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Editor & Publisher Clark Francis     All rights reserved - Copyright 2011

HOT RECRUITING INFORMATION FOR AUGUST 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The EliteHoopsShowcase, which was held over the weekend in Houston, TX, has once again provided our Georgia Editor Horace Neysmith with an early look at some under the radar screen guys, as well as some of the top up-and-coming prospects in the Lone Star State.  And right at the top of the list are 6'8 Jr Jonathan Motley from Houston (North Shore) TX, 6'0 Jr D.J Griggs from Lake Jackson (Brazosport) TX, and 6'5 Frosh Kelly Oubre from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX.  "Motley is a long athletic wing forward with a variety of skills reminiscent of Baylor's Quincy Miller," says Neysmith.  "He can beat you off the dribble, has the ability to knock down jumpers, and is skilled on the block.  On the defensive end he did a good job of blocking and altering shots.  Motley is a top 100 prospect.  Griggs is a physical guard who finishes well with contact and knows how to set up his teammates.  His quick first step and strength allows him to beat his man in the lane.  Griggs, a tough defender, also is one of the better rebounders at his position.  The work he's putting in has paid dividends.  Oubre is a smooth slashing lefty who effectively uses his hesitation dribble to get to the basket for finishes at the rim.  His ability to hit the perimeter shot also opens up his driving lanes.  His game is not one-sided as he battles both back-boards and defended well.  Another top 100 prospect."  Neysmith also really liked 6'1 Josh Gray from Humble (Christian Life) TX, who is already verbally committed to Mississippi State; 6'2 Jr Isaiah Taylor, a transplant from Berkeley (St. Mary's) CA to Houston (The Village) TX; and 6'7 Jr Dylan Jones from Houston (The Village) TX, who is already verbally committed to Pepperdine.  "Gray jumped onto the scene at last year's camp and his continued improvement is evident," says Neysmith.  "Always tough attacking the basket, Gray has improved the consistency on his jumper and has more bounce to his game.  He also made a strong case for the national rankings.  Taylor also really helped himself this weekend.  He has the quickness and ball skills necessary to beat his man consistently and, when in the lane, his vision allows him to find teammates for easy baskets.  He also has very good defensive instincts.  Jones has a great motor and is active on both ends with his rebounding and shot blocking.  He also did a great job of beating his man down the floor for easy baskets and finishes well with contact."  There also was 5'9 Jr Shawndre Jones from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX, who is very good at using high ball screens to create scoring opportunities for himself and others.  "When not getting in the lane, Jones was knocking down shots from behind the arc," says Neysmith.  "He also is solid defensively."  Also playing well enough to get a mention are 6'0 Luke Savoy from Rosenberg (Lamar) TX, 6'6 Bridge Lavey from Humble (Atascocita) TX, 6'1 Ryan Garcia from Houston (Jersey Village) TX, 5'10 Soph Brandon Etienne from Houston (North Shore) TX, 6'1 Jr Darin Minniefield from Houston (Westbury Christian) TX, 6'1 Garrett Wilson from Katy (Cinco Ranch) TX, 6'7 Jr Joshua Friar from Kingwood (H.S.) TX, 6'8 Jr Andrew Kelly from Houston (Klein) TX, 6'3 Jarrain Jenkins from White Castle (H.S.) LA, 6'6 Jr Cori Hoffman from Montgomery (H.S.) TX, 6'3 Terrance Fair from White Castle (H.S.) LA, 6'4 William House from Humble (Atascocita) TX, and 6'2 Jr Trayvond Collins from Humble (H.S.) TX.  "Savoy is a crafty point guard with a good mid-range game," says Neysmith.  "His penchant for creating for others makes him a good floor general.  Lavey is a deep threat who has improved handling the ball.  He used shot fakes well to beat his man for pull-ups and likes to compete.  Garcia was one of the best defenders in camp, competes on every possession, does a good job of taking what the defense gives him, and has a knack for making the simply play that leads to easy baskets.  Etienne is one of the top young guards in the area and does a good job of attacking the gaps and finding shooters.  Minniefield is at his best in transition, where he makes athletic plays.  He's also very effective with the catch-and-go in the half-court set to beat his man and is a good on the ball defender.  Wilson was one of the camp's top shooters.  He can beat you off the dribble with his jumper and plays the passing lanes well.  Friar got better as the weekend wore on.  The physical banger finished plays, rebounded outside his area, and was a defensive presence inside.  Kelly is a very shooter who is effective on the pick and pop.  He's also a good position rebounder who battle on the glass.  Jenkins is another undersized forward with a sweet shooting stroke and is a load on the block.  He also has a good understanding of where his advantages were...took the smaller players to the block and bigger players to the perimeter.  Hoffman is banger who works hard at both ends and has a good nose for the ball.  Fair is another shooter with range and his ability to shoot allows him access to drive the gaps.  House is a slasher who does a little bit of everything.  He also did a good job of filling the lanes and getting on the offensive glass.  Collins really got his shot going in the Top 20 Game.  He has good range and move well without the ball to get his shot." 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

With his verbal commitment last night to the University of Arizona, 6'8 Brandon Ashley from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV became the highest ranked player in the Class of 2012 to have made his college decision.  And, with the decision over the weekend by 6'5 Savon Goodman from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA to renege on Villanova, the number of players ranked among our top 100 seniors nationally who have picked a four-year college or university remains the same at 46.  We currently have Ashley ranked #6 nationally in the senior class nationally.  But what makes this so interesting is the fact that the Wildcats also already have a verbal commitment from 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA.  He's not as athletic nor does he have the natural talent of Ashley.  But Jerrett is more skilled, is good enough to be ranked #38 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, and plays a similar position to Ashley, who also is more of a finesse guy than a banger around the basket.  In other words, Arizona head coach Sean Miller and his staff have landed two quality inside guys who likely will compete with one another for playing time, but has yet to get a bruiser around the basket like 6'7 Derrick Williams was during the last two years for the Wildcats.  However, the addition of Ashley to a recruiting class that also already includes both Jerrett and 6'2 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA does move their recruiting class up to #2 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 And, when one remembers that Arizona also landed 6'2 Josiah Turner from Sacramento (H.S.) CA, 6'3 Nick Johnson from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'8 Sidiki Johnson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, and 6'10 Angelo Chol from San Diego (Hoover) CA in last year's recruiting class, it's pretty clear that Miller will have a strong nucleus around which to build in the future.  It also looks like the University of Maryland has hit the jackpot with the late addition of 7'1 Alex Len from Antrarsit, Ukraine to their 2011 recruiting class.  We're talking about a guy who averaged 16/0 pgg, 11.4 rpg, and 4.3 bpg for the Ukrainian 18-Under National Team and, at 7'1, 225-pounds, should be ready to step in and make immediate impact in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference this season.  We also suspect that Terrapins assistant coach Scott Spinelli's strong international ties came into play on this one and he appears to be exactly what the doctored ordered to complement 6'4 Nick Faust from Baltimore (City College) MD, who was signed by the previous regime and was one of the best 3-point shooters in the high school ranks a year ago.  We also think Oklahoma State may have a steal on its hands with the addition of 6'8 Kamari Murphy from Bradenton (IMG Academy) FL.  Currently we have this long lanky athletic power forward ranked #11 on our List of the Top 5th Year Players.  But, once he gets bigger and stronger physically and develops better offensive skills and some post moves, the sky could be the limit.  Remember, Murphy runs the court extremely well for somebody his size, he brings that Brooklyn toughness to the table, and he put up good numbers while playing for Tiny Morton at Brooklyn (Lincoln) NY a year go.  We also are impressed with the way the new coaching staff at UNLV is quickly putting all the pieces together.  The latest being 6'9 Demetris Morant from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, who is ranked #165 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP.  Morant is long and athletic and he plays in one of the top high school programs in the nation.  But it's his upside and potential that gets us excited.  The addition of Morant also moves the Runnin' Rebels recruiting class, which already includes 6'5 Katin Reinhardt from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA and 6'0 Daquan Cook from Baltimore (Digital Harbor) MD, into a tie at #13, along with Marquette, on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 And the best may be yet to come, as Morant is the high school teammate of 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad, 6'8 Rosco Allen, and 6'8 Ben Carter at Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV.  Add the fact that new UNLV head coach Dave Rice's brother is the head coach at Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV and all of the connections become even more interesting.  It also looks like the University of Utah has landed the top player in its backyard with the verbal commitment over the weekend from 6'6 Jordan Loveridge from West Jordan (H.S.) UT and Brigham Young is getting a great head start on the future with the early additions of 6'2 Jr Nick Emery from Highland (Lone Peak) UT and 6'2 Soph T.J. Harris from Highland (Lone Park) UT.  And to make this one even more interesting is the fact that both Emery's brother and Harris' brother played for the Cougars in recent years.  There also is the verbal commitment that 6'4 Dillion Graham from Orlando (First Academy) FL, who is ranked #9 in the state's senior class by our Florida Editor Rick Staudt, has made the University of Florida, and the verbal commitment that 6'4 Shawn Smith from Jacksonville (Providence School) FL, who is ranked #120 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, has made to the University of Missouri.  We also suspect that 6'6 Kirk Staine from Baldwin (H.S.) NY, who verbally committed over the weekend to Longwood, could turn out to be a major steal for the Lancers.  He's one of those long multi-dimensional athletic guys who plays hard, shoots the three, and is still flying under the radar screen even though he opened some eyes with his play in early July at the first Hoop Group Elite Camp.   It's also safe to assume that 6'3 Kethan Savage from Alexandria (Episcopal) VA is a good catch for George Washington and 6'4 Jr Quinten Payne from St. Charles (North) IL, who is ranked #275 nationally in the junior class by the HOOP SCOOP, will fit in perfectly with the four players - 6'0 Keith Carter from Maywood (Proviso East) IL, 6'1 Darrell Combs from Thornwood (South Holland) IL, 6'8 Nick Osborne from Muncie (Central) IN, and 6'7 Matt O'Leary from Terre Haute (North Vigo) IN -  that new Ramblers head coach Porter Moser has already landed this summer in the Class of 2012. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011, Sunday, August 28, 2011, & Monday, August 29, 2011

It really was a great way to wrap up the summer.  We're talking about the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Game, which was held yesterday afternoon in Venice Beach, CA and featured an overwhelming number of the very elite high school players in the nation.  The Marques Johnson Squad beat the Raymond Lewis Squad, 142-132.  However, even more important, a lot of guys reinforced what we already think with regards to their rankings and projections at both the college and professional levels.  We start with with 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, and, 6'8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, who were the three best players in the game and are all ranked among our top five seniors nationally.  For our money Jefferson, who finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots, and 10-17 field goals, was the best player in the game.  But, once again, he's almost too efficient for his own good and, as a result, once again didn't get the respect that he deserves, as Muhammad and 5'7 Jr Aquille Carr from Baltimore (Patterson) MD edged him out for team MVP honors.  Muhammad did have 25 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots, and 12-22 field goals.  But most of his points came off of dunks and baskets in transition.  On the other hand, Muhammad does deserve extra credit because he is still being hampered by a high ankle sprain and was advised to not even play in the game.  He also did a great job of running the court and playing with a lot of energy, which appeared to be contagious to a lot of the other players in the game.  Carr clearly was the biggest overachiever, as he used his up tempo style and Baltimore toughness to adapt perfectly to the up-and-down pace en route to 21 points, 10 assists, 9-17 field goals, and 3-3 free throws.  The same also can be said about 6'5 Justin Anderson from Rockville (Montrose Christian) MD, who is a relentless competitor and made a living off transition and dunking the basketball en route to 23 points and an impressive 11-12 field goals.   Anderson also was one of the catalysts for the winning Marques Johnson Squad and shared team MVP honors with 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ.   Speaking of the other Anderson, he finished with 18 points, four rebounds, eight assists, and 9-14 field goals and was one of the most unselfish players and most skilled players in the game.  Two other unsung heroes for the Marques Johnson Squad were 6'3 Rasheed Sulaimon from Houston (Strake Jesuit) TX and 6'5 Jr Andrew Harrison from Richmond (Ft. Bend Travis) TX.  They both only had two points apiece in the first half, but finished with 15 points and 14 points apiece respectively when the final horn had sounded.  They also combined for 10 assists and made a number of big plays that helped spark their team at key points in the game.  And what about the battle of the big men, which was won by 6'9 DeJuan Coleman from Dewitt (Jamesville-Dewitt) NY and 6'8 Robert Carter from Snellville (Shiloh) GA?  The former finished with 14 points, three rebounds, 5-9 field goals, and 4-5 free throws and the latter had 16 points, six rebounds, and 8-9 field goals.  In contrast, the other two big physical specimens in the game - 6'9 Tony Parker from Lithonia (Miller Grove) GA and  6'9 Cameron Ridley from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX had only eight points and two rebounds and six points and four rebounds respectively.  We're also still trying to figure out what happened to 6'9 Brandon Ashley from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, who was a total bust with only four points and 2-4 field goals.  Currently we have Parker ranked #4, Ashley #6, and Coleman ranked #8 nationally in the senior class.  However, after watching this game, it's pretty clear that Coleman is the best of the three, Parker should be second on that list, and Ashley probably needs to drop out of the top 10 nationally.  Another one of the unsung heroes was 6'5 Savon Goodman from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA, who finished with 12 points, six rebounds, two steals, and 6-8 field goals and, once again, always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to make the play.  We also have to give 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA credit for stepping up and playing better than expected with eight points and 4-8 field goals.  But we continue to wonder about all of the hype with regards to 6'2 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA, who finished with only five points and 2-5 field goals.  We also expected more out of 6'8 Jr Julius Randle from Plano (Prestonwood Christian) TX, who showed some flashes, but only had 10 points four rebounds, and 4-7 field goals, and 6'10 Jr Nerlens Noel from Tifton (School) NH, who had several terrific blocks, but finished with only two points, five rebounds, and 1-4 field goals.  On the other hand, 6'8 Perry Ellis from Wichita (Heights) KS, who had only two points, two rebounds, and 1-5 field goals, pretty much picked up where he left off this summer and, as a result, the value of his stock continues to drop.  It was pretty much status quo for the rest of the players in the game, as 6'4 Rodney Purvis from Raleigh (Upper Room Christian Academy) NC had 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, and 5-9 field goals; 6'1 Marcus Paige from Marion (Linn-Mar) IA had eight points, two assists, and 4-10 field goals; 6'8 Anthony Bennett from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV had eight points, five rebounds, two blocked shots, and 4-8 field goals; 6'5 Jr Aaron Harrison from Richmond (Ft. Bend Travis) TX had eight points, two assists, and 4-8 field goals; 6'1 Jr Nate Britt from Washington (Gonzaga) DC has six points, two assists, two steals, and 3-5 field goals; and 6'4 Shaquille Johnson from Alpharetta (Milton) GA had six points, three assists, and 3-3 field goals.  And, last but not least, is 6'10 Mitch McGary from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, who did not play in the game due to the fact that he was injured while breaking the backboard in the warm-ups prior to the start of the game.  Also noteworthy is the fact that the outdoors court appeared to have a major influence the outside shooting, as both teams combined to hit only 1-13 3-pointers.  In contrast, most of the players in the game had no problem making dunks and finishing in transition, as the Marques Johnson Squad shot 67-103 (65.0/%) from the field and the Raymond Lewis Squad shot 61-112 (54.5%) from the field.  And really that was the big difference in the game.  We also want to give Ronnie Flores of ESPN Rise a special mention, because he did a great job of putting together the teams and playing a key role in running the game. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

