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Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

Abdul Gaddy Commits To Washington

Posted by Zach on October 29, 2008

Following Lute Olson’s abrupt resignation as Arizona head coach last week, point guard Abdul Gaddy has found a new home- the University of Washington.

The highly touted 6’3 guard out of Tacoma will stay in his home state and play for Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies. The decision came late Tuesday night and was originally reported by Scout.com, with multiple sources confirming the commitment this afternoon. To have Gaddy rescind his LOI to Arizona and opt for a rival Pac-10 school must be devastating for Wildcat fans. It may also save Washington coach Lorenzo Romar’s job following a few years of mediocrity. Landing the second best high school point guard in the nation should help.

Olson’s stroke in this past year ultimately led to his resignation just a week into practice and caused three top-100 recruits- Gaddy, Solomon Hill and Mike Moser- to all de-commit and search for new schools. There is a strong rumor that Hill, a Los Angeles native, will commit to Southern California, adding another former Arizona signee opting for a Pac-10 school. Olson’s resignation should have major lingering effects. As if losing Brandon Jennings to Europe wasn’t bad enough.

Gaddy should be Washington’s best player the moment he arrives at campus. He has tremendous point guard instincts similiar to Derrick Rose. His feel for the position is off the charts and can anchor a Washington program in need of a backcourt leader since the departure of Brandon Roy. Most expected Gaddy to head to UCLA when he de-committed from Arizona, but Washington ended up landing the ultra-talented guard.

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Class of 2009 Recruiting Update

Posted by Zach on October 13, 2008

There’s been some important commitments over the last week or so for the Class of 2009. Let’s take a quick look at what went down and which coaches scored big:

– Ryan Kelly (#11) stayed in his home state and opted to play for Coach K and the Blue Devils. He’s a 6’10 power forward that will compliment fellow ’09 recruit Mason Plumlee quite well. Duke is one of three teams (UNC, Texas) with two players in the top-20.

– Daniel Orton (#12) is a huge coup for Billy Gillespie and the Wildcats, who sported some crazy new uniforms for this season the other day. Orton, an Oklahoma City native, is a defensive stalwart with a developing offensive game. The potential for this kid is sky-high.

– Jordan Hamilton (#13) is a 6’7 small forward from California who committed to Texas and coach Rick Barnes, one of the more underrated coaches in the nation. Hamilton is ranked as the #2 SF in the nation and could be the top pure scorer in the entire class.

– Thomas Robinson (#20) elected to play for the national champion Kansas Jayhawks. Robinson barely sneaks onto the list because he’s exploded late into his high school career playing for Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. KU is putting together loaded classes for 2008 and 2009.

Updated class of 2009 list courtesy of Scout.com:

1. Derrick Favors (Favorite: Georgia Tech)

2. John Wall (Favorite: Memphis)

3. John Henson (committed to North Carolina)

4. Xavier Henry (Favorite: Memphis)

5. Renardo Sidney (Favorite: USC)

6. DeMarcus Cousins (committed to UAB)

7. Lance Stephenson (Favorite: St. John’s)

8. Kenny Boynton (Favorites: Duke, Florida)

9. Abdul Gaddy (committed to Arizona)

10. Avery Bradley (committed to Texas)

11. Ryan Kelly (committed to Duke)

12. Daniel Orton (committed to Kentucky)

13. Jordan Hamilton (committed to Texas)

14. Alex Oriakhi (committed to Connecticut)

15. Dominic Cheek (Favorites: Kansas, Villanova)

16. Wally Judge (committed to Kansas State)

17. Dante Taylor (committed to Pittsburgh)

18. Dexter Strickland (committed to North Carolina)

19. Mason Plumlee (committed to Duke)

20. Thomas Robinson (committed to Kansas)

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Quick Recruiting Update

Posted by Zach on September 20, 2008

There’s been an influx of stunning recruiting news this past week, so it’s time for a roundup:

