations of the nebulous "international style" that the world has had to continually adjust to just during Aaron's short life.

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Not buying that he is the next big thing in US wrestling just yet. If he wrestles in the US Nationals and places top three this year then possible different story. Just too young right now to gage where he is at I saw his matches at Fargo and he looked far from a world beater in them yet does win world gold. Then beats a Russian in dual easily. As far as MMA goes who knows how well he will do I just have not seen enough of him to know and have seen way to many young wrestlers not live up to the hype. Could he beat Zain Retherford right now?

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Not buying that he is the next big thing in US wrestling just yet. If he wrestles in the US Nationals and places top three this year then possible different story. Just too young right now to gage where he is at I saw his matches at Fargo and he looked far from a world beater in them yet does win world gold. Then beats a Russian in dual easily. As far as MMA goes who knows how well he will do I just have not seen enough of him to know and have seen way to many young wrestlers not live up to the hype. Could he beat Zain Retherford right now?

Is he one or two years younger than Retherford?

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Not buying that he is the next big thing in US wrestling just yet. If he wrestles in the US Nationals and places top three this year then possible different story. Just too young right now to gage where he is at I saw his matches at Fargo and he looked far from a world beater in them yet does win world gold. Then beats a Russian in dual easily. As far as MMA goes who knows how well he will do I just have not seen enough of him to know and have seen way to many young wrestlers not live up to the hype. Could he beat Zain Retherford right now?

 

Freestyle, Pico probably fairly easily (nothing is easy at their level). Folkstyle depends whether Pico can take Zain down more than once. I would assume he wouldn't go under Zain, and that Zain would likely get two escapes, so if Zain can limit him to one TD he would likely win a RO situation.If Pico gasses Zain out (hard because Sain is a goer) like he does pretty much everybody, Pico wins in the third.

 

But we will never know in folkstyle. We may know fairly soon in freestlye as Pico is old enough to go Seniors and has obviously shown the ability to compete at that level, and then some, with the domination of the Russian.

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Pico vs. Retherford would be interesting. Two cadet world champs.

 

As for Olympic aspirations, it's absolutely way too early to project that Pico will make the team.

 

If we're talking Olympic weights in 2016, at 65kg, we'll have Oliver, Metcalf, Port, Retherford, Stieber, Maple, Tsirtsis, etc. 74kg is Burroughs, the p4p best wrestler in the world. Not to mention Dake and Taylor. I just don't see him making the team at either weight.

 

As for 2020, that is really far out. Not sure we can meaningfully talk about it right now. If Pico's looking to be a world champ before he transitions to MMA, he might want to target 70kg. Not sure the Olympics should be a priority. If he has a chance to be a UFC star (and it sounds like he does), losing a year where you could be making a name for yourself is a pricey prospect.

 

Wrestling is really cool and whatever, but who cares when we're talking money? GSP picked up an estimated $6 million per fight. If that's a possibility, why not get there sooner rather than later? A career-ending injury can happen anytime, which would stop the gravy train.

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Pico vs. Retherford would be interesting. Two cadet world champs.

 

As for Olympic aspirations, it's absolutely way too early to project that Pico will make the team.

 

If we're talking Olympic weights in 2016, at 65kg, we'll have Oliver, Metcalf, Port, Retherford, Stieber, Maple, Tsirtsis, etc. 74kg is Burroughs, the p4p best wrestler in the world. Not to mention Dake and Taylor. I just don't see him making the team at either weight.

 

As for 2020, that is really far out. Not sure we can meaningfully talk about it right now. If Pico's looking to be a world champ before he transitions to MMA, he might want to target 70kg. Not sure the Olympics should be a priority. If he has a chance to be a UFC star (and it sounds like he does), losing a year where you could be making a name for yourself is a pricey prospect.

 

-------------

 

Good point. Pico's weight jumped from 132# to 145/152# in one year. There is no guarantee he'd even be able to make the new 143# Olympic weight in 2016. That means he's bumping into Taylor, Dake, and oh yeah... Burroughs to qualify for a spot on US team at 165# (75kg).

 

I have a very hard time seeing Pico in the 2016 Olympics. Worlds in 2015 (or possibly 2014) at 70kg may be his best shot.

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Good point. Pico's weight jumped from 132# to 145/152# in one year. There is no guarantee he'd even be able to make the new 143# Olympic weight in 2016. That means he's bumping into Taylor, Dake, and oh yeah... Burroughs to qualify for a spot on US team at 165# (75kg).

 

I have a very hard time seeing Pico in the 2016 Olympics. Worlds in 2015 (or possibly 2014) at 70kg may be his best shot.

