HOT RECRUITING INFORMATION FOR OCTOBER 1998
Saturday, October 31, 1998
It was not a surprise earlier this fall when Morehead State got a commitment from 6'10 Billy Howell from Vanceburg (Lewis County) KY nor was it a surprise several days ago when the Eagles got another one of the better players in the state in 6'5 Justin Cornell from Fern Creek (H.S.) KY. Although Cornell, who is a step slow, only ranks #17 in the state by our Kentucky Correspondent Larry Kihnley, he is an excellent outside shooter with good savvy and leaping ability. Cornell also has excellent grades, which explains why he received interest from several Ivy League schools, as well as Richmond, UNC-Wilmington, and Lehigh.
Our Kentucky Correspondent Larry Kihnley also tells us that he thinks 6'1Tanner Turley from Shelbyville (Shelby County) KY, who ranks #26 in the state, is on the verge of committing to Kentucky Wesleyan and that Marquette is now showing interest in 6'4 Duane King from Louisville (Pleasure Ridge Park) KY, who ranks #6 in the state and has a major upside. King, who is an excellent outside shooter, great athlete, and terrific student, also is considering Pennsylvania, Wichita State, Northern Iowa, and LaSalle.
There is always a premium on size, especially at the lower Division I level, which is why Hampton University head coach Steve Merfeld has to be so happy with the commitment he received several days ago from 6'11 Mike Green from St. Louis (Hazelwood East) MO. Hampton also got a a steal earlier when they landed 6'4 Issac Jefferson from Columbus (West) OH, who is one of the top five seniors in Ohio.
Several other commitments that we've picked up in the last several days include 6'2 Brian Dux from Orchard Park (H.S.) NY to Canisius, 6'2 Clint Weddle from Terre Haute (North) to South Dakota, and 6'9 Joe Kirchofer from Elk Grove (Laguna Creek) CA to Stanford. The most noteworthy obviously is Kirchofer, who ranked #6 on West Coast Hoops latest ratings of west coast centers.
Last night our Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin talked with the father of 6'6 LaVell Blanchard from Ann Arbor (Pioneer) MI, who ranks #13 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, but found out very little new, except that Blanchard appears to be a long way from making a decision. As it stands now, with the fall signing period set to begin in less than two weeks, Blanchard has yet to take an official visit. But he does have three official visits scheduled to Virginia, California, and Georgetown. He lives right by the campus, so he doesn't need to take an official visit to the University of Michigan. He's also been to Notre Dame unofficially and the University of Wisconsin and Penn State within driving distance. Also still hoping to get either an official or unofficial visit are Oregon State, Minnesota, and Davidson.
Friday, October 30, 1998
Bobby Jacobs, the Executive Director of the Slam Dunk to the Beach, called me yesterday to talk about teams for his tournament for December 1999. He tells us that he already has signed contracts from Philadelphia (Roman Catholic) PA, Houston (Milby) TX, Fresno (Washington Union) CA, Louisville (Ballard) KY, Brooklyn (Bishop Loughlin) NC, Fayetteville (71st) NC, and East Greenbush (Columbia) NY. Included in this group are two of the nation's top four juniors - 6'5 Jr Deshawn Stevenson from Fresno (Washington Union) CA and 6'8 Jr Alton Ford from Houston (Milby) TX - and a top 10 junior in 6'8 Jr Eddie Griffin from Philadelphia (Roman Catholic) PA. But Jacobs appears to be far from done getting great teams and players, as he assures us he is working on several major surprises.
Where are all the University of Houston fans that were giving me a hard time a month ago when I need them? All day I've been hearing that 6'8 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX had committed to Houston, but we weren't able to confirm it until we talked with David Benerza, the Editor and Publisher of Recruiting USA, who got it from Williams' father. This is huge, because Houston's recruiting class, which already includes 6'11 Chris Andersen from Blinn (JC) TX, 6'4 Antonio Falu from Houston (Waltrip) TX, and 7'5 Yao Ming from Shanghai, China, moves into the top five nationally any way you slice. We're not sure if Ming's commitment is official and others doubt whether he will ever make it out of China to attend college in the United States. But if he does count, Houston's class would be tied at #2 with Michigan and Virginia, both of which are only one point behind Kentucky. In otherwords, with Ming it would be too close to call among those four schools. If you don't count Ming, Houston would still be tied for 4th with Duke with 22 points. Obviously, the new coaching staff has eliminated all doubts about whether they can get the top players in Texas to stay home. And if they prove to be as good on the bench, the Cougars could become a powerhouse in Conference USA in a hurry.
I received an email yesterday from Tom Gazaway, a subscriber and fan in Camden, NJ who tells us that the new coach at Camden (H.S.) NJ is Glen Jackson. Although Jackson was an assistant coach at Camden the last several years, this does not appear to be "a real popular choice." So unpopular that several players, including 6'2 Soph Dajuan Wagner and 6'7 Jr Arthur Barclay are both to be considering transferring. We've also confirmed this with our Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin, who tells us that the school that is being mentioned most is Camden (Catholic) NJ.
Indiana University, which is still waiting to see what will happen with 6'11 George Leach from Charlotte (Olympic) NC, 6'7 Jeffrey Newton from Atlanta (Mays) GA, and 6'9 Will Johnson from Hickory (H.S.) NC, appears to have added several new faces to their recruiting list. Inside Indiana is reporting that they have gotten involved with 6'11 center Ivan Kartelo from Winchendon (School) MA, as well as a sleeper from Alabama in 6'7 Josh Bryant from Town Creek (Hatton) AL.
Thursday, October 29, 1998
UNC-Charlotte got a major commitment several weeks ago from 6'9 Rodney White from Kensington (Newport) MD, who will rank among the top 70 seniors nationally when we come out with our new rankings in November. Now they have an even bigger commitment, because 6'5 James Zimmerman from Indian Hills (JC) IA, who ranks as the #4 junior college player in America by Rick Ball, has announced for the 49ers.
Had 6'10 Steve Hunter not transferred from Durham (Mt. Zion Christian) NC back to Maywood (Proviso East) IL a month ago, we think he might have ended up at Nebraska, instead DePaul. Not only had Nebraska done a great job recruiting Hunter, but there was a definite connection, because Cornhuskers assistant coach Cleo Hill was formerly an assistant coach at Mt. Zion Christian. However, we still think this connection will pay off, because the Cornhuskers are the leader over Memphis and Southern Mississippi for 6'7 Kenny Booker from Durham (Mt. Zion Christian) NC. Our Ohio Editor Chris Johnson tells us that Booker and 6'6 Steffon Bradford from Compton (JC) CA, who is a first team All-American junior college player, both had great visits to Nebraska last weekend. Johnson also thinks Nebraska is among the final three for Bradford, along with UNLV and Missouri.
Our Philadelphia Editor Allen Rubin tells us that it is finally official for 6'3 Chris Monroe from Wheaton (Good Counsel) MD, who was the MVP at the Charlie Webber Tournament in College Park, MD last month. Monroe joins 6'0 Val Brown from Springfield (Robert E. Lee) VA, who picked George Washington several weeks ago.
Last night our Indiana Editor Jim Kasberg talked with 6'8 Jr Zach Randolph from Marion (H.S.) IN, who he now ranks as the #1 junior ahead of 6'9 Jr Jared Jeffries from Bloomington (North) IN. The list that Randolph gave us included Michigan State, UCLA, Kentucky, Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, Georgetown, and Georgia Tech.
Bob Weiss, the Editor & Publisher of Ohio Roundball Prep, tells us about three commitments from players in the state of Ohio. Butler gets 6'7 Joel Cornette from Cincinnati (St. Xavier) OH, Ohio University gets 6'6 Steve Esterkamp from Cincinnati (LaSalle) OH, and 6'7 Keith Waleskowski from Kettering (Alter) OH is going to Dayton. However, according to Chris Johnson of the HOOP SCOOP, Waleskowski will walk-on his first year with the Flyers. Johnson thinks this could give Dayton a huge recruiting advantage down the road with Waleskowski's younger brother Adam, who is a 6'8 sophomore and ranks either #1 or #2 in the state in his class. "He's already getting a lost of interest from Cincinnati and Ohio State, as well as several ACC schools," says Johnson.
Getting a read on where 6'6 Matt Carroll from Horsham (Hatboro-Horsham) PA and 6'1 Todd Billet from Lincroft (Christian Brothers) NJ might be leaning has been next to impossible lately. However, we now think we may know something that could indicate that Villanova is in a better position than most people realize. Last night the Wildcats, which were #2 behind Rhode Island on the list of 6'3 Brian Woodward from Bayside (Cardozo) NY, called Woodward to tell him they were no longer recruiting him. This would make perfect sense if Villanova thought they were getting Carroll and/or Billet. But it would make no sense if they weren't getting either player.
The Louisville Courier-Journal is reporting that Western Kentucky has picked up a pair of commitments from 6'5 Jimmy Boykin from Jackson (Murrah) MS and 6'8 Nate Williams from Raleigh (Ravenscroft) NC, both of whom rank among the top 250 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Boykin picked the Hilltoppers over Southern Mississippi, Alcorn State, and Jackson State. Williams was also recruited by College of Charleston and Old Dominion.
Wednesday, October 28, 1998
Like everybody in the public eye, we certainly have our critics, but they don't seem to do a very good job of calling us on it when we blow it big-time. So maybe I should help them. For the 5th time this fall we really look bad on our reporting. The first was 6'5 Antonio Jackson from Butler County (JC) KS, who we said was going to Alabama after we got an erroneous tip from a junior college coach. After four phone calls from interested parties, we retracted it. The second was when somebody who runs a very legitimate scouting service, but who doesn't pay much attention to recruiting, told us that 6'4 Jarrett Hart from Little Rock (Central) AR had committed to Arkansas. This was not correct! The third was when Jim Kasberg gave us the impression that 6'6 Caron Butler from Pittsfield (Maine Central) ME had publicly announced for Purdue. Again this was not correct! The fourth was day before yesterday when South Florida Correspondent Bob Starkman told us that 6'9 Antonio Latimer was returning to Miami (Senior) FL to try and get eligible. Then, yesterday he retracked it when he told us that Latimer was going back to prep school in Massachusetts. Now he has retracked it again and confirmed what Chris Johnson told us yesterday, that Latimer was now at Independence (JC) KS. Unfortunately my call to Independence (JC) KS assistant coach Veshawn Stepps yesterday was not returned, so I still have to rely on what Starkman, who is 0-2 in the last 48 hours, is telling me about Latimer. The fifth was today when Allen Rubin gave me the impression that 6'3 Jaron Brown from Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME was going to Pittsburgh. Apparently I heard him wrong, because now he is telling me that he is only leaning to Pittsburgh, which is something we reported two months ago and is hardly even news. Moral to the story, when somebody gives us bad information, that person loses credibility and a lot of extra time has to be spent confirming their reports in the future. Fortunately this is the exception and not the rule. Chris Johnson is the best in the business at being accurate and usually Rubin and Kasberg are as good as gold.