With the verbal commitment that 6'3 Kris Dunn from Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA made a couple of day ago to Providence College, 46 of our top 100-ranked seniors are now off the board.  However, it does not appear that most of the elite players are in any big hurry to make it official, as is evident by the fact that our highest ranked senior who is verbally committed is 5'11 Kevin Ferrell from Indianapolis (Park Tudor) IN.  He's ranked #10 nationally in the senior class and is the marquee player in Indiana's top-ranked recruiting class.  Also on this list are 6'3 Rasheed Sulaimon from Houston (Strake Jesuit) TX to Duke, 6'6 Ricardo Gathers from LaPlace (Riverside) LA to St. John's, 6'5 Savon Goodman from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA to Villanova, 6'1 Marcus Paige from  Marion (Linn-Mar) IA to North Carolina, 6'8 Sam Dekker from Sheboygan (Lutheran) WI to Wisconsin, 6'0 Dominic Artis from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV to UCLA, 6'9 Cameron Ridley from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX to Texas, 6'5 Jordan Price from Decatur (Southwest DeKalb) GA to Auburn, 5'11 Javan Felix from New Orleans (St. Augustine) LA to Texas, 6'3 Ryan Arcidiacono from Langhorne (Neshaminy) PA to Villanova, 6'5 Jordan Adams from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA to UCLA, 5'11 Tyler Lewis from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA to N.C. State, 6'5 Justin Anderson from Rockville (Montrose Christian) MD to Virginia, 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA to Arizona, 6'5 Omar Calhoun from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY to Connecticut, 6'9 Aaron Rountree from Wilson (Greenfield) NC to Wake Forest, 7'0 Isaiah Austin from Arlington (Grace Prep) TX to Baylor, 6'8 Montrezl Harrell from Tarboro (Edgecomb) NC to Virginia Tech, 6'10 Daniel Ochefu from Westtown (Friends) PA to Villanova, 6'6 J.P. Tokoto from Menomonee Falls (H.S.) WI to North Carolina, 6'5 Darrick Wood from Newark (Nia Prep) NJ to St. John's, 6'8 Steve Taylor from Chicago (Simeon) IL to Marquette, 6'6 Cameron Beidschied from St. Louis (Cardinal Ritter) MO to Notre Dame, 6'7 Glenn Robinson from Saint John (Lake Central) IN to Michigan, 6'3 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA to Arizona, 6'9 Gavin Ware from Starkville (H.S.) MS to Mississippi State, 6'2 Codi Miller-McIntyre from Concord (First Assembly) NC to Wake Forest, 5'11 Ronnie Johnson from Indianapolis (North Central) IN to Purdue, 6'5 Nkereuwem Okoro from Bronx (St.  Raymond's) NY to Iowa State, 6'8 Hanner Perea from La Porte (La Lumiere) IN to Indiana, 6'5 Katin Reinhardt from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA to UNLV, 6'4 Michael Frazier from Montverde (Academy) FL to Florida, 6'8 Evan Nolte from Alpharetta (Milton) GA to Virginia, 6'0 Braxton Ogbueze from Charlotte (United Faith Christian) NC to Florida, 6'2 J-Mychal Reese from Bryan (H.S.) TX to Texas A&M, 6'7 Jeremy Hollowell from Indianapolis (Lawrence Central) IN to Indiana, 6'5 Damien Wilson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA to Memphis, 6'0 Daquan Cook from Baltimore (Digital Harbor) MD to UNLV, 6'6 Jaron Blossomgame from Alpharetta (Chattahoochee) GA to Clemson, 6'10 Josh Scott from Colorado Springs (Lewis-Palmer) CO to Colorado, 7'0 Peter Jurkin from Charlotte (United Faith Christian) NC to Indiana, 6'5 Fred Thomas from Jackson (Jim Hill) MS to Mississippi State, 6'5 Raphael Davis from Ft. Wayne (South Side) IN to Purdue, and 6'8 Arik Armstead from Elk Grove (Pleasant Grove) CA to USC (football).  As for Dunn, his picking the Friars is huge for a number of reasons.  First, he's good enough right now to be ranked #45 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP and he has the upside, potential, athleticism, and ability to score necessary to evolve into one of the better players someday in the Big East Conference.  Second, Dunn is originally from New London (H.S.) CT and this clearly demonstrates the fact that the new Providence coaching staff will be able to get more than their share of the top players in their backyard.  Third, Dunn also is both a club team and a high school teammate of 6'11 Andre Drummond from Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA and you can bet that Friars head coach Ed Cooley and his staff are trying to use every angle in an attempt to get involved with this 6'11 big guy who does have an amazing combination of size, athleticism, and potential.  Fourth, getting a commitment from an elite player like Dunn should also enhance Providence's' chances of landing 6'6 Ricardo Ledo from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, who is ranked #2 on our List of the Top 5th Year Players and is originally from Providence, RI.  If you will recall, Ledo previously made a verbal commitment to the former regime, but soon after changed his mind.  It also looks like 7'5 Sim Bhullar from Toronto, ON via Saltsburg (Kiski School) PA and Huntington (Prep) WV has reneged on his second school (he previously was committed to West Virginia and Xavier) and is now heading to New Mexico State, where he will enroll into school this fall and be eligible immediately.  Bhullar is currently ranked #75 nationally in the senior class and his good hands, quickness to the ball, and knack for finding a way to score around the basket makes him really intriguing.  On the other hand, it will be interesting to see if Bhullar will be able step in and make an immediate impact and just how Aztecs head coach Marvin Menzies uses him.  Remember, we're talking about a massive human being and foot speed, athleticism, and running the court are not his forte.  Our New York City Editor Ron Naclerio tells us that 6'2 Brian Bernardi from Brooklyn (Xaverian) NY, who is ranked #4 in the senior class in NYC by the HOOP SCOOP, has verbally committed to SMU.  Obviously this is case where Mustangs head coach Matt Doherty has gone back to his old stamping grounds to land one of the best outside shooters to come out of the Big Apple in a long time.  It also looks like Ball State may have stolen on in 6'1 Marcus Posley from Winnebago (H.S.) IL.  We're talking about a combo guard who can really score (he shot 42.0% from 3-land a year ago) and, as a result, should be the perfect complement to 6'6 Bo Calhoun from South Bend (Washington) IN and 6'4 Michael Ramey from Indianapolis (Southport) IN in a recruiting class that is now tied at #31, along with Butler, on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 And to make the story even more interesting is the fact that the Cardinals now have the third highest ranked mid-major recruiting class in the country, behind Virginia Commonwealth and Butler.  And those other two teams were NCAA Final Four teams last March.  However, in the case of Ball State, assistant coaches Bob Simmons and Mitch Gilfillan laid the groundwork for this a year ago, as their primary recruiting focus was getting a head start on juniors.  We also are intrigued by the fact that 6'9 Keith Coleman from Marshalltown (JC) IA has picked the University of Nebraska.  He played well several times when we saw him saw him a year ago, but thought he was more of quick fix than a program changer for somebody at the high major level.  On the other hand, another big body like Coleman may be exactly what the doctor ordered for Cornhuskers head coach Doc Sadler, as his team enters the tough/physical Big-10 Conference next year.  There also are the pair of verbal commitments by 6'6 Carlos Morris and 6'2 Ian Baker from Jacksonville (Arlington Country Day) FL, both of whom are teammates at Jacksonville (Arlington Country Day) FL and are ranked in the 200-300 range nationally by the HOOP SCOOP,  to the University of South Carolina; the decision by the sharpshooting 6'3 John Papale from Willingham (Choate Rosemary) MA to stay home and attend Boston University, and the fact that 6'0 Keith Carter from Maywood (Proviso East) IL has joined 6'1 Darrell Combs from Thornwood (South Holland) IL, 6'8 Nick Osborne from Muncie (Central) IN, and 6'7 Matt O'Leary from Terry Haute (North Vigo) IN in Loyola-Chicago's recruiting class that is now ranked #34 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 Editor's Note:  Our New York City Editor Ron Naclerio tells us that 6'11 Andre Drummond from Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA has decided to enroll this fall at the University of Connecticut, where he will be eligible immediately.  And this makes perfect sense when one remembers that Drummond graduated from high school this past spring and had planned on going to prep school for year in order to fulfill the requirement that he be one year removed from high school in order to be eligible to enter the 2012 NBA Draft.  Besides, who better to push and get the most out of Drummond than Huskies head coach Jim Calhoun?  Remember, Calhoun did the same thing with 6'9 Jr Alex Oriakhi, who recorded 11 double-doubles this past season and played a key role in his team's win in over Butler in the 2011 NCAA Championship Game.  Now also is a good time to point out that this appears to be a trend, as Drummond becomes the fourth player in this class who had reclassified at a younger age, but now has decided to skip his final year of high school and, instead, go the college route.  If you will recall, Pittsburgh-bound 6'9 Khem Birch from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA decided to move back up in class in time to be eligible to play in the McDonald's All-American Game, 6'9 Alex Murphy will skip his final year at Southborough (St. Mark's) MA and will enroll at Duke this fall, and 7'5 Sim Bhullar from Huntington (Prep) WV did likewise just a couple of days ago and now plans to enroll at New Mexico State.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dinos Trigonis is widely recognized as one of the top event operators in the country and yesterday he released his Fullcourt Press Pangos Fall 2011 Schedule of Events.  And the first thing that he has on his itinerary is the Fullcourt Press Fall Showcase, which will be held at Dominguez High School in Compton, CA on Sunday, September 11th.  This popular fall individual event is expected to feature many of Southern California's top high school players, like 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA, 6'5 Katin Reinhardt from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA, 6'8 Zena Edosomwan from North Hollywood (Harvard-Westlake) CA, 6'7 Chris Reyes from La Verne (Damien) CA, 6'6 Jr Jordan Bell from Long Beach (Poly) CA, 6'4 Jr Isaac Hamilton from Bellflower (St. John Bosco) CA, 6'3 Jr Eric Cooper from La Verne (Lutheran) CA, 6'5 Jr Roschon Prince from Long Beach (Poly) CA, 6'0 Jr Jahmel Taylor from Chatsworth (Sierra Canyon) CA, 6'1 Jr Chance Murray from Los Angeles (Price) CA, 6'1 Jr Brandon Randolph from Playa Del Ray (St. Bernard) CA, 6'6 Jr Payton Banks from Orange (Lutheran) CA, 6'4 Jr Nick Colletta from Glendora (H.S.) CA, 6'4 Soph Stanley Johnson from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA, 6'6 Soph Daniel Hamilton from Bellflower (St. John Bosco) CA, 6'4 Soph Bear Henderson from Mission Hills (Bishop Alemany) CA, 6'3 Soph Namon Wright from Los Angeles (Pacific Hills) CA, 6'7 Soph Devin Burleson from Los Angeles (Pacific Hills) CA, 6'2 Soph Christopher Sandifer from Los Angeles (Price) CA, 6'4 Frosh Tyler Dorsey from Pasadena, CA, 6'9 Frosh Broderick Jones from Inglewood, CA, 5'9 Frosh Marcus LoVett from Altadena, CA, 5'11 Frosh Sedrick Barefield from Temecula, CA, and 5'8 Frosh Latrell Franklin from Temecula, CA.  Next on Trigonis' agenda is the Fullcourt Fall Hoops Classic, which will be held on Saturday, September 17th, and Sunday, September 18th at the HAX in Harbor City, CA.  This will be the 19th edition of this event and it will consist of a a 16-team field that will feature 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, who is the #1-ranked senior nationally by the HOOP SCOOP.   And, in addition to Muhammad, the Las Vegas Orange also is expected to have 6'8 Rosco Allen from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'8 Ben Carter from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'9 Demetrius Morant from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV and 6'10 Frosh Stephen Zimmerman from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV.  Among the other teams slated to be in the field are Belmont Shore with 6'5 Katin Reinhardt from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA, 6'8 Zena Edosomwan from North Hollywood (Harvard-Westlake) CA, 6'7 Chris Reyes from La Verne (Damien) CA, 6'4 Soph Stanley Johnson from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA, 6'4 Soph Bear Henderson from Mission Hills (Bishop Alemany) CA, and 6'4 Frosh Tyler Dorsey from Pasadena, CA; the Compton Magic with 6'2 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA and 6'6 Jr Jordan Bell from Long Beach (Poly) CA; Belmont Shore Gold with 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA and 6'3 Jr Eric Cooper from La Verne (Lutheran) CA; California Select with 6'4 Soph Issac Hamilton from Bellflower (St. John Bosco) CA and 6'6 Soph Daniel Hamilton from Bellflower (St. John Bosco) CA, California Supreme, Branch West Elite, Team Superstar, and Salt Lake Metro.  Then, Trigonis will move onto Sin City, where he will host the Fullcourt Press Las Vegas Fall Showcase at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, NV.  And it should come as no surprise that the list of top players who are expected to be in attendance includes 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'2 Devon Bookert from Las Vegas (Impact Academy) NV, 6'8 Rosco Allen from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'8 Ben Carter from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'9 Demetrius Morant from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, and 6'10 Frosh Stephen Zimmerman from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV.  Trigonis also once again plans to get a great head start on the future with the four camps that he has scheduled in October.  The first will be the Fullcourt Press All-Frosh/Soph Camp, which will be held at a site yet to be determined in Southern California on Saturday, October 1st, and Sunday, October 2nd.  The second will be the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp, which will be held at Holy Innocents High School in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, October 8th, and Sunday, October 9th.  The third will be the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp, which will be held at a site yet to be determined in Chicago, IL on either the third or fourth weekend in October.  The fourth will be the Pangos All-East Frosh/Soph Camp, which will be held at RiverWinds Center in West Deptford, NJ on Saturday, October 29th, and Sunday, October 30th.  Trigonis also has a Fullcourt Press Northern Exposure Camp scheduled on Saturday, November 5th, and Sunday, November 6th in Calgary, Canada.  We also encourage you to check Trigonis' Full Court Press web site for even more information as it becomes available. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rick Bolus, who is the publisher of the High Potential Basketball Recruiting Service, has released his post summer ranking of the top players in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and it reinforces what we previously thought in a number of areas.  First, the senior class in the state has a lot of good mid-major players, but the pickings are pretty slim for schools like the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky, as his list of the top dozen-ranked players includes 6'7 Lemon Gregory from Greenville (Muhlenberg County) KY, 6'4 MeKale McKay from Louisville (Moore) KY, 6'0 Jaylen Beckham from Lexington (Bryan Station) KY, 6'7 Jay Johnson from Versailles (Woodford County) KY, 6'4 Adam Wing from Morehead (Rowan County) KY, 6'7 Devon Rowan from Goshen (North Oldham) KY, 6'2 Taylor Barnette from Lexington (Christian) KY, 6'3 Tamron Manning from Georgetown (Scott County) KY, 6'2 Desmond Dorsey from Jeffersontown (Scott County) KY, 6'0 Charles Foster from Louisville (Trinity) KY, 6'4 Max Clemons from Louisville (Pleasure Ridge Park) KY, and 6'8 Sawyer Williams from Owenton (Owen County) KY.  Second, there are some pretty good young players in state, as his list of the top dozen underclassmen includes 6'4 Jr Darryl Hicks from Louisville (Trinity) KY, 6'8 Jr Derrick Willis from Mt. Washington (Bullitt East) KY, 6'3 Soph D'Angelo Russell from Louisville (Central) KY, 5'11 Soph Quinton Snider from Louisville (Ballard) KY, 6'6 Soph Trey Grundy from Lexington (Henry Clay) KY, 6'2 Soph Brandon Hatton from Ft. Mitchell (Dixie Heights) KY, 6'6 Soph Justin Johnson from Inez (Sheldon Clark) KY, 6'8 Soph Jackson Davis from Lexington (Lafayette) KY, 6'3 Jr Larry Morton from Lexington (Bryan Station) KY, 6'4 Jr Darius Brown from Paducah (Tilghman) KY, 6'0 Jr Dominique Hawkins from Richmond (Madison (Central) KY, and 6'4 Soph Jordan Green from Lexington (Henry Clay) KY.  And this interesting, because the top sophomores in the state have already overtaken the top juniors, as the aforementioned group includes seven players in the Class of 2014 and only five players in the Class of 2013.  Third, there also are some good middle school players to keep an eye on, as his report includes youngsters like 5'10 8th Grader Braxton Beverly from Hazard (Perry County Central) KY, 6'2 8th Grader Chris Drabo from Louisville (Johnson Middle School) KY, 6'0 8th Grader Quentin Goodin from Campbellsville (Taylor County Middle School) KY, and 6'0 7th Grader A.J. Youngman from Greenup (Greenup County) KY.  And, in the case of Beverly, he started as a 7th Grader on a team that advanced into the Kentucky State Tournament this past March.  Not only does that put him in pretty fast company, along with O.J. Mayo, who led Ashland (Rose Hill) KY to a state tournament appearance as a 7th Grader back in 2003, but Beverly also is good enough to be ranked among the Second Dozen Underclassmen in the state right now.  "It's too early to project his level for college," says Bolus.  "But Beverly definitely will be a Division I point guard.  He's a good playmaker, see the floor, handles, distributes, and has surprisingly good speed, quickness, and athleticism."  Beverly also was named to play in the Top All-Star Game and shared Top Underclassmen honors, along with 6'5 Soph Justin Johnson from Inez (Sheldon Clark) KY, at the "Blue-Chip" Camp at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY on July 17th-22nd.  Drabo also played in the High School Division and played well enough make the Second All-Star Game.  Goodin and Youngman also were at this session of camp and the former was named the Camp Runner-up MVP in the Junior Division and the latter was one of only two 7th Graders to be named to play in the "Blue-Chip" Junior All-Star Game.  Now also is probably a good time to mention that the Blue-Chip Camp's Junior Division included some other very good players, like 5'11 8th Grader Brad Hall from Milford, OH, who took home Camp MVP honors; 6'3 8th Grader Spencer Cline from Mason (H.S.) OH, who took home All-Star Game MVP honors; and 6'0 Frosh Calvin Johnson from Killeen (Shoemaker) TX, who took home All-Star Game Runner-Up MVP honors.  Among the other names to remember from this session's High School Division are 6'1 James "Woo" Brown from Trotwood (Trotwood-Madison) OH, who was named the Camp MVP and also was the Runner-up MVP in the Top All-Star Game; 6'7 Jauan Akins from Radcliff (North Hardin) KY, who was named the Camp Runner-up MVP; 5'9 Aaron Edwards from Payson (Payson Seymour) IL, who was named the MVP in the Top All-Star Game; and 6'2 8th Grader Yalen Reed from Antioch (Lighthouse Christian) TN, who not only played up, but was good enough to be named to play in the Top All-Star Game.  For more information about either the camp or his latest report, we encourage you to contact Bolus via phone at 1-502-543-7308, email at bolus@insightbb.com, or by going to his "Blue-Chip" Basketball Camp web site