 

 

To my understanding, Pico only registered for the Doc Buchannan tournament (did not wrestle) at 152#, presumably because he planned to not cut weight and cakewalking through it. Growing aside, he's not a 70kg or 74kg wrestler right now and will have no problem making 65kg with FILA weigh in rules.

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Pico can't train 12 hours a day, so obviously he'll have time to learn. Yes, a career ending injury could always happen, but why should he stick around high school to obliterate high schoolers, when he could be traveling the world training with the very best and mastering his craft? He is a great academic student, and is a student of wrestling.

 

He'll also be able to learn from the great coaches and workout partners he encounters. In a high school classroom of 30 kids, he'll only get 1 on 1 attention from the teacher if he comes in before school, or stays after.

 

Ask most college graduates whether they learned more from a class where 300 students are packed into an auditorium, or from mentors they've had. You basically have to teach yourself in college until you get further into your degree. Not all knowledge comes from a book.

 

He's ridiculously good for his age, why not take an opportunity like this?

 

It is easy to "over train" in a college wrestling room and cutting weight and making weight nearly every week for 4 months is a quicker route to burnout than his current opportunity.

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Pico vs. Retherford would be interesting. Two cadet world champs.

 

As for Olympic aspirations, it's absolutely way too early to project that Pico will make the team.

 

If we're talking Olympic weights in 2016, at 65kg, we'll have Oliver, Metcalf, Port, Retherford, Stieber, Maple, Tsirtsis, etc. 74kg is Burroughs, the p4p best wrestler in the world. Not to mention Dake and Taylor. I just don't see him making the team at either weight.

 

As for 2020, that is really far out. Not sure we can meaningfully talk about it right now. If Pico's looking to be a world champ before he transitions to MMA, he might want to target 70kg. Not sure the Olympics should be a priority. If he has a chance to be a UFC star (and it sounds like he does), losing a year where you could be making a name for yourself is a pricey prospect.

 

Wrestling is really cool and whatever, but who cares when we're talking money? GSP picked up an estimated $6 million per fight. If that's a possibility, why not get there sooner rather than later? A career-ending injury can happen anytime, which would stop the gravy train.

 

Yup lots of tough guys at 65kg, there is always lots of tough guys at any class. I would say that destroying the Russian who gave NCAA champs tough matches, is top tier Russian, gives him at least a little cred. Look at the video, it is unusual to see a seventeen year old just break a top level Russian, or an international level wrestler. At 74 spot on don't see anybody beating Burroughs. Dake would be a tough match up. I could see Pico beating Taylor in free but suspect Taylor goes up - he has the frame for it.

 

2020 - yeah, to far out.

 

MMA early..... yeah I get that argument but I would also suggest - to a point - over worrying about an injury will stall a career rather than develop it. Paranoid is no way to train or get better. I would worry more about burn out in his case - the training he is doing, to go the pace he does, it taxing. Cejudo was the ultimate gym rat but then he got there and lost that. On the other hand Cain is also the ultimate gym rat and he never seems to stop.... so we'll see.

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I would never underestimate Pico. Who would have thought that he would tech a highly rated wrestler from Russia?

 

Pico's prospects are as good as a 10th grader's prospects could possibly be. But he's still a 10th grader, and a lot of improvement has to happen before I'd think about him making the world or Olympic team, much less winning a senior-level medal.

 

Let's assume he doesn't grow out of 65kg even though he's only 17. That's a huge assumption but let's do it anyway. He'll be looking at these guys:

 

Oliver - 2x NCAA champ, 4x AA, junior world medalist, solid international wins

Metcalf - 2x NCAA champ, 3x AA, Hodge winner, solid international wins

Stieber - 2x NCAA champ, junior world medalist, solid international wins (including Opan Sat)

Maple - 1x NCAA champ, 2x AA, junior national champ

Retherford - cadet world champ, has a win over Stieber

Tsirtsis - junior national champ, junior world 7th place

 

Assuming a teenager will not only beat all these guys out for a spot, but also win a medal against proven senior-level wrestlers like Kurbanliev and Safaryan is really going way too far.

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Pico's prospects are as good as a 10th grader's prospects could possibly be. But he's still a 10th grader, and a lot of improvement has to happen before I'd think about him making the world or Olympic team, much less winning a senior-level medal.

 

Let's assume he doesn't grow out of 65kg even though he's only 17. That's a huge assumption but let's do it anyway. He'll be looking at these guys

Oliver - 2x NCAA champ, 4x AA, junior world medalist, solid international wins

Metcalf - 2x NCAA champ, 3x AA, Hodge winner, solid international wins

Stieber - 2x NCAA champ, junior world medalist, solid international wins (including Opan Sat)

Maple - 1x NCAA champ, 2x AA, junior national champ

Retherford - cadet world champ, has a win over Stieber

Tsirtsis - junior national champ, junior world 7th place

 

Pico has the talent and desire to accomplish as much as anyone listed above. I also think people need to realize that the age gap between Pico and some of those listed above is not that great. Retherford is still 18 and does not turn 19 until May/14. Roughly 15 months older than Pico and wrestling (folkstyle) three grades ahead of Pico as a young true freshman.