The only surprise is what took 6'5 Kareem Rush from Kansas City (Pembroke Hill) MO so long to commit to UCLA, which according to Michael Miller on West Coast Hoops, happened today. Rush is exactly what the Bruins need, because he is a lights out 3-point shooter. However, he had a bad summer and this extremely interesting, because he was one of the only players who looked good the year before while playing on the loaded CMH 76ers team that featured Jaron Rush, Korleone Young, and Corey Maggette. Perhaps Kareem is better when he has good players around him, which will be the case at UCLA, instead of when he has to carry the load, which was the case this summer. The Bruins are also still believed to be the leader for 6'9 Carlos Boozer from Juneau (Douglas) AK, although Duke is making a two horse race. We also have confirmed that UCLA will get a visit before the beginning of the fall signing period, which always begins on the second Wednesday in November, from 6'8 Justin Davis from Alameda (St. Joseph) CA, who had committed to the University of California, but recently opened his recruitment back up.
Originally we had been told that 6'10 Steve Hunter from Maywood (Proviso East) IL was supposed to have held a press conference yesterday. But to the best of our knowledge it was never held, because it was already common knowledge. Both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune both reported he'd committed to the DePaul coaching staff late last week. Although there has never been an official announcement, Hunter's AAU coach Mac Irvin confirmed last night that the commitment Hunter made a week ago, while on his official visit, is as a good as gold.
Our Ohio Editor Chris Johnson reports that 6'8 John Smith from South Charleston (H.S.) WV, who is the #2 player in the state according to the HOOP SCOOP, has picked Virginia Tech over West Virginia, Rutgers, and Xavier.
We just confirmed it - 6'5 Jamaal Crawford from Seattle (Rainier Beach) WA announced for the University of Michigan tonight. Crawford is one of the best athletes in the nation and, although he is not a great outside shooter, it doesn't matter. Nobody stops this guy going to the hole and he has the ball handling and passing skills to help out at the point guard spot when needed. Currently Crawford ranks as one of the best 5th year players in the nation by the HOOP SCOOP and we think he will be a great complement to 6'4 Kevin Gaines from Las Vegas (Clark) NV, who is capable of putting up big numbers from the point guard spot. With this commitment, Michigan, which also already has commitments from 6'5 Gavin Groninger from Plainfield (H.S.) MI and 6'8 Leland Anderson from North Attleboro (H.S.) MA, moves into a tie with Virginia for the #2 recruiting class with 25 points and four players each. And that's only one point behind Kentucky's #1 ranked class, which also has four recruits and 26 points.
Tuesday, October 27, 1998
We are now getting reports that 6'4 Joe Forte from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, who ranks #21 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP and is one of the best outside shooters in the nation, has told the North Carolina coaching staff that he will sign with the Tar Heels in November. No surprise, but we think this also will solidify 6'7 Michael Dunleavy from Portland (Jesuit) OR for Duke, which currently is the leader over North Carolina and Stanford. Forte's list includes North Carolina, N.C. State, and Georgia Tech. Speaking of Georgia Tech, we are also still predicting that head coach Bobby Cremins will get 6'7 Damien Wilkins from Orlando (Dr. Phillips) FL, who also still has N.C. State and Kentucky on his list.
Where is 6'9 Antonio Latimer? This is another guy we almost need a scorecard to keep track of. Originally from Puerto Rico and Melbourne (Air Academy) FL, Latimer established his national reputation in the summer at 1997 at the adidas ABCD Camp. He then transferred to Miami (Senior) FL and signed with DePaul a year ago, but make the necessary test score and grades to be eligible as a freshman. So this fall Latimer enrolled at Winchendon (School) MA, but had some problems that caused him to left school. It had been rumored that he was back in Puerto Rico, but now our South Florida Correspondent Bob Starkman tells us that Latimer is back at Miami Senior trying to get eligible. Starkman also thinks Latimer will likely end up at Florida International. And this makes perfect sense, because head coach Shakey Rodriguez was the head coach at Miami Senior before he left for the college level several years ago. Rodriguez also has a history of turning around troubled kids who wouldn't get another chance in most circles. After posting this today, Chris Johnson, our Ohio Editor, called and told us that he thought Latimer had surfaced at Independence (JC) KS. However that doesn't appear to be true, because Starkman found out today that Latimer was in Miami last week to testify in a deposition involving the Miami Senior situation, but has since decided to return to prep school in Massachusetts.
Despite the fact the University of Alabama didn't get 6'10 Marvin Stone from Huntsville (Grissom) AL, it looks like the new regime is well on its way towards landing a top 10 recruiting class. Earlier the Crimson Tide had signed 6'7 Rod Grizzard from Birmingham (Central Park Christian) AL and 6'8 Erwin Dudley from Uniontown (R.C. Hatch) AL, who rank #2 and #3 in the senior class in Alabama, respectively. And last night they added 6'2 Terrance Meade from Scottsboro (H.S.) AL, who currently ranks #139 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Other possibilities include 6'9 Kenny Walker from Jacksonville (Wolfson) FL and 6'2 Derrick Zimmerman from Gossman (H.S.) LA, both of whom are expected to make official visits to Tuscaloosa, AL this weekend. Walker's top three are Alabama, Florida State, and South Florida. Zimmerman also likes Tulane, Clemson, and Texas. We also think Alabama will be tough to beat for 6'5 Antonio Jackson from Butler County (JC) KS, who is the #1 ranked junior college combo guard in the nation, but we don't think he's going to do anything until spring.
Mississippi State finally has gotten 6'7 Alonzo Lane from Canton (H.S.) MS, who ranks #90, to recommit. If you will recall, he committed to the Bulldogs last spring, but then changed his mind, because he wanted to go through the recruiting process. With Lane in the fold, Mississippi State now has the two best players in the state. Last week they also got 6'11 Jonathan Bender from Picayune (H.S.) MS, who ranks #12 nationally, but has as much potential and talent as anybody in the senior class. The Bulldogs are basically done recruiting this year, unless they can land another quality big guy. However, they already are the heavy favorite for 6'9 Jr Darius Rice from Jackson (Lanier) MS, who promises to be the one of the two best players in the state next year, as well as a top 40 player nationally. The other top junior in the state - 6'7 Jr Justin Reed from Jackson (Provine) MS - appears to be a lock for Ole Miss, but our sources tell us that Mississippi State plans on at least making it interesting.
The University of Tennessee has kept pace with Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Alabama, all of whom have received commitments with the last 24-hours, by landing 6'9 Carlton Arron from Bronx (South Bronx) NY via Chesapeake (Atlantic Shore Christian) VA. Arron has always been an effective rebounder inside, but when we saw him at the Charlie Webber Tournament last month, we were impressed with the way he has lost weight and baby fat. As a result, he's much quicker and more athletic, which means he's a great recruit for the Volunteers.
Our Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin talked with the father of 6'6 Matt Carroll from Horsham (Hatbor-Horsham) PA last night and (just like the rest of his visits) the party line is that he had a great visit to Notre Dame over the weekend. While Rubin didn't get any clue as to which school - Villanova, Wake Forest, Penn State, St. Joseph's, or Notre Dame - Carroll make pick, he does think a decision could be forthcoming sometime this week. Stay tuned.
Hulan Pickett, the editor & publisher U.S. High School Hoops, which is based in North Carolina, tells us that he doesn't think N.C. State is as strong as they were for 6'7 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX, because Williams isn't sure he can walk in and start as a freshman. Pickett also tells us that 6'4 Joe Forte from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD had a great visit to N.C. State last weekend. Also making an unofficial visit to N.C. State last weekend was 6'10 Jr Micah Bell from Raleigh (Enloe) NC, who Pickett ranks #5 among juniors in North Carolina, and the week before the Wolfpack had the top ranked junior from both North Carolina and South Carolina on campus in 6'5 Jr Dwon Clifton from Westchester (H.S.) NC and 6'5 Jr Jerome Harper from Columbia (Keenan) SC.
At Five-Star's Honesdale II session several months ago, 6'11 Micah Brand from Milford (Academy) CT gave us a list that included over 20 schools, including everybody in the Big East. But now it appears that he has narrowed it down to a more manageable number. His top four are Penn State, Massachusetts, Miami-FL, and St. John's. We think it's currently too close to call.
Nobody in the Ivy League has landed more than one player, except Brown, which has commitments from 6'4 Earl Hunt from Wheaton Good (Counsel) MD and 6'7 Kelly Kramer from Rancho Santa Margarita (Santa Margarita Catholic) CA. Also sitting out this year is another likely impact player - 6'0 point guard Jihan Bowes-Little (a transfer from the University of Portland), who is expected to help Brown quickly become one of the better players in the league.
Monday, October 26, 1998
Head coach Jerry Wainwright has already built the UNC-Wilmington program into a winner (the Seahawks were 20-11 a year ago and they should be even better this season), but when we found out today that 6'6 Justin Leith from Princeton (Day School) NJ has committed, it was more than enough to turn our head. Leith , who we saw at a number of places during the spring and summer, doesn't rank among our top 100 nationally. But he's close, because he's is quick enough and athletic enough and he shoots it well enough to play outside, but at the same time is tough enough and a good enough rebounder to be a force inside.
It is now official, 6'9 Marquis Estill from Richmond (Madison Central) KY, who was one of the biggest sleepers in the nation when he emerged this summer, as expected, announced for the University of Kentucky this afternoon. He picked the Wildcats over Tennessee, which finished a distant second on his list. Estill, who currently ranks #110 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, also considered Louisville, Dayton, Western Kentucky, and UAB. This commitment is especially important, because it moves the Wildcats back into the #1 spot in our rankings of the top recruiting classes thus far during the fall signing period.