Tuesday August 23, 2011

Our Georgia Editor Horace Neysmith was at the Nashville EliteHoopShowcase in Nashville, TN over the weekend and he provides us with peek at what the future looks like in the Volunteers State with his list of the top players at the camp.  It begins with 6'4 Soph Davelle Roby from Memphis (White Station) TN, who has good size and athleticism for the point guard position.  "He consistently attacked the gaps and found open teammates," say Neysmith.  "He gets on the boards on both ends and is every effective in the open or half court.  He's also good defender and is hearing from Memphis, Arkansas, Georgetown, La Salle, Massachusetts, and Southeast Missouri."  Another guy who deserves special mention is 6'0 Jr D.J. Bowles from Cleveland (H.S.) TN.  "He's a strong aggressive point guard," says Neysmith.  "He uses his solid frame and quickness to get into the lane for pull-ups and floaters and is a good decision maker off the high screen.  Memphis is showing early interest."  There also was 5'11 Alex Anderson from Memphis (Wooddale) TN, 7'0 Jr Sam Edwards from Memphis (Oakhaven) TN, 6'2 Trey Polk from Bolivar (H.S.) TN, 6'6 William Powell from Huntsville (H.S.) AL, 6'3 Jr Jacob McLennan from Huntland (H.S.) TN 6'0 Zack Jones from Huntsville (H.S.) AL, 6'1 Jr Connor Payne from Eads (Briarcrest) TN, 6'6 Soph Marcanvis Hymon from Memphis (Whitehaven) TN, 6'6 Jr Jamontae Davis from Hillsboro) TN, and 6'2 Soph Jerry Johnson from Memphis (Wooddale) TN.  "Anderson has the speed and craftiness to beat his man to the paint," says Neysmith.  "He also knows how to involve others and is tough to guard on ball screens, because he shoots it well off the dribble.  He has offers from Middle Tennessee State, Southeast Missouri State, Eastern Kentucky and will make an official visit to Dayton in September.  Edwards is a big fella.  He's raw, but, like they say, you can't teach size.  This lefty does have a soft shot around the bucket and a willingness to work hard to improve.  Memphis, Auburn, Ole Miss, Nebraska, and Arkansas are among his early offers.  Polk is a good shoot shooter who knows how to use screens to get his shot.  He also does a good job attacking off the catch and was one of the best defenders that I saw all weekend.  Furman and Murray State are showing the most interest.  Powell is a good shooter with a high motor and a strong body that allows him to finish drives with contact.  He also was very good in transition and is getting interest from Middle Tennessee State, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth, Tulane, LSU, and Alabama.  McLennan is a rebounding guard with a good stroke.  He also defends well on the ball and in the passing lanes.  Middle Tennessee State and IPFW are showing interest.  Jones is a quick guard with good playmaking abilities.  He also makes good use of his hesitation dribble to beat the defender and is drawing interest from Murray State, Samford, and Middle Tennessee State.  Payne is a good spot-up shooter and uses his ability to knock down shots and to drive into the lane.  He also is great student and is hearing from Yale and Columbia.  Hymon is a slender bouncy forward who plays with energy and toughness and is a good mid-range shooter.  He also consistently contested shots, rebounded on both ends, and played through contact, which allowed him to finish plays.  Davis is a springy forward who showed a solid perimeter game to 18-feet.  He even stepped out and knocked down a couple of treys and was an active rebounder on both ends.  Johnson knows who to score the ball and has range beyond the arc.  His use of shot fakes and good body gets him into the lane for baskets.  He also has improved defensively."  Other players who distinguished themselves and, as a a result, deserve special recognition were 5'11 Jr Jalen Thompson from Memphis (White Station) TN, 6'7 Soph Dyonte Bizzle-Brown from Nashville (Montgomery Bell Academy) TN, 6'2 Kenny Griggs from Memphis (Wooddale) TN, 6'1 Soph Daniel Norl from Clarksville (Kenwood) TN, 6'3 Jr Amol Kaushal from Nashville (Montgomery Bell Academy) TN, 6'7 Jr Tom Kaiser from Nashville (Montgomery Bell Academy) TN, 6'5 Britt Headeen from Thompsons Station (Independence) TN, 6'4 Jr Kessler Bell from Nashville (Franklin Road Academy) TN, 6'1 Soph Marcus Graves from Thompsons Station (Independence) TN, 6'2 Jr Seth Satterfield from Hazel Green (H.S.) AL, and 6'4 Frosh Andrew Fleming from Nashville (Ensworth) TN.  "Thompson is a fast pass-first point guard," says Neysmith.  "He also shot it well in the all-star game and is a very good defender.  Bizzle-Brown is a long lanky wing with a solid stroke.  He also runs the floor well and his length and athleticism makes him tough defensively.  Griggs has a very quick first step, handles well, and his strength allows him to access the lane.  Norl is a very good spot-up shooter, moves well without the ball, and is a good defender.  Kaushal was one of the best shooters in camp.  He showed his deep shooting range with five in a row and seven of nine 3-pointers right out of the gate.  Kaiser does a good job of making himself available for his guards to drop and finish.  He also is a solid post defender.  Headden is a slasher who can also knock down 18-footers.  Bell is an undersized forward who shoots it well from 17-feet-an- in and uses his body well to defend in the post.  Graves is a lefty with a good stroke and feel for the game.  He also does a good hob of setting up his teammates.  Satterfield has deep range and was another one of the camp's best shooters.  Fleming is a smart player with good vision, the ability create contact on drives, and good range on his jumper." 

Saturday, August 20, 2011, Sunday, August 21, 2011, & Monday, August 22, 2011

Two of the guys who really helped themselves the most this summer were 6'2 Devon Bookert from Las Vegas (Impact Academy) NV and 6'5 Darrick Wood from Newark (Nia Prep) NJ.  We bring this up because the former picked Florida State on Friday and the latter verbally committed to St. John's on Saturday.  And there is no doubt that Wood is an important catch for the Red Storm for a number of reasons.  First, Wood has big time athleticism, is versatile enough to play multiple positions, and can flat out shoot the basketball.  Second, he is a very good player, as is evident by the fact that he is ranked #52 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP.  Third, Wood is the club team teammate of 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, who is ranked #3 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP and plans to decide from among a list of schools that includes St. John's, Seton Hall, Florida, Georgetown, and UCLA on September 20th.  Fourth, Wood is the second piece to the puzzle in a recruiting class that already includes 6'7 Ricardo Gathers from LaPlace (Riverside Academy) LA, who is ranked #13 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, and comes on the heels of a recruiting class that was ranked #1 in our Final Ranking of the Top Recruiting Classes for the Class of 2011 and included the likes of 6'3 Nurideen Lindsey from Redlands (JC) OK, 6'7 Maurice Harkless from South Kent (Prep) CT, 6'3 DeAngelo Harrison from Missouri City (Ft. Bend Dulles) TX, 6'6 Amir Garrett from Henderson (Findley Prep) NV, 6'8 Jakarr Sampson from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'9 God's Gift Achiuwa from Erie (JC) NY, 6'9 Norvel Pelle from Los Angeles (Price) CA, 6'5 Dominique Pointer from Winston-Salem (Quality Education Academy) NC, and 6'1 Phil Greene from Bradenton (IMG Academy) FL.  Bookert is the point guard that got everybody excited when he led Branch West Elite to that stunning upset against the Oakland Soldiers a month ago in the Las Vegas Fab 48 Tournament.  And Bookert is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton, who currently does not have pure point guard in the program.  We're talking about a facilitator who knows how to control the game, make those around him better, and does a great job of running the show.  Ironically, the first school to offer Bookert after he blew up in Las Vegas was Florida State and like Bookert so much that he is ranked #7 on our List of the Top 5th Year Players, which makes him the equivalent of a top 50-100 range senior nationally.  Bookert also promises to be an excellent complement to 6'5 Aaron Thomas from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, who originally signed with Florida State a year ago when he was a high school senior at Cincinnati (Aiken) OH and now is being stashed away at a prep school.  We also are impressed with the way the new coaching staff a Georgia Tech is locking up some of the better players in their backyard.  If you will recall, the last time we talked about recruiting a week-and-a-half ago we mentioned that the Yellow Jackets had landed 6'3 Chris Bolden from Suwanee (North Gwinnett) GA.  And coming right on the heels of that verbal commitment was the decision by 6'6 Marcus Hunt from North Clayton (H.S.) GA to also stay home. "Hunt is like a jack-of-all-trades, "says our Georgia Editor Horace Neysmith.  "He's a strong physical athlete who gets to the hole, knocks down the outside shot, rebounds well for his size, and is good defensively."  We also think Holy Cross may have stolen one in 6'2 Cullen Hamilton from Dumfries (Potomac School) VA.  He's can flat out shoot the basketball, has excellent footwork, and is a very good defensive player.  And this is important, because Hamilton promises to be a perfect complement in the backcourt to 5'7 Frosh Justin Burrell, who also attended Dumfries (Potomac School) VA prior to going the prep school route a year ago to Waynesboro (Fitchburg Military Academy) VA.  It also looks like second-year Holy Cross head coach Milan Brown went back to his old stamping grounds in late June when he got a verbal commitment from 6'7 Chris Morgan from Gloucester (H.S.) VA.  Morgan is an athletic four-man who can run, jump, and block shots, has some skills, and is a straight "A" student.  There also is the verbal commitment that 6'5 Jared Drew from Indianapolis (Cathedral) IN made last night to Saint Louis University.  Drew is long and athletic, plays excellent defense, is a tough hardnosed competitor, and is a good 3-point shooter.  However, it's Drew's upside and potential that had schools like Detroit, IUPUI, and Missouri State battling the Billikens for his services.  We also have to give the verbal commitment that 6'0 David Travers from Carlsbad (La Costa Canyon) CA made a week ago to Georgia State special mention for several reasons.  First, we've been watching this kid since his junior high school days at the adidas Junior Phenom Camp and he's one of those guys who would dive through a brick wall, if it would help his team win.  Second, he's a pretty good player, thanks to his good ball handling and passing skills, understanding of how to run a team, and ability to both get to the basket and beat you with his outside shooting.  Third, he's a great kid, excellent student, and the ultimate overachiever on the basketball court.  Other recent verbal commitments that we've run across include 6'2 L.J. Westbrook from Salem (North Salem) OR to Oregon State, 6'8 Josh Smith from Charlotte (Olympic) NC to Clemson,  6'3 Patrick Ingram from Indianapolis (North Central) IN to the University of Iowa, 6'4 Wally Ellenson from Rice Lake (H.S.) MN to the University of Minnesota, 6'7 Terry Allen from Manvel (H.S.) TX to the University of Richmond, 6'8 T.J. Bell from Charleston (H.S.) IL to Indiana State, 6'7 Jameel Warney from Roselle (Catholic) NJ to Stony Brook, 6'2 Stan Wier from Buffalo (East Aurora) NY to the University of Buffalo, and 6'7 Tommy Carpenter from Northfield (Northfield-Mt. Hermon) MA to Dartmouth. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