– Two more top-25 players committed over the last few days, most recently Avery Bradley pledging his allegiances to Rick Barnes and Texas, who are quickly putting together one of the most impressive classes in the nation. Bradley is a do-everything point guard that has an advanced mid-range jumper and is positively mature for his age on the defensive end of the court. He’s ranked #10 in the nation for 2009 by Scout.com and will team up with Shaun Williams, who most consider the top HS player in Texas, for possibly Rick Barnes’ top class in recent years. Also committing over this past week is Tyler Honeycutt, who chose Bradley’s second choice- the UCLA Bruins. Honeycutt is a 6’8 forward ranked #21 overall by Scout who saw his stock soar this summer at elite camps. Honeycutt opted for UCLA over rival USC.

– With the Bradley and Honeycutt commitments, along with Abdul Gaddy choosing Arizona recently, 16 of the top 30 prospects in the 2009 class have made their decision. Some of the top names in the class are still ripe for the picking, though. This group includes Renardo Sidney (Arizona State, Kentucky, USC, UCLA, Texas), John Wall (Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky), Derrick Favors (Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech) and Xavier Henry (Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina). The top overall class for 2009 still remains in the hands of Roy Williams and North Carolina, who have five top 75 prospect locked up, and appear to be in the running for Xavier Henry, which would be just unfair. Other top classes include Villanova, Arizona and Kansas.

– The real story of this recruiting season is a developing pattern that, frankly, I think is great for college basketball: top-flight prospects committing to mid-major schools. The newest example, and really the most stunning, is the #26 player overall from Rivals opting for Georgia State. That’s right, Georgia State. Rashanti Harris will be the biggest man in the history of the Georgia State campus. Harris had plenty of academic problems to derail possible suitors, but he still chose GSU over Memphis, Arkansas and Mississippi State. Harris had a great relationship with coach Rod Barnes and decided to stray far, far away for the norm of top-30 prospects and commit to a low-major program. I say, good for him.

This isn’t the first example of huge prospects going to small schools. And I’m not talking about Gonzaga, Butler or Nevada. Four of the top-13 center prospects are heading to these smaller schools. As someone who has season tickets to a mid-major school, I say this is excellent for the state of college basketball. Spread the wealth a bit and get more people interested in more schools. Of the centers, Harris to Georgia State joins Zeke Marshall to Akron, Greg Smith to Fresno State and Aaric Murray to La Salle. Throw in Nevada and you have Luke Babbitt. Also, don’t forget DeMarcus Cousins,  Rivals #2 prospect in the entire 2009 class, will be a UAB Blazer.

Gary Parrish of CBS thinks the change is due to a number of elite prospects noticing star players from these small schools still going high in drafts. While before they felt obligated to commit to a BCS school to receive attention, stories like Courtney Lee, George Hill and Jason Thompson have turned the tide. They now feel comfortable going with the best option for themselves. And that’s a good thing.

Quick note: Davidson-Purdue and Southern Illinois-Saint Mary’s in the Wooden Classic this season.

College basketball isn’t that far off, folks.

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Look Ahead To The 2009 Class

Posted by Zach on July 2, 2008

Pat covered the best of the best in the Class of 2008 rankings. Today, I thought I’d tackle the early developments for the class of 2009 in this lull period in college basketball (late June after the draft to the end of the summer can often be brutal). There’s been some new signings in the last few days out of the Arizona front and, even though the top three prospects in the class have not committed this early, four of the top 15 have verballed to their school of choice.  While it’s quite early to tell, it appears the strength of the 2009 class hails from the South: Atlanta, Raleigh, Round Rock, Oklahoma City, Mobile, Roswell, etc.