Allen Rubin, our Philadelphia Area Editor, tells us that 6'8 Rasual Butler from Philadelphia (Roman Catholic) PA and 6'6 Aaron Matthews from Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, both passed the SAT on their lastest attempt and, as a result, will be eligible immediately after the first semester of classes end in late December at Villanova and LaSalle, respectively. This is especially good news for LaSalle, because he was the best high school player in Philadelphia last year and is expected to make a major immediate impact for the Explorers.
Sunday, October 25, 1998
Mark Mayemura, the managing editor of Recruiting USA is predicting that the University of Mississippi another commitment within the next week and we find the connection very interesting, because the player he expects to commit is 6'8 Carl Baker from Palestine (Palestine-Wheatley) AR, who is the cousin of current Ole Miss senior Jason Smith. If this indeed happens, first year head coach Rod Barnes, who already has eight players from the Razorback state on his roster, will add at least two more, because he received commitments last week from 6'7 Josh Hayes from Little Rock (Parkview) AR and 6'9 Richard Kirklin from Pine Bluff (Watson Chapel) AR. However, we don't look for that trend to necessarily continue, because we think the new coaching staff, which also has three players in the fold from Mississippi, appears to will be in a better position to beat Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury in their own back yard beginning next year, especially with the top players in the state. Evidence of this fact comes from Mayemura, who tells us that current Ole Miss assistant Wayne Brent was former the head high school coach at Jackson (Provine) MS. Remember, we've been telling you that 6'6 Jr Justin Reed from Jackson (Provine) MS, who ranks among the top 20 juniors nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, is a near lock for Mississippi. Well, now you know why.
I have received an unconfirmed report that 6''7 Ray Austin Youngstown (Liberty) OH, who is one of the top five players in Ohio has verbally committment to Marquette Univesity. We also understand that the leading schools for the top junior in the state 6'5 Jr Julius Johnson Garfield Heights (HS) OH, who ranks #27 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, include Cincinnati, Xavier, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Cleveland State. It might also be important to point out that Johnson's older brother is former Ohio Mr. Basketball William "Sonny" Johnson, who is at now Cleveland State. Bob Weiss, the Editor & Publisher of Ohio Roundball Prep, has followed up on our unconfirmed report by calling Youngstown (Liberty) OH coach Bryan O'Hara earlier tonight. The official word is that he is down to Marquette, Fordham and Illinois State. He also says that Austin still plans to visit Illinois State. My source my know something, but right now it looks like he jumped the gun.
One of the things we've been working on this weekend is expanding our the number we have to other web sites. We have not only added links to most of the major recruiting sites, but also have added links to most of the major web pages for Arizona, Clemson, Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, N.C. State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Purdue, Stanford, Syracuse, Temple, UCLA, and Virginia. We will continue to add links to the sites for other schools, as time permits, until we have links for all of the major colleges and universities at the Division I level. Hopefully this will become an excellent reference source when you want to look for recruiting information on the internet. To go to this page click on links. If there is a site that you think we should add to the existing list or site that you want to make sure we include as we add other schools, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, October 24, 1998
It has been widely reported that 6'8 Justin Davis from Alameda (St. Joseph) CA had backed out of his commitment to the University of California, but we didn't know all the details until yesterday when we talked with Mark Mayemura, the managing editor of Recruiting USA. He tells us that Davis wanted to look at other schools, but when he opened his recruitment back up, Cal head coach Ben Braun withdrew the scholarship offer. Davis has also recently found out that his grades aren't good enough to get admitted into Stanford, which means his second choice has also been eliminated. Our guess is that Davis may opt for UCLA, unless he decides to completely open his recruiting back up. Obviously, this means that the University of California now has a scholarship available and Mayemura tells us not to be surprised if 6'8 Dalron Johnson from Los Angeles (Fairfax) CA commits this weekend while making an official visit to the Berkeley campus. And this would make perfect sense, because three of his teammates - 5'10 Shantay Legans from Goleta (Dos Puebles) CA, 6'4 Brian Wethers from Murietta (Murietta Valley) CA, and 6'9 Nick Vanderlaan from Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT - from the L.A. Rockfish program, all have committed to California this fall and yet another Rockfish players - 6'10 Solomon Hughes from Fork Union (Military) VA - signed with the Golden Bears last spring. But Mayemura tells us that UNLV is still probably the leader for Johnson over Duquesne and California. The Runnin' Rebels have recruited him the longest and strongest.
Last week we also did some checking about the 6'10 Serbian player that UCLA was supposed to be recruiting, but a very well placed source tells us that the Bruins are only recruiting two players - 6'9 Carlos Boozer from Juneau (Douglas) AK and 6'5 Kareem Rush from Kansas City (Pembroke Hill) MO. This is extremely interesting, because we thought the Bruins would jump back into the race for 6'8 Justin Davis from Alameda (St. Joseph) CA. Maybe they have in the last few days or maybe will!
Full Court Magazine is reporting that 6'9 Kenny Walker from Jacksonville (Wolfson) FL) , who is taking a visit to South Florida this weekend, has narrowed his list down to three schools - Florida State, South Florida, and Alabama. We think he pick South Florida.
Friday, October 23, 1998
St. Catharine (JC) KY has 13 freshmen and only three sophomores this year, but one player who already is drawing a lot of attention is 6'11 Soph Todd Fields, who originally signed with Baylor out of high school two years ago. Fields is a physical specimen, which is why he is already drawing interest from schools like South Carolina, Texas A&M, Cleveland State, Indiana State, and Louisville.
Our Mid-South Editor Jim Rothman is now predicting that it will be very tough to beat the University of Arkansas for 6'8 Antonio Meeking from Farmerville (H.S.) LA and 5'9 Charlie Tatum from Midland (H.S.) TX, both of whom were at the Razorbacks' version of Midnight Madness and both of whom are borderline top 100 players, according the HOOP SCOOP. Tatum told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he was "astonished by the fan support at Arkansas" and went on to say that it will be tough to top the incredible fan support he witnessed in Fayetteville, AR when he visits Memphis on Halloween weekend. Meeking, who also is considering Louisiana Tech, LSU, and Georgetown, echoed Tatum's sentiments.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported this morning that 6'10 Steve Hunter from Maywood (Proviso East) IL, who ranks #60 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, is going to DePaul. After doing some checking, we confirmed this fact, but it won't be official until next Tuesday, which is when he has the press conference scheduled. At that time he is expected to announce that DePaul has beaten Louisville, Nebraska, and UNLV. We also believe that the Blue Demons will get 6'11 Leon Smith from Chicago (Martin Luther King) IL, who ranks #4 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP. The other possibilities for Smith appear to be declaring hardship for the NBA draft next spring, if he doesn't make it academically and the labor dispute is settled by then, or Fresno State. Also still being mentioned for Smith are Rhode Island, Syracuse, and Louisville, but they are all long shots at best.
Before today, the University of Louisville was expecting to get 6'10 Steve Hunter from Maywood (Proviso East) IL on campus for an official visit on the weekend of November 7th, which is the same time that 6'5 Reese Gaines from Milwaukee (West) WI, will be in town. Louisville also is expecting to get an official visit this fall from 6'9 Jeremy McNeil from San Antonio (Sam Houston) TX and after finding out that 6'3 Jamison Brewer from Kensington (Newport Prep) MD is open again, they're making a strong push for this athletic point guard who can beat you both inside and outside. Brewer would be the ideal fit for Louisville, because he is tailor made for their uptempo style and they need a point guard in the worst way. As a matter of fact, if the Cardinals had somebody of Brewer stature, they could win 20-plus games this year, instead of the 12 that we're predicting.
The University of Mississippi, which will graduate six seniors this year, has already replaced five of them. Coming on the heels of yesterday's commitment from 6'7 Josh Hayes from Little Rock (Parkview) AR, Ole Miss has stolen another player away from Arkansas. Our Mid-South Editor Jim Rothman tells us that 6'9 Richard Kirklin from Pine Bluff (Watson Chapel) AR, who averaged 16 ppg and 9.7 rpg a year ago, picked Mississippi over Arkansas, St. Louis, and Alabama.
We also are hearing that 6'5 Marshall Williams from Milwaukee (Vincent) WI is no longer a lock for the University of Memphis. If you will recall, Cincinnati was also once believed to be a lock for Williams, but they took instead 6'5 Leonard Stokes from Buffalo (Turner-Carroll) NY. At that point the smart went on Memphis, but Michigan and Missouri also were still being mentioned. More recently he has added schools like New Mexico, Iowa, Georgetown and St. Louis. If you'll recall, we also mentioned that Williams and 6'5 Reese Gaines from Madison (West) WI are close friends and the possibility of a package might exist. Well, the only other school besides Memphis that has a chance of pulling off the package deal appears to be St. Louis and we hear they are working it hard. Also still being considered by Gaines are Clemson, Wisconsin, Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Michigan.
It now appears that Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Cincinnati are the final three for 6'9 Dermarr Johnson from Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME. A reliable source tells us that they are the only three schools that he plans to visit. Speaking of Cincinnati, due to a clerical error, Cincinnati was left off the our list of the top 20 recruiting classes. As it stands now the Bearcats would rank #9, tied with Michigan, Stanford, and Houston, but could actually move into the #1 spot if they were to get Johnson before Michigan lands the three palyers we expect them to get or before Duke lands 6'7 Michael Dunleavy from Portland (Jesuit) OR and possibily 6'9 Carlos Boozer from Juneau (Douglas) AK. However, we aren't predicting that will happen, because we think Pittsburgh is the leader for Johnson.
Thursday, October 22, 1998
Boston University of received a commitment from one of my favorite point guards in the nation - 6'1 John Sadusky from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD. This skilled point guard picks Terriers over Georgia State. Speaking of Boston University, I am told by a subscriber, Ernest Rosenthal, that Syracuse transfer 6' 6 Sam Spann shattered the backboard in a dunking exhibition during the Boston U Midnight Mayhem. As result, the planned intrasquad scrimmage was cancelled, but the crowd loved his dunk anyway.