In recent years the Basketball Hall of Fame's Spalding Hoophall Classic at Blake Arena in Springfield, MA has evolved into what is arguably the premier high school basketball event of the entire year.  They have a first class venue, the organization is second to none, the level of talent and quality of teams are off the hook, and Greg Procino, who is the manager of events and awards for the Hall of Fame and the driving force behind this event, is one of the class acts in the business.  This year's event is scheduled for January 12th-16th and the first two days will offer the local teams and players a chance to show their wears.  Things will tip-off with Springfield (Commerce) MA versus Springfield (Science & Technology) MA at 4:00 PM, followed by Springfield (Cathedral) IN versus Lawrence (Central Catholic) MA at 5:30 PM, Springfield (Central) MA versus Springfield (Putnam) MA at 7:00 PM, and Orange (Ralph C. Maher Regional) MA versus Westhampton (Hampshire Regional) NY at 8:30 PM on Thursday, January 12th.  Then, there will be three Girls games sandwiched in between the two boys games, which will include Springfield (Sabis International Charter) MA versus Springfield (New Leadership Charter) MA at 4:30 PM and East Longmeadow (H.S.) MA versus Longmeadow (H.S.) MA at 9:00 PM, on Friday, January 13th.  And, for our purposes, things should really get interesting on Saturday, January 14th, as it will be Springfield (Central) IL versus Windsor (H.S.) CT at Noon, Washington (Gonzaga) DC versus Reserve (Riverside Academy) LA at 2:00 PM, Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA versus Plano (Prestonwood Christian) TX at 4:00 PM, Elizabeth (St. Patrick) NJ versus La Verne (Lutheran) CA at 6:00 PM, and West Hartford (Northwest Catholic) CT versus Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD at 8:00 PM.  The schedule for Sunday, January 15th, features a number of the top prep school teams in the nation, as it includes Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY versus Baltimore (Mt. St. Joseph) MD at 10:00 AM, Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT versus New Hampton (Prep) NH at Noon, Southborough (St. Mark's) MA versus Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA at 2:00 PM, Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA versus Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH at 4:00 PM, Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA versus Tilton (School) NH at 6:00 PM, and a Skills Challenge at 8:00 PM.  And, as usual, we expect, the first four games of the day on Monday, January 16th, to be televised live on ESPNU, as it will be Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ versus Lithonia (Miller Grove) GA at 11:00 AM, Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD versus Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV at 1:00 PM, Chicago (Simeon) IL versus Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV at 3:00 PM, Middle Village (Christ the King) NY versus San Ana (Mater Dei) CA at 5:00 PM, and Grandy (H.S.) MA versus Pittsfield (St. Joseph's) MA at 7:00 PM.  And, to provide even further evidence of just how good this event will be, the long list of outstanding players who are expected to be in attendance includes 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'10 Mitch McGary from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 6'9 Tony Parker from Lithonia (Miller Grove) GA, 6'8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, 6'9 Brandon Jefferson from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'8 Anthony Bennett from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'6 Ricardo Ledo from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, 6'11 Andre Drummond from Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA, 6'6 Ricardo Gathers from LaPlace (Riverside) LA, 6'10 Steven Adams from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, 6'11 Kaleb Tarczewski from Southborough (St. Mark's) MA, 6'8 T.J. Warren from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'0 Dominic Artis from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'7 Georges Niang from Tilden (School) NH, 6'7 Jerami Grant from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, 6'8 Winston Shepard from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'5 Jordan Adams from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 5'11 Tyler Lewis from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'4 D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'8 Rosco Allen from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA, 6'5 Omar Calhoun from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY, 6'3 James Robinson from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, 6'1 Myles Davis from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, 6'3 Kris Dunn from Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA, 6'8 Steve Taylor from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'8 Ben Carter from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'5 Katin Reinhardt from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA, 6'7 Xavier Johnson from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA, 6'5 Damien Wilson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'6 Jordan Tebbutt from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'3 Nik Staukas from Southborough (St. Mark's) MA, 6'0 Jevon Thomas from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 6'5 Aaron Thomas from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'2 Sam Cassell from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, 6'1 Dominique Bull from Tilden (School) NH, 6'7 Brandon Morris from Lithonia (Miller Grove) GA, 6'11 A.J. Hammons from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'9 Christopher Obekpa from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 6'8 Demetris Morant from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'2 Semaj Christon from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'9 Jalen Reynolds from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'9 Zach Auguste from New Hampton (Prep) NH, 6'7 Jerome Frink from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 6'2 Olivier Hanlon from New Hampton (Prep) NH, 6'6 Arthur Edwards from Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT, 6'9 Jr Julius Randle from Plano (Prestonwood Christian) TX, 6'7 Jr Jabari Parker from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'10 Jr Nerlens Noel from Tilden (School) NH, 6'1 Jr Nate Britt from Washington (Gonzaga) DC, 6'0 Jr Jaylen Brantley from Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA, 6'8 Jr Kuran Iverson from West Hartford (Northwest Catholic) CT, 6'3 Jr Nigel Williams-Goss from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'4 Jr Kris Jenkins from Washington (Gonzaga) DC, 6'8 Jr Austin Colbert from Elizabeth (St. Patrick) NJ, 6'9 Jr Christian Wood from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'8 Jr BeeJay Anya from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, 6'3 Jr Eric Cooper from La Verne (Lutheran) CA, 6'2 Jr Kendrick Dunn from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'7 Jr Goodluck Okonoboh from Tilden (School) MA, 6'2 Jr Jaylon Tate from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'7 Jr Deonte Burton from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'5 Jr R.J Curington from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'5 Jr Rashad Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'6 Jr Jairus Lyles from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, 6'6 Jr Jordan Fuchs from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY, 6'4 Soph Stanley Johnson from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA, 6'3 Soph Wayne Seldon from Tilden (School) MA, and 6'2 Soph Phil Booth from Baltimore (Mt. St. Joseph) MD.  And to really illustrate the top heaviness of this event, our top six-ranked 5th Year Players (McGary, Ledo, Drummond, Tarczewski, Davis, and Niang), six of our top seven-ranked seniors (Muhammad, Anderson, Parker, Jefferson, Ashley, and Bennett), and our top three-ranked juniors (Randle, Parker, adn Noel) will all be on hand at this year's Hoophall Classic. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pat Stevens is one of the bright up-and-coming guys in the business and one of the things that he does best is update us this time of year with a long list of where everybody is going to be in prep school ranks during the coming season.  And especially noteworthy this time around is the fact that 6'11 Andre Drummond from Middletown, CT and Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT will be at Wilbraham (Wilbraham & Monson) MA, along with 6'3 Kris Dunn from New London (H.S.) CT, who was Drummond's teammate this past summer on the Connecticut Basketball Club, and 6'0 Jr Jaylen Brantley from Springfield, MA, who was both the point guard and one of the unsung heroes on that loaded B.A.B.C. team that was totally dominant in the NIKE Peach Jam in North Augusta, SC.  We also are intrigued by the fact that the already well traveled 6'5 Jr Chris Thomas from Denver, CO via Lanham (Princeton Day Academy) MA and Phoenix (Westwind) AZ is expected to surface this fall at South Kent (Prep) CT and 6'6 Ricardo Ledo, who has already made stops at Warwick (Bishop Hendricken) RI, Barrington (St. Andrews) RI, and South Kent (Prep) CT, plans to return to Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, where he will join 6'1 Myles Davis from Jersey City (St Peter's) NJ, 6'2 Sam Cassell from Baltimore (St. Frances) MD, and Pittsburgh-bound 6'10 Steven Adams from New Zealand.  It also looks like Jason Smith will once again have a loaded team at Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH with the likes of 6'10 Mitch McGary from Chesterton, IN, 6'8 T.J. Warren from Raleigh (Word of God) NC, Florida State-bound 6'5 Aaron Thomas from Cincinnati (Aiken) OH, Xavier-bound 6'2 Semaj Christon from Cincinnati (Winton Woods) OH, Xavier-bound 6'9 Jalen Reynolds from Livonia (Stevenson) MI, and 6'7 Jr Deonte Burton from Milwaukee (Vincent) WI.  And what about Tilton (School) NH, which features the best shot blocker to come down the pike in a long time in 6'10 Jr Nerlens Noel from Everett, MA and also has a long list of other good players like Iowa State-bound 6'7 Georges Niang from Methuen, MA, 6'1 Dominique Bull from Worcester, MA, 6'7 Jr Goodluck Okonoboh from Boston, MA, and 6'3 Soph Wayne Seldon from West Roxbury, MA?   Stevens also reminds us that 6'11 Kaleb Tarczewski and Michigan-bound 6'3 Nik Staukas will both be back at Southborough (St. Mark's) MA and makes note of the fact that 6'10 Jordan Dickerson from Brooklyn (Lincoln) NY and 6'8 Kamari Murphy from Brooklyn (Lincoln) NY are both taking their act South to Bradenton (IMG Academy) FLLa Porte (La Lumiere) IN will feature Indiana-bound 6'8 Hanner Perea from Columbia, 7'2 Obj Aget from The Sudan, Purdue-bound 6'5 Raphael Davis from Ft. Wayne (South Side) IN, Southern Illinois-bound 6'0 Bobo Drummond from Peoria, IL, and 6'0 Soph Johnnie Vassier from Chicago, IL via Groton (Lawrence Academy) MA; New Hampton (Prep) NH will feature 6'9 Zach Auguste from Marlborough, MA, 6'2 Olivier Hanlon from Gatineau, Quebec, 6'7 Soph Noah Vonleh from Haverhill, MA, and 6'3 Soph Jared Terrell from Weymouth, MA; Saxtons River (Vermont Academy) VT will feature Massachusetts-bound 6'0 Trey Davis from Dallas (Wilson) TX, 6'5 Jamel Artis from Baltimore, MD and Newark (St. Benedict's) NJ, 6'9 Jr Dominic Woodson from Round Rock (Stony Point) TX, and 6'3 Jr DaQuan McNeil from Baltimore (Dunbar) MD and Newark (St. Benedict's) NJ; Phoenix (Westwind Prep) AZ will feature 6'9 Richard Peters from Toronto, ON, 6'5 Demarquise Johnson from Detroit, MI, and 6'1 Kareem Canty from Brooklyn (Bishop Loughlin) NY and North Bridgton (Bridgton Academy) ME; Lakeville (Hotchkiss School) CT will feature 6'3 Clyde Smith from Houston, TX, Virginia-bound 6'11 Mike Tobey from Union, NJ, and 6'1 Soph Makai Mason from Northfield, MA, Northfield (Northfield-Mt. Hermon) MA will feature Harvard-bound 6'8 Evan Cummins from Westborough, MA, 6'9 Ethan O'Day from Mansfield, CT, and Dartmouth-bound 6'7 Tommy Carpenter from Greensboro, NC; Delafield (St. John's Northwest Military Academy) WI will feature Arkansas-bound 6'8 Aaron Ross from Little Rock (Parkview) AR and Miami-OH-bound 6'2 Will Sullivan from York, IL; Burlington (Life Christian) NJ will feature Mississippi State-bound 6'1 Josh Gray from Lake Charles, LA and 5'9 P.J. Hardwick from Miami, FL; San Diego (La Jolla) CA will feature 6'9 Kyprianos Maragkos from Greece and 6'6 Darrell Bowie from Wauwatosa, WI; Newark (Alif Muhammad NIA Prep) NJ will feature 6'4 Darrick Wood from Alexandria (T.C. Williams) VA and 6'8 Jr Jordan Washington from Queens (Pathways) NY; Charlottesville (The Miller School) VA will feature 6'6 Andrew White from Chester, VA and Georgetown-bound 6'8 Brandon Bolden from Sumter, SC; Bayonne (Robinson School) NJ will feature 6'7 Jarrod Davis from Lakewood, NJ and Coastal Carolina-bound 6'9 Ramon Jefferson from Newark (Central) NJ; Salisbury (School) CT will feature 6'8 Jr Samuel Dingba from Bronx, NY and 6'8 Soph Chris McCullough from Bronx, NY; Somerset (Central Jersey Each One Teach One) NJ will feature 6'4 Karon Waller from Collingswood, NJ and Akron-bound 5'11 Carmelo Betancourt from Puerto Rico and Rockville (Montrose Christian) MD; Oxford (Body of Christ) NC will feature North Carolina-bound 6'8 Jr Isaiah Hicks from Raleigh, NC; Worcester (Academy) MA will feature 6'0 Jr Rene Castro from Chestnut Hill (Beaver Country Day) MA; Chatham (Hargrave Military) VA will feature 6'6 Ryan Taylor from Indianapolis (Lawrence North) IN and Louisville (Western) KY; Durham (Mt. Zion Christian) NC will feature 6'2 Darius Perkins from Hollywood (Chaminade) FL; Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME will feature Xavier-bound 6'10 James Farr from Evansville (Township) IL; Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT will feature 6'6 Arthur Edwards from Ft. Washington (National Christian) MD; North Bridgton (Bridgton Academy) ME will feature 6'4 Brandon Neel from Cincinnati (La Salle) OH; Winchendon (School) IL will feature Penn State-bound Akosa Maduegbunam from Charlestown (H.S.) MA; Philadelphia (Rise Academy) PA will feature 6'9 Taylor Bessick from Frankford, PA; Woodstock (Massanutten Military) VA will feature 6'6 Terry Brutus from Spring Valley, NY; Barrington (St. Andrews) RI will feature 6'7 Cedric Kuakamensah from Worcester, MA; Groton (Lawrence Academy) MA will feature 5'11 Jr Jalen Myrie from Gaithersburg, MD; Ashburnham (Cushing Academy) MA will feature 6'6 Andrew Chrabascz from Portsmouth, RI, Suffield (Academy) CT will feature 6'0 Jamel Torrence from Bronx, NY; Marion (Tabor Academy) MA will feature 6'7 Frosh Jared Reuter from Rochester, MA; and Meriden (Kimball Union) NH will feature 6'6 Soph Abdul Malik Abu from Marblehead, MA.  Not only does it look like the prep school ranks will be loaded this year, but you can keep up with all of the developments, as Stevens plans to provide continuous updates throughout the fall and winter, which can be found at both PatStevensBasketball.com and PrepSchoolHoops.com

Wednesday August 17, 2011

The next event on our schedule is Boost Mobile Elite 24 Game, which will be held for the second consecutive year in Venice Beach, CA on Saturday, August 27th.  And the list of players expected to be in attendance is nothing short of spectacular, as the Raymond Lewis Squad will feature 6'9 Brandon Ashley from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 5'7 Jr Aquille Carr from Baltimore (Patterson) MD, 6'8 Perry Ellis from Wichita (Heights) KS, 6'5 Savon Goodman from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA, 6'8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, 6'10 Mitch McGary from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'1 Marcus Paige from Marion (Linn-Mar) IA, 6'9 Tony Parker from Lithonia (Miller Grove) GA, 6'4 Rodney Purvis from Raleigh (Upper Room Christian Academy) NC, 6'9 Cameron Ridley from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX, and 6'2 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA and the Marques Johnson Squad will feature 6'5 Justin Anderson from Rockville (Montrose Christian) MD, 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 6'8 Anthony Bennett from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, 6'1 Jr Nate Britt from Washington (Gonzaga) DC, 6'8 Robert Carter from Snellville (Shiloh) GA, 6'9 DeJuan Coleman from Dewitt (Jamesville-Dewitt) NY, 6'5 Jr Aaron Harrison from Richmond (Ft. Bend Travis) TX, 6'5 Jr Andrew Harrison from Richmond (Ft. Bend Travis) TX, 6'9 Grant Jarrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA, 610 Jr Nerlens Noel from Tilton (School) NH, 6'9 Jr Julius Randle from Plano (Prestonwood Christian) TX, and 6'3 Rasheed Sulaimon from Houston (Strake Jesuit) TX.  And, to put this into even better perspective, this year's game will feature our #1-ranked 5th Year Player (McGary), four of our top five-ranked seniors (Muhammad, Anderson, Parker, and Jefferson), seven more players that fall into the the 6-15 range of this year's seniors class (Ashley, Bennett, Coleman, Purvis, Sulaimon, Goodman, and Paige), and five of our top 10-ranked juniors (Randle, Noel, Aaron Harrison, Britt, and Andrew Harrison).  There also will be a Training/Scrimmage/Media Day from 1:30-5:30 PM on Thursday, August 25th, and a Slam Dunk Contest at 6:00 PM ET on Friday, August 26th, and both the dunk contest and the game itself, which will tip-off the next day at 7:00 PM, will be televised live on ESPNU.  This actually is the 6th Annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 Game dating back to 2006 when the game was launched by Rise Magazine and played for four consecutive years in the famed Rucker Park in New York City.  And the best player in the first two games was Brandon Jennings, who happens to be one of this year's game celebrity coaches, along with Kevin Love, Kemba Walker, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, and Jason Williams.  The head coach of the Raymond Lewis Squad will be Jason Hart, who is the new head coach at Woodland Hills (Taft) CA, and the head coach of the Marques Johnson Squad will be Grant Rice, who is the head coach at Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV.  Boost Mobile once again is the title sponsor of the game.  Under Armour is the title sponsor of the dunk contest and the official apparel sponsor.  Wilson is the official ball sponsor and Gatorade is the official hydration sponsor.  We also think it is interesting to point out that this year's game will feature one 5th Year Player, 17 seniors, and six juniors and seven of the 24 players in the game are already off the board, as 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA and 6'2 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA are both already bound for the University of Arizona, 6'3 Rasheed Sulaimon from Houston (Strake Jesuit) TX is bound for Duke, 6'5 Savon Goodman from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA is bound for Villanova, 6'1 Marcus Paige from Marion (Linn-Mar) IA is bound for North Carolina, 6'9 Cameron Ridley from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX is bound for the University of Texas, and 6'5 Justin Anderson from Rockville (Montrose Christian) MD is bound for the University of Virginia.  Another interesting tidbit involves 6'9 DeJuan Coleman from Dewitt (Jamesville-Dewitt) NY, who becomes the fourth player to appear in three different Boost Mobile Elite 24 games.  The other three were Lance Stephenson, Dexter Strickland, and LaQuinton Ross.  We also find it interesting that 25 Boost Mobile Elite 24 alumni have been gone on to be first-round picks in the NBA Draft and the past two #1-picks in the NBA Draft (John Wall in 2010 and Kyrie Irving in 2011) both played in the game.   