Here’s a brief summation on how the 2009 recruiting rampage has played out thus far:

North Carolina is turning into an all-time recruiting machine– Roy Williams coaches at a storied program with a long history, passionate fans, and a winning tradition since he arrived on campus. So why shouldn’t he completely reload once his fabled class of 2005 and 06 departs? Williams has already been able to lure in four top 60 recruits and the 08-09 season hasn’t even begun yet. John Henson, ranked #4 overall and the top power forward, is an athletic Brandan Wright-type who Williams managed to scoop out of Texas. He received verbals from the Wear twins from California, because 6’9 225 at the power forward spot is always beneficial. He’s also been able to get the #12 and #26 ranked players in the nation, guards Dexter Strickland from New Jersey as their next big-time scorer, and Leslie McDonald from Memphis, respectively. Talk about spanning the country for top dogs.

Mike Davis making his mark
– When UAB hired Mike Davis as his job-after following the painful dismissal from Indiana, they knew they were getting a coach who could recruit. Davis showed his muscle by reeling in the number two center in the nation, DeMarcus Cousins, from Mobile, to play in Conference USA, rather than receive more attention at a school like Indiana, Kentucky or Memphis. Of course, if we’ve learned anything from Memphis, it’s that Conference USA schools can receive plenty of attention if they build a winning atmosphere under a respected coach. And contend for an undefeated mark annually.

Bill Self looking to build another national champion in three years
– The Jayhawks are in contention for the #2 and #6 players in the 2009 class. By having both commit, they’d be the first team since UNC with Lawson and Ellington to receive multiple top-6 players. Wingman Xavier Henry is the #1 SG in the class, a player with an extremely versatile game- a plus long range jumper and excellent slashing ability. His father also played at KU. They’re battling for Henry with Memphis and North Carolina. Also being recruited heavily by Self is Lance Stephenson, a 6’5 SF from Sebastian Telfair’s high school in Brooklyn. Kentucky is also making a stronger push for Stephenson, and I’m surprised Pitino isn’t involved.

New Big East recruiting power emerges– Villanova head coach Jay Wright has been absolutely tremendous recruiting two outstanding players in the 2009 class. Just recently, Wright received a commitment from talented forward Isaiah Armwood from Rockville, a creative and versatile post player from Maryland who has been playing with the Baltimore Stars. He also got his point guard of the future from Philly. Maalik Wayns can even be better than Scottie Reynolds as a pure PG with excellent court vision and passing ability.

Some stunners– It’s not just the Connecticut’s, North Carolina’s and Duke’s of the world getting all of the best players (well mostly). Akron has a commitment from the #7 center in the nation, Zeke Marshall. San Diego, an up-and-coming program, reeled in the #12 center in the nation, Vander Joaquim. Also, Oklahoma, Baylor, Illinois, Marquette, and especially Clemson, are putting together excellent classes.

Did Duke finally get its big man?– Duke’s main Achilles heel the last few empty years have been due to a lack of a strong, reliable inside presence (and don’t give me Josh McRoberts). 6’11, 210 center Mason Plumlee from Arden, NC has been able to exert himself offensively in the paint with much more frequency, coupling that with an advanced mid-range game. Or he could be another McRoberts.

Predictions: Derrick Favors goes to Georgia Tech, Xavier Henry heads to Kansas, John Wall goes to Kentucky, Renardo Sidney heads to Texas, Lance Stephenson to Memphis, Kenny Boynton to Florida, Abdul Gaddy plays for Arizona, and Daniel Orton goes to Ohio State to round out the top ten.

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The Top 10 Recruiting Classes For 2008

Posted by Patrick on June 30, 2008

“Rebuilding Year” is a phrase that Ben Howland never utters, and why would you need to when you coach the most storied program in college basketball? In this day and age, finding freshman to fill starting spots is a lot easier than it used to be. For 2008, UCLA got five tremendous recruits, which is why UCLA is number one on my list of the best recruiting classes for 2008.

Recruits:

(“Stars” are equal to Scout.com’s player rankings)

SG-Jrue Holiday (5 star recruit, No.1 SG)- This kid is a winner. He isn’t on the court to showboat his skills to eventually garner himself a higher pick in the draft. On top of that he can score at will, although he isn’t the greatest three point shooter. Holiday can get to the rim and post double digit points every night.