Vincent Baldwin, the Editor & Publisher of Michigan Prep Spotlight called yesterday to tip us off about Bradley getting another commitment. The player we're talking about is 6'0 J.R. Wallace from Muskegon (Reeths Puffer) MI, who now ranks as the #2 point guard in the state after emerging as the biggest sleeper at Baldwin's Tournament last month.
Vincent Baldwin also tells us that 6'5 Jamal Crawford from Seattle (Rainier Beach) WA and 6'9 Jason Parker from Charlotte (West) MI, both are expected to be at the University of Michigan this weekend making their official visist during the Michigan-Indiana football game. We've thought for sometime that the Wolverines were the favorite over Fresno State and St. John's for Crawford, but we also now think Michigan is the leader for Parker. Part of it is just gut feeling, but we've been hearding rumors that Parker's father and the Tar Heels Carolina coaching staff recently had a falling out. As a result, Parker may no longer be interested waiting until spring to see if a scholarship becomes available at North Carolina. If indeed this happens, Michigan could end up with the #1 recruiting class in the nation. Remember, the Wolverines already have commitments from three very good players in 6'4 Kevin Gaines from Las Vegas (Clark) NV, who ranks #10 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP; 6'8 Leland Anderson from North Attleboro (H.S.) MA, who ranks #85 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP; and 6'6 Gavin Groninger from Plainfield (H.S.) IN, who ranks #86 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Crawford will rank as one of the top five 5th year players nationally by the HOOP SCOOP and Parker checks in at #18 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. However, the key for head coach Brian Ellerbe is getting 6'6 LaVell Blanchard from Ann Arbor (Pioneer) MI, who ranks #13 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP and was our choice for Player of the Summer. Right now it's a war among Virginia, Georgetown, and Michigan, but when it is said and done, we think it is very tough to beat Michigan for a kid in their own back yard. Baldwin agrees and predicts that the Wolverines will get him late in the early signing period. If all this fall into place for Michigan, they would have 41 points, which would put them way out in front in terms of who signed the most quality and quantity. However, they also are still right there for 6'9 Aloyius Anagona from Detroit (St. Martin (DePorres) MI, who ranks #37 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, and 6'6 Richard Wright from East Chicago (Central) MI, who ranks #87 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. This could get real interesting!
Our Mid-South Editor Jim Rothman tells us that the University of Mississippi continues to do well getting the top players in their back yard. The latest being 6'7 Josh Hayes from Little Rock (Parkview) AR. He joins 6'4 Emmanuel Wade from Marianna (Lee) MS, 6'10 John Guinn from Oxford (H.S.) MS, and 6'3 Aaron Harper from Jackson (Provine) MS. While none of these players rank among the top 100 nationally, they all are in the next group and they are similar to the type of players Ole Miss has been getting it done with in recent years.They provide an excellent nucleus, but the guy the have to get is 6'6 Jr Justin Reed from Jackson (Provine) MS, who is widely regarded as the #1 junior in the state and a top 20 junior nationally. We think that will likely happen, because Harper is currently his teammate and 6'3 David Sanders, who signed with the Rebels a year ago, is an alumnus of Provine High School.
Our Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin tells us that Holy Cross has been busy accepting commitments lately. Within the last 24 hours they got 6'2 Brian Wilson from Metuchen (St. Joseph) NJ and 6'0 Mark Jerz from Oradell (Bergen Catholic) NJ and at the beginning the of the week Kristopher Clemmons from Chicago (Martin Luther King) IL also committed to the Crusaders.
When 6'11 Jesse Young from Peterbourgh (Collegiate) ON picked George Mason it save the University of Virginia from have to decide to give their one remaining to him scholarship or to wait and see if they get 6'6 LaVell Blanchard from Ann Arbor (Pioneer) MI. Our guess is that they would have waited, because earlier this week the Cavaliers backed off 6'6 Ronald Dupree from Biloxi (H.S.) MS, who ranks #73 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. When a school that is in your final two or three bails out, it can make a kid nervous, which might explain why Dupree committed to LSU almost immediately after he found out Virginia was no longer recruiting him.
Several days ago Patrick Jira of the Recruiting Beat reported that South Florida has landed 6'0 Reggie Kohn from Winter Park (Lake Howell) FL and 6'10 Garrick Morris of Wellington (H.S.) FL. We also are looking for the Bulls to get 6'9 Kenny Walker from Jacksonville (Wolfson) FL, who ranks #71 nationall by the HOOP SCOOP. If head coach Seth Greenberg pulls this off, he'll not only have one of the best forward combinations in the league (remember they got B.B. Walden a year ago), but he will have done what we thought might be impossible. South Florida has proved to be a grave yard job for a number of his predecessors, but Greenberg and his top assistant Dave Zimroth, who is one of the best recruiters in America, will have brought in three consecutive excellent recruiting classes.
Radford University has gotten two excellent commitments with the last 48 hours in 6'6 Prosper Karanywa from Montreal (Dawson College) QU, and 6'3 Raymond Arrington from Bedford (Liberty) VA.Karanywa impressed us when we saw him at the Charlie Webber Tournament last month and Arrington was the AA player of the year as both a sophomore and a junior in Virginia.
Georgetown may have lost out on 6'3 Jamison Brewer from Kensington (Newport Prep) MD when they recently got a commitment from 6'2 Demetrius Hunter from Las Vegas (Cheyenne) NV, but the Hoyas now have some good news, because one of the top juniors in the Washington, DC area in 6'8 Jr Michael Sweetney from Oxon Hill (H.S.) MD has made a early commitment.
Wednesday, October 21, 1998
Nobody in American does a better job of identifying who he can recruit and then targeting them and getting it done than Jim Larranaga and his staff at George Mason. Previously we predicted that the Patriots might just steal 6'11 Jesse Young from Peterborough (Collegiate) ON, who not only would rank among the top 100 seniors nationally if he played in the United States, but also is the best player to come out of Canada since Kentucky landed Jamal Magloire. Yesterday our foresight proved accurate when Young picked George Mason over Boston College, Virginia, Dayton, DePaul, Providence, and Oregon State. Deserving special mention is assistant coach Bill Courtney, because he did an outstanding job of recruiting Young, who apparently made up his mind during official visit to George Mason's Midnight Madness over the weekend. And this could be just the tip of the iceberg, because also on hand at George Mason over the weekend was the crafty left-handed point guard 6'0 Jamaal Gilchrist from Middleburg (Notre Dame) VA, who was making his first and perhaps only official visit.
Contrary to what has been reported by some pre-season magazines and internet sites that provide information on junior college players, 6'4 Estaban Weaver is not at Tallahassee (JC) FL. Instead he is at NAIA school in Wilberforce, OH, because he flunked out of junior college last spring, but didn't do anything to make it up during the summer. As a result, he has enrolled in classes at Central State University and must pass all of his classes during the fall quarter to be eligible for the season, which starts November 20th.
Jerry Scarbrough, who has a publication that covers the University of Texas, tells us about another commitment that has not been widely reported. Apparently 6'7 William Wyatt from Grand Prairie (South Grand Prairie ) TX, who committed to Texas a week ago. Mitch Malone, who publishes the Texas Blue Chip Scouting Report, doesn't rank Wyatt any higher than #28 in Texas, but his value may skyrocket once he overcomes injury problems that have sidelined him both during the summer and last winter.
Mitch Malone is also reporting that SMU has a commitment from 6'5 Quintin Ross from Dallas (Kimball) TX, who ranks among the top 15 in the state by Texas Blue Chip Report.
Rob Matera of Full Court Magazine is reporting that 6'3 Jamison Brewer, who transferred from East Point (Tri Cities) GA to Kensington (Newport Prep) MD this fall, is no longer a lock for Georgetown. As a matter of fact, he's eliminated the Hoyas, because they recently got a commitment from 6'2 Demetrius Hunter from Las Vegas (Cheyenne) NV, who ranks #78 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Right now Brewer ranks #65 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, but after we watched him dominate at the Charlie Webber Tournament a month ago, I can guarantee that he'll be ranked among our top 30 nationally when our new national rankings are finally completed (hopefully sometime in the not too distant future). Brewer told Matera that he is currently wide open, but the three schools that have shown the most interest since his recruitment opened back up are LSU, Texas, and South Florida.
Our Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin tells us that St. Bonaventure has gotten it done with 6'3 Eric Siegrist from Poughkeepsie (Spackenhill) NY. This is major, because Siegrist not only ranks #82 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, but he is one of the best 3-pointer shooters in the nation. Patrick Jira of the Recruiting Beat tells us that Siegrist's AAU teammate 6'7 James Thomas from Schenectady (H.S.) NY has left his hometown and has transferd to Milford (Academy) CT. "Thomas is a long shot to qualify, but he is still planning on taking visits to Providence and Fordham," says Jira.
Ron Briscoe, Editor & Publisher of Ron Briscoe's Regional Scouting Service, which covers the South, called today to give us the scoop on 6'4 Bernard King from Gibsland (Gibsland-Coleman) LA, committing to Texas A&M. This is a big piece to the puzzle for new head coach Melvin Watkins, because King, who ranks #59 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, a prolific scorer and great passer, which means he is versatile enough to play either guard spot.
The University of Miami-FL already has commitments from two of the top players in Miami in 6'9 James Jones from Miami (American) FL and 6'7 Djahaue Rodrigue from Miami (Northwest Christian) FL, but our Ohio Editor Chris Johnson, who also has a vast knowledge of international players, thinks the Hurricanes are on the verge of also adding another local player with some Italian flavor. Johnson tells us that they placed 6'9 Tomas Ress, who was the top player on the 18-Under Italian National Team in July in the tournament in Bulgaria, at Hialeah (Champagnat Catholic) FL. When asked who else is recruiting Ress, Johnson said, "Nobody. Miami's the only school that even knows about him."
Tuesday, October 20, 1998
Our Ohio Editor Chris Johnson is reporting that Florida State has picked up another commitment from 6'8 Rodney Tucker from Stone Mountain (H.S.) GA, who is ranked as the #2 senior in the state by our Georgia Editor Linzy Davis. Several weeks ago the Seminoles got a commitment from 6'9 Mike Mathews from Fork Union (Military) VA.