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Travis Haddock, who is the President and CEO of Haddock Sports, a Memphis-based Sports Promotional Company, and Steve Woodward, who used to be the athletic director at Marshall County High School in Benton, KY and was the driving force behind the Marshall County Hoopfest, have teamed up and are in the process of putting together what promise to be two of the premier high school basketball events in the entire country.  The first event is Penny Hardaway's Hoopfest, which will held at White Station High School in Memphis, TN on January 20th-21st in 2012.  The second event, which, as of yet, does not have an official name, will tip-off in Las Vegas, NV on January 25th-26th of 2013.  And, with all of their contacts and go-getter style and mentality, you can bet that Haddock and Woodward will have teams like Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, Chicago (Simeon) IL, Montverde (Academy) FL, and Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA lined up right off the bat to play in this Las Vegas-based event.  As for this winter's Penny Hardaway's Hoopfest, things will actually begin on Friday morning when the players, coaches, media, and sponsors are all invited to attend a prayer breakfast and take a tour of the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, which is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with pediatric cancer.  And right after that everybody's education will continue with a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum, which also is an important Mid-South historical attraction and a must stop for all of the out-of-town people attending this event.   The event itself will tip-off with a pair of girls games at 3:00 PM and 4:30 PM, followed by Memphis (White Station) TN versus Montverde (Academy) FL at 6:00 PM, Memphis (Craigmont) TN versus Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA at 7:30 PM, and Nashville (Ensworth) TN versus Centereach (Our Savior New American) TN on 9:00 PM.  The schedule on Saturday, January 21st will also begin with a girls game at 9:30 AM, followed by Memphis (Christian Brothers) TN versus Newbern (Dyer County) TN at 11:00 AM, Eads (Briarcrest Christian) TN versus Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY at 12:30 PM, Memphis (White Station) TN versus Birmingham (Central Park Christian) AL at 2:00 PM, Memphis (Southwind) TN versus Nashville (Ensworth) TN at 3:30 PM, Memphis (Ridgeway) TN versus Montverde (Academy) FL at 5:00 PM, Memphis (Melrose) TN versus Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA at 6:30 PM, and Chicago (Simeon) IL versus a team yet to be determined at 8:00 PM.  The long list of outstanding players who will be participating at this inaugural Penny Hardaway's Hoopfest, includes 6'9 Jarnell Stokes from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'5 Jordan Adams from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 5'11 Tyler Lewis from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'8 Steve Taylor from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'4 Michael Frazier from Montverde (Academy) FL, 6'5 Damien Wilson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'0 Jevon Thomas from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 6'6 Jordon Tebbutt from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'11 A.J. Hammons from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'9 Christopher Obekpa from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 5'9 Cameron Golden from Memphis (Ridgeway) TN, 6'6 Kadario Fleming from Memphis (Ridgeway) TN, 6'1 Robert Houston from Memphis (Craigmont) TN, 5'11 Fred Yarbrough from Newbern (Dyer County) TN, 6'8 Jr Jabari Parker from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'1 Jr Kasey Hill from Montverde (Academy) FL, 6'8 Jr Jonathan Williams from Memphis (Southwind) TN, 6'1 Jr Kendrick Nunn from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'9 Jr Austin Nichols from Eads (Briarcrest Christian) TN, 6'2 Jr Jaylon Tate from Chicago (Simeon) IL, 6'7 Jr Chris Davenport from Montverde (Academy) FL, 6'2 Jr Ikenna Iroegbu from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 6'4 Jr R.J Curington from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, 5'9 Jr Corn Elder from Nashville (Ensworth) TN, 6'4 Jr Robert Hubbus from Newbern (Dyer County) TN, 6'10 Soph Dakari Johnson from Montverde (Academy) FL, and 6'7 Soph LeRon Black from Memphis (White Station) TN.  Woodward also makes note of the fact that proceeds from the Penny Hardaway's Hoopfest will go to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011, Sunday, August 14, 2011, & Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Georgia Editor Horace Neysmith was at the Birmingham EliteHoops Showcase, which was held over the weekend in Birmingham, AL, and he tells us that the big story was 6'6 Jr Detrick Mostella from Decatur (Austin) AL, who emerged as one of the top sleeper prospects nationally in the Class of 2013.  "Mostella was more than just the most athletic player at the camp, as he consistently hit shots from deep and mid-range, created scoring opportunities off the bounce, and really has improved defensively," says Neysmith.  "Miami-FL offered and he also is garnering interest from Auburn, Alabama, UAB, and Murray State."  Other prospects in the camp who already are getting high major attention are 6'7 Jr D'Ontaye Curtis from Hoover (H.S.) AL, 6'6 Jr Seab Webster from Gurley (Madison County) AL, 6'0 Jr Trevon Landry from Huntsville (Bob Jones) AL, and 5'9 Jr J.J. Frazier from Hinesville (Faith Baptist Christian) GA. "Curtis is a hybrid forward wit a good stroke," says Neysmith.  "He also can beat you off the dribble or from the block, is blessed with good hands and passing ability, and will be a high major prospect.  Schools like UAB, Bucknell, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and Virginia already are showing a high level of interest.  Webster has a high basketball IQ and makes good use of shot fakes to create driving angles.  He's also a good rebounder, passes well from the high post or block, and is not bothered by contact.  Mercer has already offered and schools like Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and Virginia are interested.  Landry is a powerfully built floor general with an explosive first step that allows him to get into the lane for tough finishes or the assist.  He's also very good defensively and is being recruited by schools like Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Alabama, and Oregon.  Frazier was the fastest player from end-to-end with the ball.  He can hurt you in multiple ways in transition, pull-up three, stop-and-pop, or finish to the basket.  He's also a good passer and has interest from schools like Georgia, Clemson, Miami-FL, South Carolina, Georgia State."  Neysmith also thought 6'3 Jr Aaron Scott from Hinesville (Liberty County) GA, 6'3 Cameron Neysmith from Woodstock (Massanutten Military) VA, 6'0 Jaquez Motley from Hinesville (Faith Baptist Christian) GA, 6'0 Matthias Sigurdarson from Mountain Brook (H.S.) AL, 6'0 Mario Stramaglia from Mountain Brook) AL played well enough to deserve special mention.  "Scott is an athletic guard that shot it well all weekend," says Neysmith.  " He scores attacking the basket and on the offensive glass and he too has a chance to be a high major prospect.  Jacksonville has offered and the College of Charleston, Miami-FL, and Tulane are also showing interest.  Neysmith is a lefty that was tough to stop this weekend.  He's a creative ball-handler with very good court vision and a feel for the game.  He also has quick hands defensively and attacks the basket for contrast finishes or the assist.  He's receiving interest from schools like Manhattan, Colorado State, North Florida, and Texas-Arlington.  Motley is a quick lead guard with a solid pull-up game.  He attacks the basket well for floater finishes and is a tough on the ball defender.  He already has an offer from Western Kentucky and schools like Wofford and the College of Charleston are showing interest.  Sigurdarson is a  recent move-in from Iceland who can run a team.  He also handles ball well and knows how to get into the lane to find the open man.  William & Mary, Mercer, East Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Coastal Carolina, and Samford all have interest.  Stramaglia is one of the top shooters in the state and showed that tag all weekend.  He also has really improved his ball handling and that gives him an added dimension of scoring off the dribble.  He also is a strong defender, rebounds his position, and is a steal for East Tennessee State."  One to write down for the future is 6'6 Frosh Danjell Purefoy from Centerville (Bibb County) AL.  "This young wing has elite level potential," says Neysmith.  "He has good vision, ball handling, and length, which allows him to play multiple positions."  We also don't want to forget about 5''10 Jr Fred Knight from Atmore (Scambia) AL, who Neysmith says was the second most athletic player at the camp.  He was fearless attacking the basket, a high energy defender, and very good in transition.  Other players who deserve a mention are 6'0 Fletcher Forte from Pensacola (H.S.) FL, 6'1 Jr Sean Brennan from Roswell (H.S.) GA, 6'4 Jr Malik Broughton from Kathleen (Veterans) GA, 6'6 Soph Greg King from Lithonia (Marin Luther King) GA, 6'6 Soph Brandon Murphy from Montgomery (Carver) AL, 6'0 Jibril Hayes from Plantersville (Dallas County) AL, 6'6 Jr Shamar Johnson from Pensacola (Pine Forest) FL, 6'5 Jr Marcelle Jackson from Birmingham (Minor) AL, 6'2 Soph Paul Jackson from Lithonia (Martin Luther King) GA, and 6'5 Jeremy Postell from Atlanta (Westlake) GA.  "Forte is a long range lefty shooter," says Neysmith.  "He knows how to use screens to get his shot and has a good feel for the game.  The low-to-mid's need to take a look.  Brennan is a tough heady point who makes good use of the change of pace dribble.  He also can score the ball when needed by getting to the basket or from deep.  He has an unofficial visit scheduled this fall to Bucknell.  Broughton is a tough defender and shot blocker.  His long arms allow him to defend bigger players and he runs the floor well and is solid from 15-feet.  King is an athletic defensive forward who is very good on the glass on both ends of floor.  He also is developing an offensive game, loves to attack the rim off the catch, and has interest from George Mason and College of Charleston.  Murphy is a big bodied power player with good hands, is tough to handle on the block, and is a good finisher.  Hayes has a good body and uses his creative handle to get into the lane for finishes or to find open teammate.  Johnson is another wide-bodied undersized big with good hands and feet and he knows how to get position on the block.  Jackson is an athletic defender who challenged shots above the rim all weekend.  His offensive game is improving, he's got lots of upside, and Tennessee Tech. is already in the hunt.  The other Jackson is a slippery point who is wired to score.  He also has solid frame, good vision and toughness, and is going to be a good prospect.  Powell is a lefty with good range on his jumper.  His size and length allows him to play either wing position."

Friday, August 12 2011

Earlier today I had the privilege of being able to attend the iHoops First Team Summer Conference at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine Hotel in San Diego, CA and I received a first hand look at the official youth basketball initiative of the NCAA and the NBA.  The two driving forces behind the iHoops First Team program are Greg Turner, who is the Associate Director of Programs, and Duke Pryor, who is the Assistant Director of Programs, and this "year round education and mentoring program designed to promote education and the proper role of athletics in the educational process" is exactly what the doctored ordered to help these student-athletes make an informed college decision and be successful both on and off the court the rest of their lives.  "It helps prospective basketball student-athletes and their parents navigate the collegiate recruiting process and understand initial eligibility requirements.  Participants are identified by their athletic ability but not selected solely on that basis.  They enter the program as rising ninth graders and remain in the program throughout high school."  First Team alumni includes Cole Aldrich, Darryl Bryant, D.J. Byrd, Michael Conley, Daequan Cook, Randy Culpepper, Austin Freeman, Sterling Gibbs, Eric Gordon, P.J. Hill, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall, O.J. Mayo, Leslie McDonald, Sean Mosley, Greg Oden, Patrick Patterson, Travis Releford, Jonathan Scheyer, Jerry Smith, Josh Smith, Dexter Strickland, Billy Walker, and Chris Wright.  Among the sessions that were offered yesterday were "What's in a Ranking? Understanding the Digital World of Scouting," "Making the Decision & Making the Transition," "Recruiting & IE (Initial Eligibility)," "I Got This/Sophomore Jinx," "2 Down 2 To Go," "Talk to Me (Communications/Media Training)," "Five Key Players of a Winning Game Plan," and "Haven't you Heard?  I'm the Man!"  We also enjoyed getting to see and/or talk with a number of the players who were in attendance, like 6'3 Rasheed Sulaimon from Houston (Strake Jesuit) TX, 6'1 Marcus Paige from Marion (Linn-Mar) IA, 6'3 James Robinson from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) AZ, 6'1 Mike Gessell from South Sioux City (H.S.) NE, 6'2 Dallas Anglin from West Orange (Seton Hall Prep) NJ, 6'9 Jr Jonathan Williams from Memphis (Southwind) TN, 6'1 Jr Nate Britt from Washington (Gonzaga) DC, 6'9 Jr Austin Colbert from Elizabeth (St. Patrick) NJ, 6'7 Jr Alex Foster from Chicago (De La Salle) IL, 6'5 Jr Colin Hartman from Indianapolis (Cathedral) IN, 6'10 Soph Dakari Johnson from Montverde (Academy) FL, 5'9 Soph Parker Cartwright from Los Angeles (Loyola) CA, 6'6 Soph Paul White from Chicago (Whitney Young) IL, 6'0 Soph Tyus Jones from Apple Valley (H.S.) MN, 6'0 Soph Larry Austin from Springfield (Lanphier) IL, 6'5 Soph Jackson Davis from Lexington (Lafayette) KY, 6'0 Frosh Allonzo Trier from Oklahoma City, OK, 6'2 Frosh Isaiah Briscoe from Union, NJ, 6'10 Frosh Stephen Zimmerman from Las Vegas, NV, and 6'7 Frosh Daniel Giddens from Marietta, GA.  Another one of the highlights was getting a chance to see Lawrence Funderburke, who was happy to remind us that we had him ranked among the top 10 high school players in the nation, instead of the top five, back when he was a senior at Columbus (Wehrle) OH in 1989.  Funderburke, who is now a financial planner and Founder & President of The Lawrence Funderburke Youth Organization, Inc, also did a great job of providing insight into the "Five Reasons Why Pro Athletes Go Broke" and the "Money Ball - Life & Financial Planning Playbook" when he talked about the "Five Key Players of a Winning Game Plan."  We also thought Anthony Calhoun, who is the Sports Director at WISH-TV Channel in Indianapolis, IN, did a great job of providing insight and perspective into dealing with the media in the session "Talk to Me (Communications/Media Training).  I also was honored to join ESPN.com's Paul Biancardi and Derek Whittenburg, who has done it all as a player, coach, and television analyst, in the session "What's in a Ranking? Understanding the Digital World of Scouting."  Last, but not least, Turner and Pryor did a great job on their "Late Day with Greg Turner" television program, which included San Diego Chargers Director of Player Development Arthur Hightower, Root Sports Color Analyst Francis Williams, and Kyrie Irving, who was the #1-ranked pick in the NBA Draft a month-and-a-half ago.  We also think it is interesting to point out that the iHoops Board Members include NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA Executive Vice President of Social Responsibility and Player Programs Kathy Behrens, NBA Executive VP of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson, NCAA, Vice President of Division I Women's Basketball Sue Donohoe, NCAA Senior VP of Basketball and Business Strategies Greg Shaheen, and Duke University Men's Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski.  The iHoops Staff includes Chief Executive Officer Len Elmore, Director of Digital Media Matt Bortz, Vice President of Sales Steve Hagen, Director of Finance & Administration Ronda Hite, Manager of Events and Special Projects Sheli Kuhl, Associate Director of Marketing Juli Morris, Assistant Director of Programs Duke Pryor, Sales Activation Manager Whitney Rubush, and Associate Director of Programs Greg Turner.  The iHoops Advisory Committee includes Women's Basketball Coaches Association, Executive Director Beth Bass, WNBA Vice President of Basketball Operations & Player Relations Renee' Brown, Amateur Athletic Union, President Bobby Dodd, National Basketball Coaches Association, Executive Director Michael Goldberg, Albany City Rocks, Director Jim Hart, National Federation of High School Associations, Executive Director Bob Kanaby, Special Assistant to the Commissioner/NBA Global Ambassador Bob Lanier, National Association of Basketball Coaches, Deputy Executive Director Reggie Minton, NCAA, Retired Head Men's Basketball Coach (South Carolina and Wake Forest) Dave Odom, NIKE, Manager/Women's College Basketball Jim Pizzotti, USA Basketball,  Executive Director Jim Tooley, YMCA of the USA, Corporate Relations Manager Layney McGinn, Boys & Girls Club of America, Vice President of Corporate & Partner Relationships Frank Sanchez, and Boo Williams Summer League, President Boo Williams.  Unfortunately the one person missing is Neil Dougherty, who had been working as the Director of Athlete and Coach Programs for Ihoops prior to dying of an apparent heart attack in early July.  Dougherty previously was the head coach at Texas Christian and an assistant coach at the University of Kansas during the Roy Williams era.  He also was a long time friend of the HOOP SCOOP and we always looked forward his keen wit, insight, and perspective.   Needless to say, Dougherty was one of the good guys and his loss is a tragedy. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Now that we've got our all-encompassing coverage of the Junior Phenom Camp out of the way and we're done putting the finishing touches on our coverage of all of the events that our Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania/South Jersey Editor Allen Rubin has covered during the last month, we can now turn our focus onto all of the verbal commitments that have occurred during the last week.  We start with the decision that 5'11 Javan Felix from New Orleans (St. Augustine) LA made a couple of days ago to attend the University of Texas.  And this is interesting for a number of reasons.  First, Felix not only is ranked #22 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, but he also was the only elite point guard in the Class of 2012 who was still available, as 5'11 Kevin Ferrell from Indianapolis (Park Tudor) IN is already gone to Indiana, 6'1 Marcus Paige from Marion (Linn-Mar) IL is already gone to North Carolina, 6'0 Dominic Artis from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV is already gone to UCLA, 6'3 Ryan Arcidiacono from Langhorne (Neshaminy) PA is already gone to Villanova, and 5'11 Tyler Lewis from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA is already gone to N.C. State.  Second, Felix is picking a school that is already well stocked with talented young players, like 6'3 Myck Kabongo from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV and 6'0 Sterling Gibbs from West Orange (Seton Hall Prep) NJ, at the point guard position.  It's our guess that Kabongo will be a one-and-done guy just like Avery Bradley and Cory Joseph were each of the last two years.  However, it will interesting to see whether Felix walks right in and takes over at point guard a year from now or whether Longhorns head coach Rick Barnes attempts to play both of these two guys a lot together in the backcourt.  Remember, Gibbs is a no frills kind of guy who was ranked #57 in our Final Ranking of the Top Players Nationally in the Class of 2011 and Felix is currently ranked #22 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP after putting up prolific numbers and absolutely shooting the lights out in the adidas Super 64 Tournament in Las Vegas, NV.  Third, Felix joins 6'9 Cameron Ridley from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX in a recruiting class that is now tied at #4, along with UCLA, on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 Our North Carolina Editor Rick Lewis tells us that 6'5 Torian Graham from Jacksonville (Arlington Country Day) FL has reneged on his verbal commitment to N.C. State and that 6'8 Jr Isaiah Hicks from Oxford (Body of Christ) NC has made an early verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina.  Currently we have Hicks ranked #85 nationally in the junior class, but Lewis thinks he's better than that after having seen this long athletic power forward play this spring and summer.  "We're talking about a high rising athlete who blocks shots, rebounds, and scores from 10-feet and in," says Lewis.  "He needs to get bigger and stronger physically, but he's only just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of upside and potential."  Thus, explains why schools like Wake Forest, N.C. State, Clemson, Xavier, Missouri, Memphis, Florida, and Tennessee were also showing serious interest and why many in our business think he's one of the elite power forward prospects in the junior class nationally.  We also think that the fact that Marquette has landed 6'8 Steve Taylor from Chicago (Simeon) IL is significant for a number reasons.  First, Taylor is more of a power forward than a wing forward right now, but we like the way he steps out and makes opponents pay on the perimeter with his 3-point shooting.  Second, Taylor is a very good player, as is evident by the fact that he is currently ranked #54 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP.  Third, Taylor is clearly the best player in the state's senior class and, as a result, should provide an important link into what previously has been a fertile recruiting ground for the Golden Eagles  Fourth, Taylor provides an excellent complement to 6'4 T.J. Taylor from Paris (JC) TX and 6'4 Jamal Ferguson from Norfolk (Maury) VA in a recruiting class that is ranked #12 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012,  We also have to assume that the Texas A&M coaching staff is smiling right now after getting a verbal commitment late last week from 6'2 J-Mychal Reese from Bryan (H.S.) TX and then getting an early verbal commitment over the weekend from 6'1 Jr Kendrick Nunn from Chicago (Simeon) IL.  Reese needs to improve his decision making in order to be a pure point guard and improve his outside shooting in order to be great at the 2-guard spot.  However, he's a big time talent, a tremendous athlete, and he did a great job sacrificing what he does best this summer in order to play the point guard spot and run the team.  Nunn is currently ranked #67 nationally in the junior class by the HOOP SCOOP, but his big time athleticism, terrific outside shooting, and the fact that he had an excellent spring and summer make him one of the hottest up-and-coming prospects nationally in the Class of 2013.  There also are the verbal commitments by 6'5 Katin Reinhardt from Santa Ana (Mater Dei) CA to UNLV, 6'7 Kale Abrahamson from West Des Moines (Valley) IA to Northwestern, 6'4 Kenny Gaines from Atlanta (Whitefield Academy) GA to the University of Georgia, and 6'3 Chris Bolden from Suwanee (North Gwinnett) GA to Georgia Tech.  That last one is especially significant, because the Yellow Jackets coaching staff were able to hold off schools like South Carolina, Virginia Tech USC, Boston College, Miami-FL, Ole Miss, and Harvard to keep one of the better players in their backyard at home.  Bolden has good athleticism, can score in a variety of ways, and he's one of those guys whose best days are still ahead of him.  Gaines picked the Bulldogs over Georgia Tech and Clemson and this strong physical athletic combo guard also is a defensive stopper and he plays above the rim.  Abrahamson is a long lean athletic white kid with excellent skills and the ability to flat out shoot the basketball, which makes him ideally suited for the Wildcats' system and explains why we have him ranked #106 nationally in the senior class.  Reinhardt checks in at #70 on that same list and he brings several important things to the table, like being able to put up prolific numbers and providing the new Runnin' Rebels coaching staff with that always important link into Southern California.  Also very important is the fact that Reinhardt is one of those guys with that competitive attitude, but he's not so good that he's going to scare off 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, who is the #1-ranked player nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP and is at the top of UNLV's wish list.  It also looks like LSU has stolen one of those under the radar screen guys out of their backyard in 6'3 Malik Morgan from River Rouge (John Curtis) LA, Creighton has landed a guy who can really score in 6'2 Isaiah Zierden from St. Louis Park (Benilde Saint Margaret) MN, and Loyola-Chicago hsa filled somel immediate needs with the addition of 6'3 Darrell Combs from Thornwood (South Holland) IL, 6'8 Nick Osborne from Muncie (Central) IN, and 6'7 Matt O'Leary from Terre Haute (North Vigo) IN.  It also is being reported that 6'6 Sanjay Lumpkin from St. Louis Park (Benilde-Saint Margaret) MN has picked Northwestern, 6'8 D'Andre Wright from Lawton (Eisenhower) OK has picked Tulsa, 6'9 Jr Bobby Portis from Little Rock (Hall) AR has made an early verbal commitment to Arkansas, and 5'10 Jr I.J. Ready from Little Rock (Parkview) AR has picked Nebraska over schools like Arkansas and Texas A&M. 