C-J’Mison Morgan (5 star recruit, No.3 C)-This guy kind of reminds me of Dan Gadzuric (another UCLA standout), neither were very athletic and can’t pass, but they can finish around the rim and they have great hands for catching the ball in the post. Morgan can be a top center in college basketball, but I don’t think he will be next season.

PF-Drew Gordon (4 star recruit, No.15 PF)- Gordon is at UCLA to rebound, and rebounding is what he will do.  This kid is all about the dirty work: blocking shots, getting offensive rebounds, and just all out hustling. If he can improve his scoring, he has the athleticism to be an All-Pac 10 selection.

SG-Malcolm Lee (4 star recruit, No.7 SG)- This guy reminds me of Austin Daye from Gonzaga, he has tremendous upside but he needs a little work on strength before he can take that next step to being a big time player. At 6’4” 165 pounds, it would be nice to see him gain some muscle. Other than that he has a pretty good stroke from behind the arc.

PG- Jerime Anderson (4 star recruit, No.3 PG)- Once again I am going to compare a UCLA recruit to a current Gonzaga player; Jeremy Pargo. Anderson has the natural ability to get to the bucket but his passing and perimeter shots aren’t great. I think a year to be the understudy behind Collison is what this kid needs and in the future he can be the guy you want with the ball late in the game.
Like UCLA, here is a team that lost a lot of players to the draft and graduation. Memphis had a lot of holes to fill and they did it nicely. John Calipari did his best job getting the late commitment from Tyreke Evans, who helped make this class number two on my list.

Recruits:

SG-Tyreke Evans (5 star recruit, No.2 SG)- Evans is all about using his athleticism to score, and when you watch him this year you may see comparisons to Kobe Bryant.  He can shoot it from three, and he can create for himself. There isn’t any reason Evans can’t be an All-American in his first NCAA season.

SF-Wesley Witherspoon (4 star recruit, No.13 SF)- Another late addition to the Memphis recruiting class, Witherspoon will probably be a bench guy his first season. He needs to bulk up before he can be a great forward but the basics are there. He has length and athleticism… its just about putting it all together.

PF-Matt Simpkins (4 star recruit, No.29 PF)- Simpkins is a great defender and has great athleticism, which is pretty much the bread and butter of Memphis basketball. He won’t score a ton, but he can still be an offensive presence if he is guarded by someone smaller than him.

PF- Angel Garcia (4 star recruit, No.19 PF)- In my opinion, Garcia is a very underrated recruit. He is a 6’10” guy that can shoot threes and he can spread the floor on you which will help this athletic Memphis roster. If he can consistently make three pointers he can win the Tigers some ballgames.

Dino Gaudio has done a great job getting this program back on track after the tragic death of then head coach Skip Prosser. The Demon Deacons should have a fun time with these outstanding freshman, and they might just lead this team to an NCAA tournament appearance.

Recruits:

SF-Al-Farouq Aminu (5 star recruit, No.4 SF)-This is another guy that has the ability to create shots for himself.  He will have no problem being the go-to-guy for Wake. We’ll also see how he does playing against his brother who plays for Georgia Tech.

C-Ty Walker (5 star recruit, No.4 C)- He is a tremendous defender and can block shots inside. If he improves on the offensive end, Wake will be a much scarier team next year. As for now, he should work on strength in order to have the ability to battle in the post with ACC big men.

C-Tony Woods (4 star recruit, No.10 C-This guy is an athletic rebounder. He is a great player to have in the game but, like Walker, he needs to improve his offense. If he does, these two guys could be a scary combo.