We now have confirmation that Central Florida has a major steal in 6'1 Alfred Miller from Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME, who ranks #121 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Miller, who transferred from Washington (Coolidge) DC this fall, is a quick athletic point guard who makes his teammates better. However, we think of him as just a good role, because when we say him this summer on the loaded DC Assault Team, which featured 6'9 Dermarr Johnson from Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME and 6'4 Keith Bogans from Hyattsville (Dematha) MD, he usually got lost in the shuffle. However, at Central Florida he could emerge into a star.
Patrick Jira of the Recruiting Beat has a major scoop. "The Minnesota Golden Gophers struggled last year in large part due to their weak/small front court," says Jira. "Clem Haskins went out and got 7-footer Joel Pryzbilla last year and now adds 6'11 Ryan Wildenborg of Kirkland (Juanita) WA to the mix. Wildenborg gives the Gophers a commitment and will likely start at power forward next season, with 7 foot Pryzbilla playing center." It will also be interesting to see where 6'8 Mike Bauer from Hastings (H.S.) MN, who ranks #31 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, fits in. Right now Bauer, who committed to Minnesota several months ago, is a power forward all the way. However, if he learns to shoot the ball from outside, eventually could develop into a wing forward, because he's definitely quick enough and athletic enough to play outside. Also Wildenborg, who ranks #35 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, will likey also move to center when they want to give Pryzbilla a breather. Getting back to Jira, he tells us that the new version of his web site is being launched later this week and I plan on being one of his first subscribers, because like so many of you, I want all the information I can get.
Ron Naclerio is reporting that Providence College has gotten a major commitment from 6'10 David Murray from Mesa (JC) AZ. Murray, who is originally from Bronx (All Hallows) NY. Murray signed with Nebraska a year ago, but had to go back to junior college, because he didn't have enough credits to graduate and become eligible at a four year school. Chris Johnson, our Ohio Editor, thinks that Murray could possibly be eligible to play second semester this year if he graduates from junior college in December. We are checking on this and will report what we find about this later tonight or tomorrow. Johnson is absolutely correct, but sources close to the Providence program tell us that Murray will not play this year, because they want him for two full seasons.
Monday, October 19, 1998
We got an email from Rob Matera of Full Court Magazine about 6'9 Rodney White from Kensington (Newport Prep) MD, who ranks #71 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP and was the MVP with a 44 point effort in the championship game at Wayne Simone's And1 Hoop Challenge a month ago in Connecticut. Last night he picked UNC-Charlotte over Pittsburgh. White has an excellent 3-point shot, but he doesn't have the quickness and finesse to defend the wing forward spot. So we'll call him a power forward who can step out. But he also has proved he can be a force inside, especially when he decides to go strong to the hole, like he did at Simone's tournament in Connecticut.
The rumor we were hearing last week about 6'9 Marquis Estill from Richmond (Madison Central) KY, who ranks #110 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, committing to the University of Kentucky during his visit to Midnight Madness over the weekend proved to be wrong . However, we still think he will commit to Kentucky and our sources tell us that it will happen a week from today. The press conference is scheduled for 1:00 PM, October 26th. Assuming that Estill does commit to Kentucky, that would move their recruiting class back into the #1 position nationally just ahead of Virginia and well ahead of Duke.
G.J. King, the director of the Chicago based Recruiter on Line, provides us with a fascinating list for 6'9 Demetrius Williams from Chicago (Martin Luther King) IL. It appears that Washington leads Ball State, Southwestern Louisiana, and Northeastern.
According to HOOP SCOOP Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin, the top three schools for 7'0 Josh Moore from Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT are DePaul, Rutgers, and St. John's. Also still on Moore's list are Villanova and Rhode Island.
It's a very slow news day for recruiting. So I've spent a good part of the evening working on our new Letters to the Editor Page, which promises to be one of our most popular pages. I love controversy and we start off with a bang. I also look forward to reading your comments and opinions. You can email me at email@example.com. You can go directly to the page by clicking on Letters.
Sunday, October 18, 1998
After posting our preliminary list of the top 20 recruiting classes late last week, I received an email from Stephen D. Rinkel, who was questioning why the University of Illinois was not on the list. After doing some checking it appears that 6'8 Marcus Griffin from Lincoln (JC) IL, who is one of the best junior college players in the nation, committed to the Fighting Illini last spring. This is important, because if I didn't know it, most people probably don't know it. With Griffin, Illinois' recruiting class is currently tied with Kansas and Ohio State at #5 on our list. This comes as no surprise, because Griffin's two former teammates high school teammates Sergio McClain and Frank Williams are already at Illinois. As a matter of fact, Rinkel tells us that Griffin attends every UI scrimmage and he has said that he plans to join his "boys" at UI.
Our New York City Editor Ron Naclerio tells us that 6'3 Brian Woodward from Bayside (Cardozo) NY called the coaching staff at Providence tonight and told them they were out. That leaves Rutgers, Villanova, and Rhode Island. Our guess is that he will go to Rhode Island, which is where he visited this weekend. Villanova also still has a shot, but Rutgers is a longshot at best, because they got in too late and they are one of the finalists for 6'1 Todd Billet from Lincroft (Christian Brothers) NJ. Speaking of Billet, Naclerio says that if Billet was a poker player, he'd be a first team All-American, because nobody seems to have a good read on where he might go to school. If you will recall, Naclerio is also Woodward's high school coach. So obviously Naclerio is asking the schools that are involved with both Woodward and Billet this very question, but even they don't seem to have a good feel for it.
Hofstra is one of the programs that does a great job of getting players who should be signing with schools at a higher level and this year they already have landed several players who fit this description. Earlier this fall head coach Jay Wright got 6'4 Danny Walker from Brooklyn (Paul Robeson) NY, who our New York City Editor Ron Naclerio thinks could play in the Atlantic 10 or the Big East down the road. And now they have a committment from 6'4 Rick Apodaca from North Bergen (H.S.) NJ, who is one of the best seniors in North Jersey.
Patrick Jira of the Recruiting Beat is reporting that 6'7 Donnell Harvey from Cuthbert (Randolph Clay) GA and 6'4 Ronald Blackshear from Chatham (Hargrave Military) VA were both at Clemson this weekend. But what he didn't tell you is that 6'8 Ray Henderson from Charlotte (East Mechlenburg) NC, who ranks #58 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, was on campus on Thursday unofficially and his visit apparently went so well that he gave new head coach Larry Shyatt a verbal commitment yesterday. Although Clemson signed Chucky Gilmore a year ago and now appears to have Henderson in the fold, we don't look for this to have a major effect on the recruitment of Harvey, because the Tigers have several front-line players, including 6'8 Harold Jamison and 6'10 Tom Wideman, who will be graduating after the current season. One of the big keys to getting Harvey is Blackshear, who committed to Clemson several months ago. Getting back to the Henderson commitment, look for it to become official later this week.
The regular season of the annual fall adidas sponsored IS8 Tip-Off Classic in New York is over and the playoffs begin this Tuesday. Our New York City Editor Ron Naclerio tells us that the top four teams that are receiving bye's in the tournament are Riverside Church, the Gauchos, B.Q. Express (mainly Christ the King players), and Mika (Paul Robeson's High School team). Opening round matchups on Tuesday include the New York Skyriders versus the New Rebels at 7:00 PM and Aim High versus South Side in a local battle at 8:30 PM. Wedneday's opening round games includes Wolfpack-JYO, led by 6'0 Jr Joel Suarez from Manhasset (St. Mary's) NY, versus Jamaica Youth Organization, which features 6'3 Brian Woodward, 6'3 Marcus Cox from Bridgeport (Kolbe Cathedral) CT, 6'5 Mark Jarrell-Wright from Newark (St. Benedict's) NJ, and 6'9 Nick Vanderlaan from Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT. The last game of the first round is Team Marbury, which includes most of the Brooklyn Lincoln High School team, versus Mt. Vernon, which is led by the sensational 6'0 Soph Benjamin Gordon from Mt. Vernon (H.S.) NY. On Thursday the quarterfinals will open up with Riverside Church against the winner of the Rebels-Skyriders game at 7:00 PM. Then at 8:30 PM the winner of Aim High-South Side will play B.Q. Express. If favored Aim High beats South Side, this matchup will feature 6'0 Jr Taliek Brown from Astoria (St. John's Prep) NY against 6'0 Omar Cook from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY. On Friday the quarterfinals at 6'30 PM will feature Mika against Wolfpack-JYO and the nightcap will feature the Gauchos against the winner of Team Marbury-Mount Vernon at 8:00 PM. The semi-finals will be played on Saturday at 11:00 AM and 12:30 PM and the championship is slated for high noon on Sunday.
Saturday, October 17, 1998
We have it right this time! Oklahoma has gotten a verbal commitment from 6'4 Jarrett Hart from Little Rock (Central) AR. If you will recall, we reported a month ago that Hart had committed to the University of Arkansas. It was supposed to happen, but then things changed and we had to retract it. As a matter of fact, this might have been our biggest miss in a long time, but sometimes you're only as good as your source.
Bowling Green may have a steal in 6'10 Kevin Netter from Richmond Dale (Southeastern) OH. "He has a lot of potential, but nobody knew about him, because he from a rural area, until he played well at the All-Ohio Hoop Challenge last month," says our Ohio Editor Chris Johnson.
Illinois State head coach Kevin Stalling gets the latest in a line of players, including Rico Hill, Kyle Cartmill, Tarrice Bryson, and Victor Williams, who can play at the high Division I level. We talking about 6'4 Perry Smith from Maywood (Proviso East) IL, who committed to the Redbirds several days ago. This athletic wing guard will rank among the top five seniors in the state when we come out with our rankings of the top players in Illinois later this month. He really stepped it up this summer when 6'10 Steve Hunter transferred to Durham (Mt. Zion Christian) NC. But now Hunter is back and Proviso East High School should be one of the best teams in Illinois this year.