Wednesday, August 10 2011

Our Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania/South Jersey Editor Allen Rubin was at the Future All-American Camp over the weekend at Albright College in Reading, PA and he tells us that 6'1 Soph Jaquan Newton from Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA was named the Camp MVP, 6'3 Soph Isaiah Whitehead from Brooklyn (Lincoln) NY was named the camp's Most Outstanding Sophomore, 6'1 Frosh Isaiah Briscoe from Newark (St. Benedict's) NJ was named the camp's Most Outstanding Freshman, and 5'11 Soph Byron Hawkins from Olney (Good Council) MD took home All-Star Game MVP honors.  Rubin doesn't provide us with any details about what happened in camp, but he does provide us with his list of the top--ranked players in camp, which includes 1) 6’1 Soph Jaquan Newton from Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA, 2) 6’3 Soph Isaiah Whitehead from Brooklyn (Lincoln) NY, 3) 6’1 Frosh Isaiah Briscoe from Newark (St. Benedict’s) NJ, 4) 6’2 Soph Doudmy Saint Hillaire from Brooklyn (South Shore) NY, 5) 6’2  Soph Zachary Johnson from Miramar (H.S.) FL, 6) 5’11 Soph Byron Hawkins from Olney (Good Council) MD, 7) 6’4 Soph Muhammad Rahkman from Allentown (Central Catholic) PA, 8) 6’5 Soph Jahyde Gardiner from Philadelphia (Friere Charter) PA, 9) 6’6 Soph Jamal Custis from Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA, 10) 6’1 Soph Kevin Seymour from Blairstown (Blair Academy) NJ, 11) 5’10 Soph Troy Harper from Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA, 12) 5’10 Soph Lamar Kimble from Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA, 13) 6’4 Soph Terry Harris from Dix Hills (Half Hollow Hills West) NY, 14) 6’2 Soph Isaiah Washington from Williamsport (H.S.) PA, 15) 6’1 Soph Elijah Saavedra from New York (LaSalle Academy) NY, 16) 6’2 Soph Kadeem Carrington from Brooklyn (Bishop Loughlin) NY, 17) 6’6 Soph Allante Holston from Washington (St. John’s) DC, 18) 6’5 Soph Tony Toplyn from Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA, 19) 6’3 Soph Caleb Mercer from Davidson (Day) NC, and 20) 6’4 Soph Eric Anderson from Haverford (School) PA.  Rubin also was at the Hoop Group Elite Session 3 at Albright College in Reading, PA on July 28th-31st and the camp MVP was 6'7 Isaiah Miles from Baltimore (Milford Mills) MD.  It also looks like 6'5 Grant Ellis from Jersey City (Hudson Catholic) NJ was the MVP in the all-star game and 5'11 Jevon Thomas from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY heads Rubin's ranking of the top players in camp based on camp performance.  The complete list includes 1) 5’11 Jevon Thomas from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 2) 6’7 Isaiah Miles from Baltimore (Milford Mills) MD, 3) 6’8 Chris Obekpa from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 4) 6’1 Kendrick Ray from Middletown (H.S.) NY, 5) 6’3 Isaiah Cousins from Mt. Vernon (H.S.) NY, 6) 6’3 Jr Terrence Samuel from Brooklyn (South Shore) NY, 7) 6’3 Jr Dennis Green from Raleigh (Word of God) NC, 8) 6’3 Jr Daquan McNeil from Saxons River (Vermont Academy) VT,  9) 6’5 Grant Ellis from Jersey City (Hudson Catholic) NJ, 10) 6’5 Marlon Cort from Newark (Robinson School) NJ, 11) 6’5  Shane Richards from New York (York Prep) NY, 12) 6’2 Soph Wade Baldwin from Somerville (Immaculatta) NJ, 13) 6’3 Brian Bernardi from Brooklyn (Xaverian) NY, 14) 6’8 Soph Ben Bentil from Middletown (St. Andrews) DE, 15) 6’8 Jr Gregory Senat from Elmont (H.S.) NY, 16) 6’6 Jarrel Marshall from Mt. Vernon (H.S.) NY, 17) 5’9 Jr Carlos Dejesus from Bronx (John F. Kennedy) NY, 18) 6’8 Chas Brown from Baltimore (Poly) MD, 19) 6’3 Jr Felix Balamou from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 20)  6’2  LeBrent Walker from Centereach (Our Savior New American) NY, 21) 6’7 Tafari Whittingham from Stratford (H.S.) CT, 22) 6’8 Anthony Livingston from Atlanta (Beacon Prep) GA, 23) 6’9  Marquis Gentry from Atlanta (Beacon Prep) GA, 24) 6’7 Jr Greg Noack from Bethlehem (Liberty) PA, 25) 5’10 Naasir Williams from Bronx (Cardinal Hayes) NY, 26) 6’5 Joel Angus from Brooklyn (Bishop Loughlin) NY, 27) 6’7 Jr Emmanuel Omogro from Takoma Park (Don Bosco Cristo Rey) MD, 28)  6’4 Kayel Locke from Baltimore (McDonough) MD, 29) 5’10 Jr Britton Lee from Philadelphia (Roman Catholic) PA, and 30) 6’5 Xavier Harris from Highstown (Peddie) NJ.  Rubin also was at the Summer Classic East, which was held at the Competitive Edge Sports Complex in King of Prussia, PA on July 11th-12th, and the highlight of the entire event was watching New Heights coast through the 16-Under Division.  "This was the best coached team I've seen this year," says Rubin.  And thanks to the efforts of 6'3 Jr Terrence Samuel from Brooklyn (South Shore) NY, who finished with 12 points and was the clear choice for game MVP honors, and 6'8 Jr Jordan Washington from Newark (Nia Prep) NJ, who had 10 points and 14 rebounds, New Heights coasted to 65-45 victory over Team Final in the championship game.  The 17-Under Division Championship Game was a good old-fashioned hard fought physical rivalry that saw Team Philly beat Philly's Finest, 65-61.  Leading the way for Team Philly was 6'7 Brandon Taylor from Hamilton (Trenton Catholic) NJ, who finished with 26 points and was Rubin choice for game MVP honors.  Also adding 17 points and turning a very good floor game was 5'9 Maurice Watson from Philadelphia (Boys Latin) PA.  The high scorer for Philly's Finest was 6'8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, who had 18 points in the championship game and was the obvious choice for the #1-ranked player in the tournament.  Speaking of Rubin's ranking of the top players from this event, his list includes 1) 6’8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, 2) 6’7 Brandon Taylor from Hamilton (Trenton Catholic) NJ, 3) 6’3 Jr Terrence Samuel from Brooklyn (South Shore) NY, 4) 6’4 Jr Stephen Vasturia from Philadelphia (St Joseph's Prep) PA, 5) 6’2 Jr Jaren Sina from Gladstone (Gill St. Bernard's) NJ, 6) 6’8 Devin Thomas from Harrisburg (Central Dauphin) PA, 7) 6’6 Jr Tyler Roberson from Union (H.S.) NJ, 8) 6’8 Jr Jordan Washington from Newark (Nia Prep) NJ, 9) 5’9 Maurice Watson from Philadelphia (Boys Latin) PA, 10) 6’3 Ronald Curry from Haddonfield (Paul VI) NJ, 11) 6’5 Mohamed Alie-Cox from Middleburg (Academy) VA, 12) 6’5 Jr Davon Reed from Princeton (Day School) NJ, 13) 6’8 Jr Austin Colbert from Elizabeth (St. Patrick) NJ, 14) 6’3 Jr Josh Brown from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 15) 6’6 Malik Nichols from Fitchburg (Notre Dame Prep) MA, 16) 6’7 Jaylen Bond from Oakdale (St Thomas More) CT, 17) 6’1 Kareem Canty from North Bridgeton (Bridgeton Academy) ME, 18) 6’3 Melvin Johnson from Newark (St Benedict's) NJ, 19) 6’4 Quinton Judd from Baltimore (Forrest Park) MD, 20) 6’8 Jameel Warney from Roselle (Catholic) NJ, 21)  6’3 Jr Hallice Cook from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 22) 6’1 Soph Jaquan Newton from Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA, 23) 6’5 Jr B.J. Johnson from Ardmore (Lower Merion) PA, 24) 6’5 Jr Kyle Green from Cherry Hill (Camden Catholic) NJ, 25) 6’5 Jr Anthony Firkser from Manalapan (H.S.) PA, 26) 6’5 Brendan Kilpatrick from Malvern (Prep) PA, 27) 6’7 Dominic Hoffman from Gladstone (Gill St. Bernard's) NJ, 28) 6’4 Jordan Reed from Ambler (Wissahickon) PA, 29) 6’7 Jr Arthur Edwards from Oakdale (St Thomas More) CT, 30) 6’7 Jalen Jenkins from Bronx (Cardinal Hays) NY, 31) 6’10 Andre Walker from Clarksburg (H.S.) VA, 32) 6’5 Marcus Gilbert from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA, 33) 6'2 Haisheen McIntyre from Harrisburg (H.S.) PA, 34) 6’4 Ronnie Paden from Hamilton (Trenton Catholic)  NJ, 35) 5’10 Jr Nasir Williams from Bronx (Cardinal Hays) NY, 36)  6’6 Coleman Johnson from Fairfax (Paul VI) VA, 37) 6’6 Jr Dominique Reed from Trenton (Catholic) NJ, 38) 6’5 Kamal Richards from Newark (St Benedicts) NJ, 39) 5’11 Aaron Morgan from Newtown (Council Rock North) PA, and 40) 5’8 Mike Greenman from Richland (St Augustine) NJ.  Rubin also was the HoopGroup Elite Team Camp, which was held at Albright College in Reading, PA on July 9th-10th and, in the end, two perennial powers played for the championship.  Philadelphia (Neumann-Goretti) PA did manage to stay within striking distance most of the way, but when the dust had cleared Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ won the game, 61-53, and 6'8 Kyle Anderson, who was terrific scoring from everywhere on the court, passing and rebounding, had 18 points and would have been the easy choice for game MVP honors, if they had named an MVP.  The leading scorer in the game was 6'6 Jerome Frink, who finished with 19 points while playing for the winning team.  The high scorers for Neumann-Goretti were 6'4 Jr John Davis and 6'1 Soph Jaquan Newton, who had 14 points and 11 points respectively.  Rubin's ranking of the top players includes 1) 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 2) 6'8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, 6'2 Jr Nate Britt from Washington (Gonzaga) DC, 4) 6'10 Daniel Ochefu from Westtown (Friends) PA, 5') 5'7 Jr Aquille Carr from Baltimore (Patterson) MD, 6) 6’10 Jr Chinonoso Obokoh from Rochester (Bishop Kearny) NY, 7) 6’2 Jr  Jaren Scott from Gladstone (Gill St. Bernard's) NJ, 8) 6’3 Jr Terrence Samuel from Brooklyn (South Shore) NY, 9) 6’7 Tyler Cavanaugh from Dewitt (Jamesville-Dewitt) NY, 10) 6’5 Quenton Decosey from Metuchen (St Joseph) NJ, 11) 6’6 Jr Kris Jenkins from Washington (Gonzaga) DC, 12) 6’5 Chris Jones from Teaneck (H.S.) NJ, 13) 6’6 Jerome Frink from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 14) 6’2 Soph Shep Garner from Philadelphia (Roman Catholic) PA, 15) 6’3 Jr Josh Brown from Jersey City (St Anthony) NJ, 16) 6’3 Jr Stanford Robinson from Fairfax (Paul VI) VA, 17) 6’8 Jr Mike Young from Jersey City (Hudson Catholic) NJ, 18) 5’10 Jr Kavon Stewart from Jersey City (Hudson Catholic) NJ, 19) 6’4 Jr Shamiek Sheppard from Brooklyn (South Shore) NY, 20)  Blaise Mbargorra from Hightstown (Peddie School) NJ, 21) 6’8 Hans Brace from Pottstown (Hill School) PA, 22) 6’8 Neville Fincher from Teaneck (H.S.) NJ, 23) 6’3 Brian Bernardi from Brooklyn (Xaverian) NY, 24) 6’6 Jr Leanard Freeman from Washington (St John’s) DC, 25) 6’8 Jameel Warney from Roselle (Catholic) NJ, 26) 6’0 Jamal Lewis from Washington (Sidwell Friends) DC, 27) 6’1 Haisheen McIntyre from Harrisburg (H.S.) PA, 28) 6’7  Dominic Hoffman from Gladstone (Gill Saint Bernard's) NJ, 29) 6’6 Frosh Thomas Bryant from Rochester (Bishop Kearny) NY, and 30) 6’8  Matt Banas from Hershey (H.S.)  PA. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