Kosta Koufos was a great center, but Ohio State more than replaced him with BJ Mullens. In my opinion Mullens is the best incoming freshman; he is an athletic, tall, and versatile player. Thad Matta did another great job preparing this team for an NCAA tournament run with this class. The word is Terrelle Pryor will not be playing basketball in college (source: http://www.terrellepryor.org)

Recruits:

C-BJ Mullens (5 star recruit, No.1 C)-I love this kid, and I believe that he can be the best player in college basketball next season. The key for him is rebounding on the offensive end. If he does that, you might be seeing games like this in the Big Ten.

SG-William Buford (5 star recruit, No.3 SG)-Buford provides a scoring guard that the Buckeyes lacked last season.  He can penetrate to the basket which will open up shots for Mullens. Buford may be the key to the Buckeyes success this season.

PG-Anthony Carter (3 star recruit, No.21 PG)-Plays a good point guard position but isn’t a huge factor on the offensive end. His job will be getting Mullens and Buford the ball when he gets off the bench.

SG-Walter Offutt (3 star recruit, No.29 SG)- Tore his ACL last season for the second time. He may be done with basketball, but that remains to be seen.

It must be fun having Roy Williams’ job: getting some of the best recruits while having the best team in the nation heading into next season. This group might not get the playing time that they would at other schools, but they could have a national championship at the end of the season. Nonetheless, they are outstanding players and that’s why UNC is number five on my list.

Recruits:

PF-Ed Davis (5 star recruit, No.3 PF)-Davis is lengthy and he can rebound. As for now, he isn’t a great scorer in the low block but he has time to develop. Playing for UNC, he won’t have to contribute as much right away.

PF-Tyler Zeller (5 star recruit, No.7 PF)- Zeller is a scorer (he averaged 32.1 PPG in high school) and if he can improve his strength, he can put up double digits consistently as early as his sophomore season. He is also a good guy to have running the floor; don’t think this guy will ever pass up the opportunity for a bucket.

PG- Larry Drew (4 star recruit, No.4 PG)- He doesn’t have a great perimeter shot, but like the other freshman he’ll have time to develop it. In the future he can be a good point guard for the Tar Heels.

SG- Justin Watts (3 star recruit)- He is an athletic combo guard, he’ll eat up minutes late in his career but don’t expect much next season.

Rick Pitino gets yet another stellar recruiting class for 2008. Samardo Samuels is an amazing player and should score with more ease than most freshmen in the Big East. With this class, Louisville should easily fill the hole left by two big men: Derrick Caracter and David Padgett.

Recruits:

PF-Samardo Samuels (5 star recruit, No.1 PF)- Samuels will dominate almost anybody inside. He is a big time scorer and will prove it next season for the Cardinals.

PF-Terrence Jenniings (4 star recruit)- He will be a defensive presence; the Cardinals will want him to block shots and not try to do too much offensively. He is a 20 year old playing as a freshman, was originally an ’06 recruit.

SF-Jared Swopshire (4 star recruit, No.18 SF)- Looks a lot like Ronald Ramon, and plays a lot like him too. He has a good three point shot, but he isn’t the most athletic guy on the floor. He can be a go-to-shooter in the future.

SG-Kyle Kuric (3 star recruit, No.28 SG)- Won’t see much time if any next season, and he may be one of those guys who transfers in the future. However, he can shoot the three so if he improves athleticism he may be a good player.

Georgetown will have a tough time replacing last year’s team even with a great recruiting class. In the event that these guys can stick around another season, the Hoyas should be back in contention for a national championship. John Thompson III did a great job recruiting these players.

Recruits:

PF-Greg Monroe (5 star recruit, No.2 PF)- Great athlete and a great scorer, he will have a huge offensive load to carry for Georgetown next year and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.

C-Henry Sims (4 star recruit, No.7 C)- Not a great scorer/rebounder, but he will be in there for defense. He can block almost anyone’s shot but won’t be a threat on the offensive end.

SG-Jason Clark (4 star recruit, No.12 SG)- He is a mid range shooter that plays good defense and isn’t too quick. He needs to develop his perimeter game if he wants to really help this Georgetown team because I don’t see a lot of players on that team that can make threes.