Friday, October 16, 1998
Rice University has picked up commitments from 6'5 Jay Christian from Midland (H.S.) TX and 6'10 Brandon Evans from Sugar Land (Kempner) TX. Neither currently ranks among our top 100 nationally, but they're both not too far off. Evans is a wide bodied 6'10, 260 lbs. center with long arms, good hands, and the ability to run the court well for somebody his size. Christian, who plays for one of the top teams in Texas, is an athletic 2-guard who has improved dramatically in the last six months. However, the big prize could be 6'8 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX. That's right! His recruitment just got even crazier, as we add two new schools to his list. He will visit Notre Dame on the weekend of October 24th and Rice on the weekend of October 31st. Williams has already made official visits to N.C. State and Houston and he is visiting Vanderbilt this weekend. Apparently Michigan is out and Texas is a long shot at best.
Not only is Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury a great recruiter, but he appears to be smart enough not to let 6'11Jonathan Bender, who is probably his most important recruit ever, make his official visit to the University of Kentucky this weekend for Midnight Madness. He got it done early this afternoon when Bender made a surprise announcement for Mississippi State. He not only cancelled today's visit to Kentucky, but he picked the Bulldogs over Florida, Kentucky, and Memphis. This is huge, because Bender, who ranks #12 nationally in the class, has as much potential as anybody in the class. However, he needs to take his game back inside where he is especially effective blocking shots, rebounding, and scoring. Instead, this summer he spent most time out on the perimeter where he was often lost, even though he is a terrific 3-pointer shooter at 6'11.
Brian Hendrickson is reporting in the Wilmington Morning Star that UNC-Wilmington has gotten its first commitment of the fall signing period from 6'8 Craig Callahan from Cascade (H.S.) IA. Callahan, who is versatile enough to play either inside (10.5 rpg last season) or outside, picks the Seahawks over Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois, and Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The early returns are in and the #1 ranked recruiting class currently belongs to either Kentucky or Virginia, depending upon whether you include 6'6 Derek Smith from Ft. Thomas (Highlands) KY with Kentucky's recruiting class in basketball. Smith, who currently ranks as the #1 player in the state in both football and basketball, committed to the Kentucky earlier today. But let's assume that Smith doesn't count, because he'll sign a national letter-of-intent for football, instead of basketball. That means that Virginia gets our preliminary #1 ranking with four recruits and 25 points. If you will recall, a top five player nationally is worth 10 points, a top 10 players nationally is worth nine points, a top 40 player nationally is worth eight points, a top 70 player nationally is worth six points, and top 100 player nationally is worth four points, a top 300 player nationally is worth three points, a top 1000 player nationally is worth two points, and anybody not ranked among the top 1000 nationally is worth only one point. This is huge for Virginia, because new head coach Pete Gillen, who got the job seven months ago and only currently has seven players on scholarship, has already landed three terrific players in 6'0 Majestic Mapp from Bronx (St. Raymond's) NY, 6'4 Roger Mason from Wheaton (Good Counsel) MD, and 6'7 Travis Watson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA. And they also are still in the hunt for 6'6 LaVell Blanchard from Ann Arbor (Pioneer) MI, who, like both Mapp and Watson, ranks among our top 20 nationally. A lot of the credit should go to Virginia Bobby Gonzalez, who has proved that his ranking as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation by several of the pre-season basketball magazines is more than deserved. Gillen originally hired Gonzalez to help him recruit New York City when he was the head coach at both Xavier and Providence, but getting both Watson and Mason, who are Maryland and Texas kids, clearly establishes Gonzalez as one of the hottest young coaches in the nation. Obviously, Kentucky is second on the list of top recruiting classes, followed by 3) Duke, 4) Connecticut, 5) Kansas, 5) Ohio State, 7) Florida, 8) Michigan, 8) Houston, 8) Stanford, 11) Arizona State, 11) California, 13) Seton Hall, 13) Tennessee, 15) Georgetown, 16) Northwestern, 17) Alabama, 17) Arkansas, 19) Michigan State, and 20) Wisconsin. While this list is accurate as of today, it will likely be obsolete by the middle of next week, as the fallout after Midnight Madness begins to takes effect.
I received an email from a subscriber in Mississippi who recently talked with 6'6 Jr Justin Reed from Jackson (Provine) MS, who is widely regarded as the #1 junior in the state. He tells us that the early favorites for are Mississippi, Arkansas, N.C. State, and Kentucky, but right now the only school that has offered is Ole Miss. If you will recall, Mississippi also landed Reed's former teammate 6'3 David Sanders from Jackson (Provine) MS a year ago and more recently got a commitment from his current teammate 6'3 Aaron Harper from Jackson (Provine) MS, who ranks among the top 200 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP.
Thursday, October 15, 1998
It was official this morning - 6'7 Travis Watson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, who ranks #19 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, has committed to the University of Virginia. This is huge, because the Cavaliers already have commitments from 6'0 Majestic Mapp from Bronx (St. Raymond's) NY, who ranks as the #1 point guard in America by the Bob Gibbons of All-Star Sports, and 6'4 Roger Mason from Wheaton (Good Counsel) MD, who ranks #49 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. As a matter of fact, Virginia's recruiting class now has to be ranked #3 nationally behind Kentucky and Duke. And like the Wildcats and Blue Devils, Virginia isn't done yet. At the top of their list is 6'7 LaVell Blanchard from Ann Arbor (Pioneer) MI, who is ranked as high as #1 nationally by the Gibbons. However, if they can't get Blanchard early, look for Virginia to use their one remaining scholarship this fall on 6'6 Ronald Dupree from Biloxi (H.S.) MS, 6'7 LibertoTetimadingar from Camon, France, or 6'11 Jesse Young from Petersborough, ON and then try and find another scholarship in the spring, if Blanchard wants to come.
Vincent Baldwin, the Editor and Publisher of Michigan Prep Spotlight called us this morning to tip us off about 6'4 Issac Jefferson from Columbus (West) OH committing to Hampton University. This is a great get from head coach Steve Merfeld, because Jefferson will rank among the top five seniors in Ohio when Chris Johnson finalizes his report later this month. Baldwin says that assistant coach Eddie Huckaby deserves a lot of credit for getting this one done.
We are getting reports that Notre Dame may be fading fast for 6'0 Todd Billet from Lincroft (Christian Brothers) NJ, because the Irish are considering leaving the Big East Conference so they can join the Big 10. This is important, because this move would prevent his parents from seeing him play him play all up and down the East Coast when Notre Dame is on the road. As it stands now, Billet's recruitment has hit a lull. Princeton is a great program and a great school, but it's still not at the top level of Division I. Rutgers is where Billet's older brother goes and he may have reservations about following in his older brother''s footsteps. We still think Clemson will get 6'0 Edward Scott from Columbia (Lower Richland) SC. And Villanova already has a point guard they recruited a year ago in Bobby Smith. As a result, we think Billet may wait until spring, which could open the door for somebody like Kentucky to get involved. Remember, the Wildcats have backed off recruiting a point guard so they can see during the season whether they need to bring another player at that position. Our prediction is they will see they will see they do need to bring in somebody to run the show by January and, just like Wayne Turner four years ago, the Wildcats will be looking to get involved with the best point guard still available. And Billet fits the description perfectly. If by some chance, this actually happens, remember where you heard it first.
Kansas and UCLA are listed among the favorites for 6'9 Jr Brian Boddicker from Duncanville (H.S.) TX, who ranks #29 in the junior class nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. However, when it is all said and done, we think Texas will be tough to beat. If you will recall, Texas received a commitment last week from 6'4 Roosevelt Brown, also from Duncanville (H.S.) TX, and the Longhorns also have another graduate of Duncanville High School currently on their roster in Chris Owens, who transferred back home a year ago from Tulane.
Among the players who are making official or unofficial visits to various schools for Midnight Madness are 6'11 George Leach from Charlotte (Olympic) NC, who will be at Indiana; 6'9 Ray Henderson from Charlotte (East Mechlenburg) NC, who will be at Clemson; 6'7 Trello Galloway from Fork Union (Military) VA, who will be at Virginia; 6'7 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX, who will be at Vanderbilt; 6'3 Brian Woodward from Bayside (Cardozo) NY and 5'10 Tony Cole from Winchendon (School) MA, both of whom will be at Rhode Island; and 7'0 Josh Moore from Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT and 6'0 Jr Taliek Brown from Astoria (St. John's Prep) NY, both of whom will be at Rutgers.
The situation involving 6'0 Jr Taliek Brown from Astoria (St. John's Prep) NY, who ranks #7 nationally in the junior class, has gotten a lot of attention in the last week, but we are now getting a report from a very reliable source in New York City who tells us that Brown isn't going anywhere. Also several different people in New York City, including Shay Berry of Five-Star, have told us that it is not fair to paint Rob Johnson as the villian.
Last week we told you that it wasn't official for Baylor yet, but that it was a done deal for 6'3 Wendell Greenleaf from Houston (North Shore) TX, who ranks #69 nationally by Van Coleman in Future Stars, and 6'7 Terry Black from Indian Hills (JC) IA, who ranks as one of the top five junior college players in the nation. Well, Black hasn't made it official yet, but Greenleaf publicly announced for the Bears this morning over Tennessee, Creighton, Louisville, Arizona State, and Oklahoma.
I am getting reports that 6'6 Derek Smith from Ft. Thomas (Highlands) KY has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow at 1 PM and plans to commit to Kentucky for football. However, Smith, who is the #1 ranked senior in the state in both football and basketball, has been told by Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith that he can join the basketball team once football season is over.
Wednesday, October 14, 1998
SoCalHoops is reporting that 6'2 Marquis Poole from Compton (Centennial) CA has given a verbal to Washington State. "Marquis was a tremendous impact player last season for Centennial, and made a huge impression on a lot of people at the Rim Rattler Camp and the 1998 Long Beach Fall Hoops Classic," says Jerry Gale. Apparently Poole picked the Cougars over Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State, and Connecticut. Another player Gale tells us to keep an eye on is 6'6 Steve Sims, also from Compton (Centennial) CA. "He was on the rosters at Rim Rattler and at the Fall Hoops Classic, but couldn't attend due to family committments," says Gale. "He's one of the best shooting guards in Southern California in the class and is very under-recruited right now. Wait until the end of the season, after he's gone up against Redondo Union, Inglewood and some of the other schools in their league. Big time D-I prospect."
Frank Burlison in the Orange County Register and Davis Harris on West Coast Hoops are both reporting that the University of Washington has picked up a commitment from 6'6 Ben Coffee from Portland (Benson) OR. Coffee picked the Huskies over Oregon State and Tulsa.