If there was any question previously about 5'0 6th Grader Chase Adams from Park Forest, IL being the #1-ranked player in the Class of 2018, he put it to rest with his total dominance in the 6th Grade Division at the Junior Phenom Camp, which was held over the weekend in San Diego, CA.  Adams has amazing ball handling and passing skills, is quick enough to get the basket pretty much whenever he wants, plays excellent defense, and was one of the most unselfish players in camp, which helped make the 6th Grade All-Star Game one of the best all-star games that we've seen in a long time.  As a matter of fact, Adams is pound-for-pound inch-for-inch arguably the best player that we've seen in the eight years that we've been covering this camp and we can't help but wonder how he would have done if they'd put him the 8th Grade All-Star Game and let him go head-to-head against the top older kids in camp.  Adams also appears to be a great kid and, as of yet, does not appear to be corrupted by receiving all the attention and notoriety that goes with being the best player nationally in his class.  There also were a number of other great stories at this year's Junior Phenom Camp, including the one that involves three brothers - 6'0 8th Grader Lonzo Ball from Chino Hills, CA, 5'11 7th Grader LiAAngelo Ball from Chino Hills, CA, and 5'0 5th Grader Lamelo Ball from Chino Hills, CA, all of whom were good enough to be ranked among the top 15 players in camp and play in the all-star game in their respective age groups.  They also all have very good athleticism, are very good at shooting the basketball, and, with normal progression and development, should have big upsides and great futures.  We also find it ironic that the MVP Award in two of the all-star games went to a players on the losing team.  However, 5'11 8th Grader Ryan Murphy from Calabasas, CA, who finished with 24 points and three 3-pointers in the 8th Grade All-Star Game and was second to none in terms of hustle, defense, and sportsmanship throughout the entire camp, and 6'1 7th Grader Drake Velasco from Yorba Linda, CA, who had 22 points and four 3-pointers in the 7th Grade All-Star Game and shot the lights out all weekend, were clearly the best two players in their respective games.  And to make the story even more interesting is the fact that Velasco has a chance to be the best player in his family, which is a strong statement when one finds out that his older brother and two older sisters are all former Junior Phenom Campers and have gone onto become good players at the high school level.  Velasco does need to become meaner and tougher and rebounder better.  But he's got an incredible wing span, a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and he can flat out shoot the basketball.  He also hasn't been playing the game very long and, as a result, with normal growth and development, his upside and potential may be off the chart.  As for Murphy, it looks like he picked up where he left off a year ago at this camp when he was both the MVP in the 7th Grade All-Star Game and the #1-ranked player in camp in his age group.  And he almost did it again, as the race for top players honors in the 8th Grade Division was really too close to call between Murphy and 5'11 8th Grader Justin Moore from National City, CA, who clearly was the best player on the winning team in the 8th Grade All-Star Game.  And the first player to congratulate Murphy on being named the MVP in the 8th Grade All-Star Game was Moore, who had 12 points and was catalyst for the winning team in the all-star game.  Moore also was one of the most unselfish players in camp and, with his excellent ball handling and passing skills, size for his position, and ability to penetrate and dish, deserved an important piece of the pie.  However, even more important, Moore also displayed great leadership qualities and, just like Murphy, appears to be just as good person as he is a basketball player.  Also failing into this category is 4'11 6th Grader Raymond Lu from San Diego, CA, who was sidelined with an injury in his first game, but still received a Sportsmanship Award for sticking it out and bring a positive outlook to the camp.  On the other hand, 5'7 7th Grader Kristopher Smith from Norwalk, CA did not have such a positive attitude.  Thus, explains how he gets ranked #1 at his position and #5 overall in the 7th Grade Division, but got snubbed from playing in the all-star game.  We also found it interesting that 6'0 7th Grader Paul Washington from Frisco, TX was not the first choice of his coach in the meeting when we were deciding which players should be elected to play in the all-star game.  However, this isn't the first time that I used my influence and made sure that one of the top players in camp (i.e. Alonzo Trier and Rasheed Sulaimon) was in the all-star game.  Unfortunately I think I also blew it by not doing likewise with 5'10 8th Grader Justin Davis from San Diego, CA, who was an athletic power forward that clearly was the best player on his team and legitimately one of the top 10 players in his age group in camp.  Another one of the interesting stories from the camp involves all of the great young players from the Chicago area in the 6th Grade Division.  We've already talked a lot about 5'0 6th Grader Chase Adams, who is from Park Forest, IL   But 6'0 6th Grader Amari Sherrod from Gary, IN really separated himself from the rest of the pack with his strength, athleticism, and ability to dominate around the basket in the 6th Grade All-Star Game; 5'0 6th Grader Zion Young from Dolton, IL and 6'0 6th Grader Maurice Commander from Country Club Hills, IL were clearly two of the best shooters regardless of age group in camp; and 5'3 6th Grader Jordan Simmons from Crete, IL did a masterful job of running the show en route all-star game MVP honors in the 6th Grade Division.

Saturday, August 6, 2011, Sunday, August, 7, 2011, & Monday, August 8, 2011

We are now ready to provide you with the Defense and the Sportsmanship/Hustle Award winners from the Junior Phenom Camp, which was held over the weekend in San Diego, CA.  The Defense Award winners are 5'0 6th Grader Chase Adams from Park Forest, IL, 4'8 7th Grader Zavior Alvarez from El Paso, TX, 5'0 6th Grader Ken Asai from Yokahama City, Japan, 5'2 6th Grader Andrew Austin from Santa Clarita, CA, 6'0 8th Grader Lonzo Ball from Chino Hills, CA, 5'11 8th Grader Anthony Coleiro from Murrieta, CA, 6'1 8th Grader Daniel Carter from Grass Valley, CA, 5'9 8th Grader Tyson Day from Lakewood, CA, 5'6 7th Grader Keith DeLoatch from Newark, DE, 4'5 8th Grader Michael Farmer from Detroit, MI, 5'2 8th Grader Malachi Flynn from Tacoma, WA, 5'6 7th Grader Tanner Gray from Kailua-Kona, HI, 4'11 7th Grader Elijah Herman from North Hill, CA, 5'7 8th Grader Russell Hernandez from La Verne, CA, 4'5 6th Grader Riley Hoefert from Castiac, CA, 6'0 8th Grader Calvin Lau from Union City, CA, 5'8 8th Grader Christian Lee from Aliso Viejo, CA, 6'0 8th Grader Jaret Lipps from Daniels, WV, 5'5 8th Grader Morgan Means from Compton, CA, 4'0 6th Grader Nicolas Mendoza from Tucson, AZ, 4'10 6th Grader Derrick Miller from O'Fallon, MO, 5'7 7th Grader Karsten Michael from Thornton, CO, 5'10 7th Grader Musa Mohamed from Amarillo, TX, 5'11 8th Grader Ryan Murphy from Calabasas, CA, 5'3 6th Grader Jaymes Naval from Elk Grove, CA, 4'7 6th Grader Kameron Ng from Kaneohe, HI, 5'6 8th Grader Jahlil Osby from Topeka, KS, 4'6 6th Grader Darryl Polk from Montclair, CA, 5'1 7th Grader Alejandro Tostado Ramirez from Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico, 5'8 8th Grader Michael Smith from Burr Ridge, IL, 4'9 6th Grader Marcus Scott from Hinesville, GA, 5'5 8th Grader Parker Trujillo from Tucson, AZ, 5'6 7th Grader Randall Walker from Huntington Beach, CA, 5'0 6th Grader Jalen Washington from Norwalk, CA, 5'7 6th Grader Spencer Washington from Frisco, TX, 5'2 7th Grader Spencer Weller from Peachtree City, GA, 5'7 7th Grader Jaylin White from San Diego, CA, and 5'7 8th Grader Wayne White from Huntington, NY.  The Sportsmanship/Hustle Award winners are 4'8 8th Grader Steve Aguirre from Santa Clarita, CA, 5'2 6th Grader Jared Armbruster from Murrieta, CA, 6'1 8th Grader Austin Beech from Murrieta, CA, 5'10 8th Grader Jacob Benna from Reno, NV, 4'11 6th Grader Benjamin Berman from Irvine, CA, 5'2 7th Grader Brevin Brimble from Colorado Springs, CO, 5'10 8th Grader Isiah Brown from Renton, WA, 5'9 8th Grader Montre Brown from Tacoma, WA, 5'9 8th Grader Jonathan Buckmelter from Denver, CO, 5'3 8th Grader Mark Burton from APO, AP, 6'1 8th Grader Daniel Carter from Grass Valley, CA, 5'11 8th Grader Toby Carter from Grass Valley, CA, 5'11 8th Grader Justin Chung from Los Angeles, CA, 5'3 7th Grader Michael Curley from Temecula, CA, 5'9 8th Grader Colby Dickson from Stockton, CA, 5'4 7th Grader Michael French from San Mateo, CA, 5'0 6th Grader Daniel Garza from San Antonio, TX, 5'2 6th Grader Dante Gonzales from Brownsville, TX, 4'9 6th Grader Preston Hall from Sacramento, CA, 5'8 7th Grader Travis Hayashi from Honolulu, HI, 5'5 8th Grader Logan Huff from San Antonio, TX, 4'5 6th Grader Anthony Iglesia from Rochester, NY, 5'6 7th Grader Conor Jeffery from El Dorado Hills, CA, 5'7 7th Grader Everett Libolt from Roseville, CA, 5'5 6th Grader Henry Lininger from Eugene, OR, 4'11 6th Grader Raymond Lu from San Diego, CA, 4'9 6th Grader Walter Lunn from Alameda, CA, 5'2 7th Grader Chris Kodama from Saugus, CA, 5'5 7th Grader Alex McCall from Oro Valley, AZ, 4'9 7th Grader Mark Nishida from Los Angeles, CA, 4'9 7th Grader Ryan Nishida from Los Angeles, CA, 5'0 7th Grader Jalen Newble from Auburn, WA, 5'0 7th Grader Obadiah Noel from Frederick MD, 4'9 6th Grader D.J. Gaeton Panfili from Cromberg CA, 5'8 8th Grader DeMarco Prewitt from Menifee, CA, 5'6 7th Grader Jalen Riley from Valencia, CA, 5'0 6th Grader Joshua Salmon from San Antonio, TX, 5'3 8th Grader Gage Shelmidine from San Clemente, CA, 5'3 6th Grader Jordan Simmons from Crete, IL, 5'7 8th Grader Gregory Walter from Lake Elsinore, CA, 4'9 6th Grader DaeShawn Wayne from Spanaway, WA, and 5'8 8th Grader Everett Winchester from Gwynn Park, MD.  Editor's Note:  We also will provide you with our comments and analysis of the Junior Phenom Camp either later tonight or sometime tomorrow.  So stay tuned! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