PF-Chris Braswell (4 star recruit, No.18 PF)- Quick guy that can score inside but doesn’t play too great defensively. He needs to be a little more consistent with his scoring but can be a great player in the future because he has good size.

UConn will have a great team next season regardless of recruits. However, getting top players never hurts. Jim Calhoun was smart to go out and get a point guard, especially one as good as Kemba Walker. The rest of the recruits may have to wait their turn to get into the limelight, but it will be worth the wait and all should be great players.

Recruits:

PG-Kemba Walker (5 star recruit, No.2 PG)-Not a good three point shooter but he is a tremendous athlete and plays a great point guard. He gives it his all on the court and plays great defense. He can really help this UConn team reach the Final Four.

PF-Ater Majok (4 star recruit, No.10 PF)- He is a quick forward but he isn’t a great scorer down low. He might see a lot of time next season but he won’t get too much of an offensive load to carry as his main objective will be playing good defense.

SG-Nate Miles (4 star recruit)- Needs to improve his strength but he can be a very good three point shooter for the Huskies in the future.

SG-Scottie Haralson (3 star recruit, No.38 SG)- Has good strength, but will probably be riding the bench next season. If he does see time, don’t expect a lot of scoring.

Bill Self set himself up for another possible national championship run in the future with this class. He got himself a set of twins (seemed to help Stanford) and three other great basketball players. In the future these guys could contend with past year’s teams for one of the best teams in Kansas history.

Recruits:

PF-Markieff Morris (4 star recruit)- Has great size and can score the basketball. He won’t be tremendous next season but he should be a great player in the future if he can continue to play good defense.

PF-Marcus Morris (4 star recruit)-Has grown a couple of inches and now has surpassed his brother in height. Like him, he can score the ball and will need to keep improving defense to be a great player.

SG-Tyshawn Taylor (4 star recruit, No.20 SG)- Originally committed to Marquette but backed out when Crean left for Indiana. He can push the tempo and score in transition and is a pretty good pickup for this Kansas team.

SG-Travis Releford (4 star recruit, No.10 SG)- This kid can be a big time scorer for the Jayhawks if he can improve his mid-range game. He can score a lot of points as early as next season.

PF-Quintrell Thomas (4 star recruit, No.32 PF)- Great rebounder and a tough guy, but he needs to work on his offensive game in order to be a great player for Kansas in the future.

SG-Tyrone Appleton (3 star recruit, JUCO)- Won’t see a lot of time, but will be used for defense.

SF-Mario Little (3 star recruit, JUCO)- Also won’t see a lot of time, can score sometimes but mainly used for defensive situations.

+ Not only is the Big East the best conference this year, but it looks like its setting itself up to be the best conference in years to come. Bob Huggins got a key late signing in Devin Ebanks, and if he can keep Ebanks around campus for a couple seasons then the Mountaineers could be contending for a final four in short time.

Recruits:

SF-Devin Ebanks (5 star recruit, No.3 SF)- Has a good shot, but not from three point range. He is an athletic combo forward that can score a ton of points for WVU. If he sticks around longer than his freshman year he will put up tremendous numbers.

PF-Kevin Jones (4 star recruit, No.11 PF)- Should improve his perimeter shot before he becomes a great player for Huggins, but as for now, he is a good athlete and a great passer. He is small so he’ll probably play more of a small forward in college.

PF-Roscoe Davis (4 star recruit, No.34 PF)- He is a big player that needs to work on scoring, but he plays pretty good defense and can be a good interior defender. If he improves his offense he can be a great weapon for the Mountaineers.

PG-Darryl Brant (3 star recruit, No.26 PG)- He won’t see a lot of time this year, but in the future could be a good player. He needs to work on his point guard skills before he sees a lot of the court, maybe a year to learn the position will help this kid.

Also Considered: USC, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Alabama, Tennessee

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