The University of Memphis appears to be the heavy favorite for 6'6 Marshall Williams from Milwaukee (Vincent) WI and that could prove to be a big advantage when 6'5 Reese Gaines from Madison (West) WI and Williams are both on campus this weekend. Williams and Gaines, who have played on the same AAU team for years, are close friends, but the University of Wisconsin isn't recruiting Williams. However, if the Badgers were recruiting Williams, the package might already be sealed. If you will recall, Gaines' father played for Wisconsin in the late '70s and the Badgers are currently making a strong push to keep the younger Gaines home. Getting back to Memphis, the Tigers aren't mentioned in the same breath with Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Florida for 6'11 Jonathan Bender from Picayune (H.S.) MS, but they have the last visit and head coach Tic Price has been doing an amazing job of getting his man in recent years.
I am now getting conflicting reports on 6'9 Marquis Estill from Richmond (Madison Central) KY. One source tells me that he will not only be at Kentucky's Midnight Madness, but that he plans to commit at Midnight Madness. Another source tells me that UAB has not only entered the picture, but is now the favorite. Stay tuned!
Signing several front court players - like 6'11 George Leach from Charlotte (Olympic) NC, 6'7 Jeffrey Newton from Atlanta (Mays) GA, and 6'9 Will Johnson - from Hickory (H.S.) NC - appears to be a priority for Indiana University, but the Hoosiers also have picked up another commitment from 6'5 Trey Ferguson from Hoover (H.S.) AL. And like 6'9 Mike Roberts from Eugene (South Eugene) OR, who committed to Indiana last week, Ferguson will likely go to prep school for a year before enrolling at Indiana. Not only does this give Ferguson an extra year to mature, but it also gives the coaching staff time to find another scholarship. Apparently, if Indiana signs two of the three players we mentioned above, along with several other players already in prep school this year, they would be over their limit of 13 scholarships.
Tuesday, October 13, 1998
HOOP SCOOP Mid-South Editor Jim Rothman is reporting that Mississippi State has a verbal commitment from 6'4 Trey Sanders from Jackson (Jim Hill) MS. Currently Sanders is ranked #6 in the state by Gerald Snider, but we think he's better than that. As a matter of fact, we rank him #3 in Mississippi and he'll get top 100 consideration when we complete our comprehensive national player list later this month or in early November. We also expect 6'7 Alonzo Lane from Canton (H.S.) MS, who ranks #90 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, to reaffirm his commitment to Mississippi State, but for this to be a successful recruiting year for new head coach Rick Stansbury, the Bulldogs have to get 6'11 Jonathan Bender from Picayune (H.S.) MS, who promises to be one of the best players to ever come out of the state. We like their chances, but they have to hold off Florida, which is where he was last weekend, and Kentucky, which is where he will be later this week attending their Midnight Madness.
Like several of our competitors, we got an email today from somebody claiming that 6'9 Stromile Swift had enrolled at Chatham (Hargrave Military) VA. This not correct. Not only is Swift enrolled in school and attending classes at LSU, but if he passes the SAT on his most recent attempt, he could be eligible to play for the Tigers in the middle of December. As long as we're mentioning LSU, one of the last pieces to their puzzle is a top notch point guard and we think the longer it goes, the more it favors the Tigers for 6'0 Hollis Price from New Orleans (St. Augustine) LA, who ranks #46 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Remember, LSU had the #3 ranked recruiting class in the nation a year ago, according to the HOOP SCOOP, but the one position they still need to fill is point guard.
A reliable source is telling us that both Michigan and Texas are out with 6'7 Travis Watson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, who ranks #19 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. He may still visit Florida State, but we think it's a two horse race between Virginia and Clemson. Word is he had an excellent visit to Clemson, but we also understand he may take an unofficial visit this weekend to Virginia for their Midnight Madness.
Several days ago we reported that 6'0 Taliek Brown from Astoria (St. John's Prep) NY was thinking about transferring to Sugar Land (Willowridge) TX and now Mitch Malone, our Texas Correspondent, tells us how close this actually came to happening. Brown looked at both Willowridge High School and Houston (Waltrip) TX, but won't be enrolling at either school, because of the residence requirements in Texas. Malone tells us that if Brown transfers to any school in the state, he would be ineligible to play for a year. As a result, if Brown does decide to leave St. John's Prep and get out of New York City, he will more than likely be bound for a prep school in the East..
One of the best players at Five-Star's Pitt II session was 6'7 LibertoTetimadingar from Camon, France. Although he is a sleeper to most, he name might be worth remembering because he's getting some big-time looks from schools like St. John's, Providence, and Virginia.
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Tulane, New Mexico State, and Georgetown are all in the hunt for 6'3 Paul McPherson from Kennedy-King (JC) IL, who possesses a 45-inch vertical leap and is one of the best dunkers and showmen we've seen in recent years. The Sun-Times also reports that Bradley appears to be the leader over St. Louis, Xavier, and Pittsburgh for 6'1 Marque Perry from Chicago (Prosser) IL. However, with the recent commitments by 6'1 Lionel Chalmers to Xavier and 6'0 Brandin Knight from West Orange (Seton Hall Prep) NJ to Pittsburgh, we think Bradley's only serious competition is St. Louis. Perry would be a great consolation prize for either school. As a matter fact, Chris Johnson of the HOOP SCOOP, who saw him play a lot during the summer, thinks Perry is a top 100 player. He's not as good as Anthony Grundy, who Bradley signed with two years ago, but later reneged and went the prep school route, and he's not as good as Larry Hughes, who led St. Louis to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but declared hardship for the NBA last spring. However, Perry still would be a great attention to either program.
Sunday night HOOP SCOOP Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin talked with the father of 6'6 Matt Carroll from Horsham (Hatboro-Horsham) PA, who ranks #43 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. He confirms that his son will make an official visit to Penn State this weekend, Notre Dame the following weekend, and then decide shortly thereafter. Right now Notre Dame and Wake Forest are believed to be the leaders over Villanova, Penn State, and St. Joseph's.
Monday, October 12, 1998
I just talked with Mitch Malone, who publishes the Texas Blue Chip Report, and he tells us that he spent a lot of time this weekend with George Williams' father. But Malone offers no insight into the recruiting saga involving this 6'8 wing forward from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX. Apparently they're still a long way from making a decision and this one could still go in a number of different directions. The final five still appear be N.C. State, Houston, Michigan, Texas, and Vanderbilt.
Mitch Malone, who also is our main Texas Correspondent, is reporting that the University of Oklahoma is the leader for 6'9 Jeremy McNeil from San Antonio (Sam Houston) TX, who is one of the fastest rising players in the nation. Also high on McNeil's list are Fresno State, Louisville, Syracuse, Florida, and Texas.
Our Georgia Editor Linzy Davis from tells us that Georgia, Florida State, Clemson, and Marquette are the top schools on the list of 6'7 Ndu Egekeze from Augusta (Westlake) GA, who ranks #7 in the state on Davis' latest rankings. Davis also tells us that two of the other top dozen players in the state are close to making commitments. Elon College is close to getting a commitment from 6'0 Ross Sims from Powder Springs (McEachern) GA and 5'10 Leigh Gordon from Peachtree City (McIntosh) GA is expected to announce for Tennessee Tech this week.
Our Ohio Editor Chris Johnson has been telling us for over two years Georgia Tech and North Carolina were the heavy favorites for 6'7 Damien Wilkins from Orlando (Dr. Phillips) FL. Well, North Carolina has been out of it for quite a while, but it looks like Georgia Tech is going to win out on this one. As a matter of fact, the only other serious challenger is N.C. State. Kentucky also is still being mentioned, but the Wildcats are a long shot at best.
Sunday, October 11, 1998
The latest list for 6'9 Kenny Walker from Jacksonville (Wolfson) FL, who now ranks #71 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, includes Clemson, Alabama, and St. John's. However, when it is all said and done we still think South Florida will be very tough to beat.
Matt Borrello of the Recruiting Beat is reporting that 6'4 Scott Clark, who is one of the best 3-point shooters in the nation, has left Winchendon (Prep) MA and plans to Tallahassee (JC) FL. However, Clark won't enroll in school until January when the second semester begins. Borrello also reports that Clark still plans to attend the University of Massachusetts, which is the school he signed with a year ago when he was a senior in high school.
A week ago a subscriber posted an item on our Bulletin Board about 6'0 Taliek Brown from Astoria (St. John's Prep) NY transferring to Sugar Land (Willowridge) TX. After checking with Ron Naclerio, our New York City Editor, he says that he has seen Brown play several times within the last week at IS8, which is a fall tournament in New York City. However, after doing some checking, Naclerio does confirm that there may be some truth to this rumor, because his family has been concerned about certain people who are trying to influence Brown. Although it hasn't happened yet, don't be surprised if it does. And if he does end up in Texas, it would make perfect sense, because he's played for the Houston Jaguars AAU team during the last several summers.
Saturday, October 10, 1998
According to an article by Jerry Tucker in the Northwest Arkansas Times, the University of Arkansas will have five recruits - 6'6 Joe Johnson from Little Rock (Central) AR, 6'8 Antonio Meeking from Farmerville (H.S.) LA, 5'9 Charlie Tatum from Midland (H.S.) TX, 6'3 Jarrett Hart from Little Rock (Central) AR, and 6'7 Richard Kirklin from Pine Bluff (Watson Chapel) AR - on campus next week for Midnight Madness. Johnson has already verbally committed to Arkansas. The Razorbacks are also probably the leader over Memphis for Tatum. Meeking list includes Arkansas, Michigan, Louisiana Tech, LSU, and Purdue. Kirklin will likely pick either Arkansas and Mississippi. Hart's list includes Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. Arkansas is also in the hunt with several of other players from the state, including 6'6 Josh Hayes from Little Rock (Parkview) AR and 6'8 Carl Baker from Palestine (Palestine-Wheatley) AR. According to Tucker, Baker has Arkansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Mississippi on his list. Hayes is considering Arkansas, Mississippi, St. Louis, SMU, and Colorado.