I'm a strong advocate of not beating around the bush when it comes to recruiting and making your college decision.  And it looks like 6'0 Soph Quentin Snider from Louisville (Ballard) KY subscribes to that theory as well, as he wasted no time accepting the scholarship offer that University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino made to him just a couple of days ago.  We're talking about a pure point guard who is ranked #21 nationally in the sophomore class by the HOOP SCOOP and started this past season as a freshman on one of the best high school teams in the state.  Snider does need to get bigger and stronger physically but also has excellent court savvy, a high basketball IQ, and can score in a variety of ways.  Add the fact that Snider attends Ballard High School and he's always been a Cardinals fan and there really are a lot of similarities to former Louisville point guard Dejuan Wheat, who not only was equally adept at playing either guard spot, but also ended up being one of the best players in school history.  Snider also joins 6'2 Soph James Blackmon from Ft. Wayne (Bishop Luers) IN and 6'9 Soph Tony Lyles from Indianapolis (Tech) IN, both of whom verbally committed to Indiana University nearly a year ago, as one of only three players in the Class of 2014 who have already made up their mind in terms of their college decision.  However, even more important is the fact that the Cardinals have the guy who promises to be the next great one to come out of their backyard and he also may be the link that helps get some of the other top young players in the city, like 6'3 Soph D'Angelo Russell from Louisville (Central) KY, who also was offered a scholarship earlier this week by the Cardinals, to stay home.  This also has been a good week for the Ball State, as a couple of days ago the Cardinals landed 6'4 Michael Ramey from Indianapolis (Southport) IN and yesterday they also received a verbal commitment from 6'6 Bo Calhoun from South Bend (Washington) IN.  And both of these guys can flat out fill it up.  In the case of Calhoun, he has excellent skills, a great work athletic, deep shooting range, and averaged 18.0 ppg and 9.1 rpg this past season.  He also has a long wing span, rebounds well for his size, and plays bigger than 6'6, which means he may also see significant playing time inside due to the fact that the Cardinals currently only have three post players (Aaron Adeoye, Zach Fields, and Matt Kamieniecki) slated to be on their roster a year from now.  Ramey averaged 19.5 ppg and shot an incredible 66-126 (52.4%) from behind the arc and 69-79 (87.3%) from the charity stripe this past season.  It also looks like Arizona State Herb Sendek is doing a good job of getting some of the better players in his backyard to stay at home, as 6'2 Calaen Robinson from Chandler (Corona Del Sol) AZ has joined 6'10 Eric Jacobson from Chandler (Hamilton) AZ and 6'9 Kenny Martin from Glendale (Kellis) AZ in a recruiting class that is now ties at #16, along with Michigan State and Virginia Commonwealth, on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 Robinson has excellent speed and quickness and is capable of playing either guard spot.  However, he's really more of a 2-guard due to his nice stroke, excellent range, and the ability to credit his own shot.  Our North Carolina Editor Rick Lewis tells us that 6'5 Aaron Bacote from Hampton (Bethel) VA has verbally committed to Old Dominion, but he scolds us for not including this athletic 2-guard on our List of the Top 200 Players Nationally in the Class of 2012, which was published earlier this week exclusively right here in the Members Section.  "Bacote shoots the three, attacks the basket, and is a local kid," says Lewis.  Another player who was left off our List of the Top 200 Players Nationally in the Class of 2012 is 6'10 Ismail Dauda from Boca Raton (Grandview prep) FL who previously was ranked #89 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP and was verbally committed to Miami-FL.  Now it looks like he' s back on the board and is attending Polk State (JC) FL.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Mississippi Editor Lavel Johnson provides us with the latest scoop on 6'2 Xavian Rimmer from Piney Woods (H.S.) MS, who was ranked #227 in our Final Ranking of the Top Players Nationally in the Class of 2011, but will not be attending UT-Chattanooga, which was the school that he originally signed a binding National Letter-of-Intent to attend last fall.  Rimmer was released from this letter-of-intent in mid-June, because, at the time, he was deemed to be a non-qualifier.  However, since that time Xavian has fulfilled the necessary requirements under NCAA guidelines and, as a result, is now a full qualifier and free and clear to attend any Division I school of his choosing.  And, believe it or not, the school that he picked is Alcorn State.  On the other hand, this makes a lot more sense when one finds out that new Alcorn State head coach Luthor Riley previously was the head coach at Jackson (Provine) MS, where his team's won four state championship and played in three other title games during his dozen years at the school.  It also makes sense that Rimmer has known Riley since was in elementary school and he attended Riley's youth basketball camp when was age eight to 10.  And to make the story even more interesting is the fact much of Rimmer's family, including his father, mother, brother, three uncles, and two cousins attended Alcorn State and Rimmer has attended many Alcorn State games over the years.  Rimmer also is good friends with another Alcorn State signee - 6'4 LeAntwan Luckett from Ridgeland (H.S.) MS - and, with a recruiting class that also includes 6'4 Anthony Nieves from East Central (JC) MS, 6'9 Chris Brand from Western Texas (JC) TX, 6'4 JaMichael Hawkins from Jackson (Wingfield) MS, 6'4 Michael Willis from Mississippi Delta (JC) MS, 6'1 Anthony Evans from Mississippi Delta (JC) MS, and 5'11 Jarvis Moore from Mississippi Delta (JC) MS, they are hoping to restore the program to major prominence after winning only two and four games the last two seasons.  Johnson also tells us that Mississippi State received a verbal commitment yesterday from 6'1 Josh Grey from Humble (Christian Life) TX and Ole Miss got a commitment earlier today from 6'4 Martavious Newby from Memphis (Booker T. Washington) TN.  Grey, who is originally from Lake Charles, LA, is a quick push-the-pace point guard that can penetrate to set up his teammates or stick the open jumper.  Grey also is a good defensive player and he picked the Bulldogs over schools like Georgetown, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oregon, and Baylor.  Grey joins 6'9 Gavin Ware from Starkville (H.S.) MS, 6'5 Fred Thomas from Jackson (Jim Hill) MS, and 6'1 Craig Sword from Montgomery (Carver) AL in a recruiting class that is now ranked #6 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 Newby is a tough physical athletic wing who can defend both guard spots, is a good rebounder and is a guy who can fill up the stat book.  Newby chose Ole Miss over Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska, Missouri, Auburn, and Mississippi State and is the Rebels first commitment for the Class of 2012.  The Bulldogs and Rebels both also have 6'8 Devonte Pollard of Dekalb (Kemper County) MS high on their priority list.  But they also have plenty of company as Pollard has a list that also includes Georgetown, Kentucky, Texas, Connecticut, N.C. State, Marquette, Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee.  It also looks like Ole Miss, UTEP, Maryland, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Oklahoma State are in the hunt for 6'6 Tymond Howard of Pearl (HS) MS. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The next thing on our agenda is to take a look at and see where things stand with our ranking of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 and epecially noteworthy is the race among Indiana, which currently has the #1-ranked recruiting class with 5'11 Kevin Ferrell from Indianapolis (Park Tudor) IN, 6'8 Hanner Perea from La Porte (La Lumiere) IN, 6'7 Jeremy Hollowell from Indianapolis (Lawrence Central) IN, 7'0 Peter Jurkin from Charlotte (United Faith Christian) IN, and 6'3 Ron Patterson from Indianapolis (Broad Ripple) IN in the fold; Villanova, which currently has the #2-ranked recruiting class with 6'5 Savon Goodman from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA, 6'3 Ryan Aricidacono from Langhorne (Neshaminy) PA, and 6'10 Daniel Ochefu from Westtown (Friends) PA in the fold; and UCLA, which currently has the #4-ranked recruiting class with 6'0 Dominic Artis from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV and 6'5 Jordan Adams from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA in the fold.   If UCLA gets 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, and/or 6'9 Brandon Ashley from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, that would be enough to move the Bruins into the #1 spot on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 However, if UCLA lands only one of the aforementioned players (Muhammad, Anderson, and Ashley) and Villanova gets 6'8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, then the Wildcats would move into the #1 spot.  And, of course there still several X-factors with Indiana.  The first involves Perea and Jurkin, both of whom have the upside and potential to keep moving up in our rankings as they continue to develop better skills and become more Americanized.  The second involves the fact that the Hoosiers coaching staff is still recruiting several of the top players in the nation, like 6'10 Mitch McGary from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH and 6'4 Gary Harris from Fishers (Hamilton Southeastern) IN.  Are you starting to get the idea that there is still plenty of things to be decided even though 41 of our top 100-ranked seniors are already off the board?  It also looks like the early winnesr in this year's recruiting wars are the Atlantic Coast Conference, which currently has seven of our top 30-ranked recruiting classes with N.C. State, Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, and Virginia Tech all making the list, and the Big-10 Conference, which not only has the #1-ranked recruiting class in Indiana, but also has four other teams (Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin) listed in the 11-20 range.  We also find it interesting that the five highest ranked schools on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 that don't belong to BSC Conferences are Xavier, which for years has recruited and played at a high major level; Virginia Commonwealth and Butler, which both appear to be capitalizing on their NCAA Final Four appearances this past March; and Towson and Kent State, which this spring hired Pat Skerry and Rob Senderoff, who are two of the bright up-and-coming guys in the business.  Xavier currently has five players in the fold in a recruiting class that is ranked #3 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 and includes 6'2 Myles Davis from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, 7'5 Sim Bullar from Huntington (Prep) WV, 6'10 James Farr from Evanston (Township) IL, 6'2 Semaj Christon from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH, and 6'9 Jalen Reynolds from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH.  Virginia Commonwealth's class is tied at #16, along with Michigan State, and it includes three players - 6'8 Justin Tueyo from Hampton (Lovejoy) GA, 6'5 Mo Alie-Cox from Middleburg (Middlesex) VA, and 6'5 Jordan Burgess from Richmond (Benedictine) VA, all of whom are ranked in the 101-300 range.  Butler's class is ranked #24 and it includes two players - 6'4 Kellen Durham from Pendleton Heights (H.S.) IN and 5'11 Chris Harrison-Docks from Okemos (H.S.) MI - who are ranked in the 101-200 range and another guy - 6'3 Devontae Morgan from Tampa (Plant) FL - who is ranked in the 300-500 range.  Towson and Kent State's classes are both tied at #31, along with Arizona State, Missouri, and Texas Tech, on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012.  The former has 6'8 Barrington Alston from Christchurch (School) VA and 6'2 Frank Mason from Petersburg (H.S.) VA in the fold.  The latter has landed 6'7 Richard Smith from Richmond (Chesterfield Community) and 6'7 Chris Ortiz from South Kent (Prep) CT.  All of these players are the equivalent of a player in the 101-300 range nationally. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Now that I'm off the road for a few days (I'll be leaving early again on Friday morning to cover the Junior Phenon Camp in San Diego, CA), it's the perfect time to catch up on the long list of verbal commitments that have occurred during the last month.  The most noteworthy being the decision by 6'0 Dominic Artis from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, who is ranked #18 on our List of the Top 200 Players Nationally in the Class of 2012, to attend UCLA.  We're talking about a  quality floor general who knows how to run a team, makes excellent decisions, is quick enough to beat most guys off the dribble, and is a very good 3-point shooter.  In other words, he's exactly what the doctor ordered for the Bruins coaching staff, which have been in dire need for the last several years of a pure point guard who can step in and run the show.  Artis also should be the perfect complement to 6'5 Jordan Adams from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA who made verbal commitment to UCLA about six weeks ago.  And the best could be yet to come, if UCLA also lands 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV, 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, and 6'9 Brandon Ashley from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV in what Artis himself told us two days before he officially picked the Bruins a-week-and-a-half ago could be a "Fab Five recruiting class."  As things stand now, Artis and Adams are good enough to get UCLA's recruiting class ranked #4 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 But the addition of those other three players would be enough to move the Bruins right to the top of the list.  Or, if Muhammad decides to stay home (our guess is that he won't venture too far due to the fact that his family will want to see him play) and attend UNLV, then we would be talking about the most important player that the Runnin' Rebels have landed since Larry Johnson.  However, regardless of whether UNLV lands Muhammad, they already have a great head start on the future after receiving a pair of verbal commitments from 6'0 DaQuan Cook from Baltimore (Digital Harbor) MD, who is a tough hardnosed combo guard that is ranked #90 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, and 6'8 Jr Christian Wood, who is transferring from Palmdale, CA to Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, where he is expected to provide the perfect complement to 6'9 Brandon Ashley, 6'8 Anthony Bennett, 6'0 Dominic Artis, 6'8 Winston Shepard, and 6'3 Jr Nigel Williams-Goss on what very well could be the best high school in the nation next year.  It also looks like all of the hard work that University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller, who was the Most Visible Head Coach of the Summer a year ago and is one of the leading candidates to win that award again this year, has put in on the recruiting trail has paid big dividends now that he has verbal commitments from two of the top seniors on the West Coast.  If you will recall, the Wildcats already had 6'9 Grant Jarrett from La Verne (Lutheran) OH, who is ranked #38 nationally in the senior class the HOOP SCOOP, in the fold and about three weeks ago they landed 6'2 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA, who is a prolific scoring combo guard that is ranked #62 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP.  And within the last couple of days the University of Michigan added two more early verbal commitments from 6'0 Jr Derrick Walton from Harper Woods (Chandler Park) MI and 6'5 Jr Zak Irvin from Fishers (Hamilton Southeastern) IN to a recruiting class that already included 6'8 Jr Mark Donnal from Whitehouse (Wayne) OH and 6'6 Jr Austin Hatch from Ft. Wayne (Canterbruy) IN.  While none of these guys will be ranked among the top 100 juniors nationally when we publish our updated ranking of the top players in the Class of 2013, they all should fit well into the Wolverines' system and collectively they give Michigan head coach John Beilein and his staff a recruiting class that is currently ranked #3 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2013 There also are the two recent verbal commitments that Xavier has landed in 6'2 Myles Davis from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA and 6'2 Semaj Christon from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH.  Add that to the three players that they already have in the fold in 7'5 Sim Bhullar from Huntington (Prep) WV, 6'10 James Farr from Evanston (Township) IL, and 6'9 Jalen Reynolds from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) NH and it's easy to see why we have the Musketeers' recruiting class is ranked #4 on our of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 And within the last 24 hours its been reported that the sharpshooting 6'0 Patrick Holloway from Fairfax (Paul VI) VA has decided to stay home and attend George Mason, the athletic 6'5 Louis Dabney from Riverside (Reserve Christian) LA is doing likewise and will attend Tulane, 5'10 Rhett Harrelson from Enterprise (H.S.) AL is bound for Western Carolina, and 6'8 Josh Fortney from Baltimore (St. Frances) MD has made it official for Loyola-Maryland.  We also have a long list of other verbal commitments that occurred last month, which include 6'0 Jr Conner Frankamp from Wichita (North) KS to Kansas, 6'8 Jordan Goodman from Jacksonville (Arlington Country Day) FL to Texas Tech, 6'4 Charles Mann from McDonough (Union Grove) GA to Georgia, 6'9 Kenny Martin from Glendale (Kellis) AZ to Arizona State, 6'9 Aaron Scales from High Point (Christian) NC to Missouri, 6'0 Trey Davis from Saxtons River (Vermont Academy) VT to George Washington, 5'8 Jr Sam Esposito from Scottsdale (Chaparral) AZ and 6'9 Jr Joe Boyd from Scottsdale (Chaparral) AZ have both made early verbal commitments to New Mexico State, 6'8 Maurice Jeffers from Washington (Coolidge) DC to Delaware, 6'6 Jake Kretzer from Waverly (H.S.) OH to Akron, 6'6 Jr Evan Bradds from Jamestown (Greenview) OH to Ohio University, 6'5 Jacoby Roddy from Peoria (Manual) IL to Wright State, 6'5 Lloyd Neely from Detroit (Crockett) MI to Oakland, 6'3 Dayton Boddie from El Camino (Oceanside) CA to UC-Riverside, 6'0 Jamal Lewis from Washington (Sidwell Friends) WA to Pennsylvania, 6'3 Zach Rufer from Goshen (Burke Catholic) NY to Lafayette, 6'0 Jack Montague from Brentwood (H.S.) TN to Yale, and 6'4 Eric Fanning from Collegeville (Perkiomen Valley) PA to Wagner.

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's finally over!  I'm talking about that the fact the Summer Evaluation Period is over and, after having been on the road pretty much non-stop for the last four months watching the top high school players in the nation on numerous occasions and in multiple venues, it's time to step back and  put things into perspective.  And what better way to start than with our Updated Ranking of the Top 20 5th Year Players & Top 200 Players Nationally in the Class of 2012 (Rising Seniors), which was published exclusively in the Members Section earlier today.  It should come as no surprise that 6'5 Shabazz Muhammad from Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) NV is our #1-ranked player in the class.  He's been the top guy in the class since the end of his freshman year and right now he's so far out in front of the competition that it kind of reminds me of the way Secretariat won the Belmont by 30 lengths 38 years ago.  So really the battle is for second and, after the way 6'4 Marcus Smart from Flower Mound (Marcus) TX played in the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas, NV, he's the favor of the day and, as a result, gets the nod over 6'8 Kyle Anderson from Jersey City (St. Anthony) NJ, 6'9 Tony Parker from Lithonia (Miller Grove) GA, 6'8 Amile Jefferson from Wynnewood (Friends Central) PA, and 6'9 Brandon Ashley from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, who are all bunched up pretty close in the 2-6 range.  We also suspect that 6'8 Anthony Bennett from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV, who checks in next on the list at #7, will pass up ultimately pass up most of the players ranked ahead of him.  However, it is the editorial position of the HOOP SCOOP to let a player earn it.  And, although Bennett has all the ingredients necessary to evolve into a superstar, he hasn't put it altogether yet.  We also probably have 5'11 Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell from Indianapolis (Park Tudor) IN ranked higher than a lot of people might expect.  And he also is the highest ranked player in the class who is off the board, as he is the marquee player in Indiana's current recruiting class, which is ranked #1 on our list of the Top Recruiting Classes To-Date for the Class of 2012 Speaking of players who have already made early verbal commitments, we also tracked commitments by 6'3 Rasheed Sulaimon from Houston (Strake Jesuit) TX to Duke, 6'5 Savon Goodman from Bryn Athyn (Academy of the New Church) PA to Villanova, 6'1 Marcus Paige from Marion (Linn-Mar) IA to North Carolina, 6'8 Samuel Dekker from Sheboygan (Lutheran) WI to Wisconsin, 6'0 Dominic Artis from Henderson (Findlay Prep) NV to UCLA, 6'9 Cameron Ridley from Richmond (Ft. Bend Bush) TX to Texas, 6'5 Jordan Price from Decatur (Southwest DeKalb) TX to Auburn, 6'3 Ryan Arcidiacono from Langhorne (Neshaminy) PA to Villanova, 6'5 Jordan Adams from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA to UCLA, 5'11 Tyler Lewis from Lewisville (Forsyth Country Day) NC to N.C. State, 6'5 Justin Anderson from Rockville (Montrose Christian) MD to Virginia, 6'9 Grant Jerrett from La Verne (Lutheran) CA to Arizona, 6'5 Omar Calhoun from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY to Connecticut, 6'9 Aaron Rountree from Wilson (Greenfield) NC to Wake Forest, 7'0 Isaiah Austin from Arlington (Grace Prep) TX to Baylor, 6'8 Montrezl Harrell from Virginia Tech, 6'10 Daniel Ochefu from Westtown (Friends) PA to Villanova, 6'5 Torian Graham from Raleigh (Word of God) NC to N.C. State, 6'6 J.P. Tokoto from Menomonee Falls (H.S.) WI to North Carolina, 6'6 Cameron Beidscheid from St. Louis (Cardinal Ritter) MO to Notre Dame, 6'7 Glenn Robinson from Saint John (Lake Central) IN to Michigan, 6'2 Gabe York from Orange (Lutheran) CA to Arizona, 6'9 Gavin Ware from Starkville (H.S.) MS to Mississippi State, 6'2 Codi Miller-McIntyre from Concord (First Assembly) NC to Wake Forest, 5'11 Ronnie Johnson from Indianapolis (North Central) IN to Purdue, 6'5 Nkereuwem Okoro from Bronx (St. Raymond's) NY to Iowa State, 6'8 Hanner Perea from La Porte (La Lumiere) IN to Indiana, 6'4 Michael Frazier from Tampa (Plant) FL to Florida, 6'8 Evan Nolte from Alpharetta (Milton) GA to Virginia, 7'5 Sim Bhullar from Huntington (Prep) WV to Xavier, 6'0 Braxton Ogbueze from Charlotte (United Faith Christian) NC to Florida, 6'7 Jeremy Hollowell from Indianapolis (Lawrence Central) IN to Indiana, 6'5 Damien Wilson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA to Memphis, 6'0 Daquan Cook from Baltimore (Digital Harbor) MD to UNLV, 6'3 Ron Patterson from Indianapolis (Broad Ripple) IN to Indiana, 6'6 Jaron Blossomgame from Alpharetta (Chattahoochee) GA to Clemson, 6'10 Josh Scott from Colorado Springs (Lewis-Palmer) CO to Colorado, 7'0 Peter Jurkin from Charlotte (United Faith Christian) NV to Indiana, 6'5 Fred Thomas from Mississippi State, 6'5 Raphael Davis from Ft. Wayne (South Side) IN to Purdue, and 6'8 Arik Armstead from Elk Grove (Pleasant Grove) CA to USC (football).  In other words, 41 of our 100-ranked rising seniors are already off the board.  And that number increases even more when one looks at our 5th Year List, where five of the top dozen-ranked players are currently committed to four-year Division I colleges and universities, as we've tracked 6'2 Myles Davis from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA to Xavier, 6'7 Georges Niang from Tilton (School) NH to Iowa State, 6'11 Isaiah Hill from Grand Prairie (God's Academy) TX to Seton Hall, 6'6 Nik Stauskas from Southborough (St. Mark's) MA to Michigan, and 6'9 Jordan Goodman from Jacksonville (Arlington Country Day) FL to Texas Tech.  We also think it's important to point out that we have 6'11 Andre Drummond from Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT ranked no higher than #3 on our List of the Top 5th Year Players, behind 6'10 Mitch McGary from Wolfeboro (Brewster Academy) MA and 6'6 Ricardo Ledo from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA.  However, McGary, who plays with incredible heart and passion and is much more skilled that Drummond, and Ledo, who is one of the most naturally gifted and athletic guys to come down the pike in a long time, are not chopped liver, as they both would be ranked in the 6-10 range, if they were still high school seniors.  And Drummond, who actually played the best we've ever seen him play in the adidas Super 64 Tournament, would check in at #10 on our Ranking of the Top 200 Players Nationally in the Class of 2012, if he was eligible to be on that list.  But there are still to many question marks, like post moves, being in shape, having the heart and desire necessary to be a great player, and being caught up in all the hype of being one of the guys who has to get to the NBA as fast as possible, for Drummond to be ranked any higher.  Or to put this another way, right now Drummond is currently on track to be the next Kwame Brown.  However, if the light ever click on, he could end up being a $100 million man.