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Pico's prospects are as good as a 10th grader's prospects could possibly be. But he's still a 10th grader, and a lot of improvement has to happen before I'd think about him making the world or Olympic team, much less winning a senior-level medal.

 

i agree with your post and think you make some great points, but why bring up what grade Pico is in? its irrelevant, especially now that he's going to be home schooled, and it just invites the whole grade/age discussion that often goes off track.

 

grade is really only relevant when discussing eligibility, either in high school or college. otherwise the info we're really talking about is age. i realize any wrestler's grade is easier to ascertain than age and by grade is how most tournaments in the US are organized, but its completely beside the point now that we're exclusively dealing with FILA competitions.

 

its like asking what grade michael chang was in when he won the french open.

 

but anyway, just a minor quibble, spot on with everything else.

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i agree with your post and think you make some great points, but why bring up what grade Pico is in? its irrelevant, especially now that he's going to be home schooled, and it just invites the whole grade/age discussion that often goes off track.

 

grade is really only relevant when discussing eligibility, either in high school or college. otherwise the info we're really talking about is age. i realize any wrestler's grade is easier to ascertain than age and by grade is how most tournaments in the US are organized, but its completely beside the point now that we're exclusively dealing with FILA competitions.

 

its like asking what grade michael chang was in when he won the french open.

 

but anyway, just a minor quibble, spot on with everything else.

 

I think Pico's grade is somewhat relevant, although not as relevant as his age and his training history. Developing something like Burroughs's double (and other arsenal of takedowns) takes years and years of repetition and practice in live situations. Being in a D1 room for 4-5 years with a top coach is certainly helpful for that, as is having your technique tested against quality opponents. Pico has had one season of high school wrestling, and he's now pursuing international training. There is no reason to think his current training regimen is significantly different than Oliver's or Metcalf's. So there is a relevant difference in that Oliver and Metcalf have had far more time to develop good technique and a variety of attacks.

 

Other sports are different. Women's gymnastics and swimming, for example, can be dominated by teens. But this is wrestling. While there is an Asgarov every now and then, it's mostly a game for 20-somethings and the occasional 30-something. That's because technique is so important.

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I think Pico's grade is somewhat relevant, although not as relevant as his age and his training history. Developing something like Burroughs's double (and other arsenal of takedowns) takes years and years of repetition and practice in live situations. Being in a D1 room for 4-5 years with a top coach is certainly helpful for that, as is having your technique tested against quality opponents. Pico has had one season of high school wrestling, and he's now pursuing international training. There is no reason to think his current training regimen is significantly different than Oliver's or Metcalf's. So there is a relevant difference in that Oliver and Metcalf have had far more time to develop good technique and a variety of attacks.

 

Other sports are different. Women's gymnastics and swimming, for example, can be dominated by teens. But this is wrestling. While there is an Asgarov every now and then, it's mostly a game for 20-somethings and the occasional 30-something. That's because technique is so important.

 

i agree with what you are saying, however, i think what youre saying is more evidence that his grade is completely irrelevant.

 

the only thing Pico's grade tells you is that he started high school extremely late compared to his cohort. the amount of training he's done and how old he is compared to his international peers has nothing to do with how many year of high school he may have ahead of him.

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I don't know Pico's plans and don't pretend to know what's best for the kid.

 

But can we all relax with the criticism for him not pursuing a traditional college degree? If you've listened to any of his interviews you would probably know that he's a really sharp kid with some very clearly defined goals. He's trying to set himself up in the best way possible to accomplish those goals. None of you are acknowledging how easy it is (not level of difficulty, convenience) to attend university and graduate online. Something like 35% of currently enrolled college students are online students. And we're not just talking about the University of Phoenix (nothing against them, just seems like there is a negative perception of them at times), there are a number of big name Universities that now offer online degrees. Hell, South Korea there are independent online teachers that make millions of dollars every year because they are just that good at teaching, and it's all online.

 

Point is, Pico can pursue all of these things and still get just as good of an education as any other NCAA D1 athlete. And as far as the "life experience" that people always site as another reason college is so important, the kid is traveling the globe training with different people and learning different cultures. How's that for life experience?

 

Quite frankly, I think we're lucky that he's committing (verbally) to try to go after an Olympic gold. It will increase his marketability incredibly if he can do it in either 2016 or 2020, but if he is as good as I think he is at fighting, he doesn't need to do it.

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