Patrick Jira of the Recruiting Beat is reporting that the final four in order for 6'4 Tito Maddox from Compton (H.S.) CA are Connecticut, Fresno State, Michigan and Arizona State. Maddox, who ranks #52 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, is at the Arizona State-Notre Dame game this weekend and is scheduled to visit Connecticut for Midnight Madness (October 16th). However, also Jira reports that Maddox is a long way from making a decision, so don't be surprised if he waits until spring to sign.
I received an email from a subscriber who tells us that 6'1 Abdul Mills from Milford (Academy) CT will be making his next recruiting visit to Texas A&M on Oct, 23 1998. Also still on his list are Boston College, UNC-Charlotte, Hofstra, and Villanova.
Last week Greg Swaim of Midwest Basketball, predicted that 6'0 Hollis Price from New Orleans (St. Augustine) LA, who ranks #46 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, would commit to the University of Texas, but more recently he has found out that Price's grandfather is the one who may have the most influence on the decision. Apparently the grandfather likes Oklahoma and Xavier best, but we don't think Xavier will take him, because they recently got a commitment from 6'0 Lionel Chalmers from Albany (H.S.) NY.
Friday, October 9, 1998
The same person who told us yesterday that 6'0 Val Brown from Springfield (Robert E. Lee) VA had secretly committed to George Washington, but wanted to wait until next week to make the annoucement, called back today to tell me that Brown went ahead and made it publi yesterday. Apparently the kid wanted to get it over with. However, we still have heard nothing official from 6'3 Chris Monroe from Wheaton (Good Counsel) MD, who also is expected to commit to George Washington.
Indiana University head coach Bob Knight has gotten a commitment from 6'9 Mike Roberts from Eugene (South Eugene) OR, but the Hoosier will have to wait another year before he enrolls in school, because it looks like he will go the prep school route. Even though he is an excellent student, the plan is for him to follow in the footsteps of 6'9 Kei Madison, who committed to Indiana last spring, but is now attending prep school at New Hampton Prep. This will give Roberts a chance to get bigger and stronger and become more maturie. Roberts picked Indiana over Dartmouth, San Diego, Boise State, Air Force, Montana, and Idaho.
Our Indiana Editor Jim Kasberg tells us that there is no change in the list of schools for 6'6 Richard Wright from East Chicago (Central) IN, but he does provide some interesting insight. Throughout the recruiting process Wright has been under a lot of pressure to stay home and go to Purdue. However, he has repeatedly said that he will wait until the first day of the fall signing period before making his decision and if the top schools on his list - Purdue, Villanova, Xavier, and Michigan - can't wait that long and go ahead and sign somebody else, that's fine with him. Kasberg tells us that Wright knows it's going to be basketball and books and it doesn't make a lot of difference to him where he goes. As a matter of fact, Kasberg says Wright's attitude is that he would be just as happy if he went to Ball State, which also might be an option if he doesn't get what he wants, because Muncie, IN is about half way between where he lives now in East Chicago, IN and the rest of his family lives in Ohio and Michigan.
It's been a long time since the state of Indiana has had two junior big guys as good as 6'8 Jr Zach Randolph from Marion (H.S.) IN and 6'9 Jr Jared Jeffries from Bloomington (North) IN, both of whom are ranked among the top 10 juniors in the nation by the HOOP SCOOP. But, like 5'10 Jason Gardner from Indianapolis (North Central) IN, who committed to Arizona in July, both may leave the state to attend college. According to Jim Kasberg, Indiana isn't even on Randolph's list. The heavy favorite is Michigan State. Kasberg tells us that Randolph and 6'3 Jr Marcus Taylor from Lansing (Everett) MI, who ranks as the #1 junior in America by the HOOP SCOOP, are such close friends that he spends more time in Lansing, MI than he does in the Marion High School gym. Purdue also is mentioned with for Randolph, along with schools like Georgetown and Louisville. Jeffries let it be known very early that he liked schools, like North Carolina and Duke, in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but Indiana now appears to be a lot stronger than we originally thought. And it's a good thing. Could you imagine the political fallout from Hoosier fans if they couldn't sign a player of Jeffries caliber who is right in their own backyard.
It is finally official for 6'3 Kirk Hinrich from Sioux City (West) IA, who ranks #41 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. This athletic white kid with excellent shooting range, great ball handling skills, and good defensive skills has committed to Kansas. This is not only big, because it give the Jayhawks three outstanding recruits from the Class of '99 in Hinrich, 6'9 Nick Collison from Iowa Falls (H.S.) IA, and 6'9 Andrew Gooden from El Cerrito (H.S.) CA, but also gives them two quality young point guards. If you recall, the Jayhawks signed Jeff Boschee a year ago, but we actually like Hinrich better. We suspect that head coach Roy Williams will play them a lot together, because they are interchangeable at the one and the two spots, because both Hinrich and Boschee can put points on the scoreboard, as well as run the offense.
I have an email from a subscriber telling me that 6'11 Chris Andersen from Blinn (JC) TX committed to the University of Houston last night as reported by the local Fox TV affiliate. "In the interview, Andersen said he would sign with the Cougars over Arizona, Missouri, Texas A&M and Louisville." We also understand that 6'8 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX will make his official on-campus visit to the University of Houston this weekend.
Mike Procopio wants everybody to know about the prep school basketball tournament that we will be hosting at Providence College on February 12th-14th. It is called the National Prep School Invitational and will feature Chatham (Hargrave Military.) VA, Winchendon (School) MA, Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME, New Hampton (Prep) NH, Fitchburg (Notre Dame) MA, Milford (Academy) CT, Philadelphia (Christian Academy) PA, and Barrington (St. Andrews School) RI. For more information call (617) 465-6074 or E-Mail @BABC@webtv.net.
Jim Rothman, our Mid-South Editor, has always felt like 6'9 Charles Richmond from Memphis (Booker T. Washington) TN was overrated nationally, but it still comes as a major surprise that Richmond has picked Liberty University over Georgetown, Syracuse, and Florida State. Apparently he wanted to be a big fish in a small pound. In otherwords, he wanted to go somewhere he would play right away.
The Indianapolis Star reported this morning that 6'6 Caron Butler from Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME has verbally committed to Purdue. The article also said that Purdue would have to wait another year before he enrolls, because academically he may need both this year and next year to complete enough core classes to become eligible under NCAA standards. It also said that if that happens there is the possibility that Butler could become the first player ever to go hardship start out of prep school. Well, the Indianapolis Star got the last two things right, but Maine Central Institute head coach Max Good knows nothing about a commitment. "Purdue is the leader, but unless it happened this morning, that's not right," says Good. Apparently Butler is going home to Racine, WI today and it is always possible that he could have committed today without Good knowing it. However, for the story to be in the Indianapolis Star, they would have had to written it last night. And if that were the case, Good would have known about it. If you will recall, Butler established his national reputation last May at the Spiece Tournament in West Lafayette, IN, where he led his team to the championsip and was named MVP. No wonder he likes Purdue. After having our Indiana Editor Jim Kasberg read the Indianapolis Star article to us on the phone, we find that article did say that Butler has told the Purdue coaching staff that he plans to become a Boilermaker, but there was no public announcement, as Kasberg had led us to believe.
Thursday, October 8, 1998
Last year the University of Colorado signed a number of excellent guards, including Jose Winston, Kyle Williams, JaQuay Walls, and Brian Kizzie. Now they have been concentrating their efforts on signing big men. Last week the Buffaloes got a commitment from 6'10 Richard Fox from Aurora (Regis Jesuit) CO. Then, two days ago they landed 6'9 Stephane Pelle from Mercersburg (Academy) PA and now they have gotten a commitment from 6'10 Kareem Bartlett from Angelina (JC) TX.
No, I have not been avoiding the latest develops in the saga involving the recruitment of 6'8 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX, who ranks #24 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. I have had other deadlines that have thrown me behind today, but I have talked with a number of people in the know and here is what I've found out. Yesterday, the Charlotte Observer erroneously reported that Williams had verbally committed to N.C. State. Apparently 6'8 Ray Henderson from Charlotte (East Mechlenburg) NC wanted to commit to the Wolfpack, but over the weekend, N.C. State got the commitment from 6'1 Anthony Grundy from Chatham (Hargrave Military) VA. As a result, they backed off Henderson, because they only have one more scholarship to give and they think the last piece to their puzzle is a talented athletic wing forward, like Williams. Obviously, somebody put two and two together and figured that N.C. State was backing off Henderson, because Williams had committed. While one source still thinks N.C. State is still the leader and tells us that his visit went extremely well, another source tells us that the Wolfpack may be fading. Our original source, John Eurey, who was Williams' AAU coach last summer, is telling us that Houston is making a strong push, which leads us to believe that the Cougars may indeed be a lot stronger than they appeared to be week ago. However, another source in Texas is now telling us to watch out for the University of Texas. One thing is for sure, I'm making not predictions on this one.
If N.C. State doesn't get 6'8 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX, they will not get back involved with 6'8 Ray Henderson from Charlotte (East Mechlenburg) NC, who ranks #63 nationally. Instead, they want a wing forward and their four targets are Williams; 6'4 Joe Forte from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, who will probably pick North Carolina over Georgia Tech; 6'8 Damien Wilkins from Orlando (Dr. Phillips) FL, who will likely opt for Georgia Tech; and 6'8 Jason Kapono from Lakewood (Artesia) CA, who isn't likely to do anything until spring.
The University of Texas has a commitment from 6'4 Roosevelt Brown from Duncanville (H.S.) TX, who is a lot better than a lot of people think he is. As a matter of fact, one web site has reported that Texas took Brown, because it would help them get his teammate high school teammate 6'9 Brian Boddicker from Duncanville (H.S.) TX, who ranks #29 in the junior class nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, next year. However, he's exactly what Texas needs, because this combo guard is a great defender and an extremely quick and athlete. So is 6'0 Hollis Price from New Orleans (St. Augustine) LA, who Greg Swaim of Midwest Basketball, predicts will also sign with Texas. This makes perfect sense, because Texas has six scholarships to give, the rest of which will go to big guys and perimeter players.
We are now predicting that 6'6 Derek Smith from Ft. Thomas (Highlands) KY, who ranks #72 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP in basketball, will sign with the University of Kentucky. However, he won't sign until February because the national letter-of-intent that he signs will be for football. Smith is also widely recognized as the #1 football player in Kentucky, as well as one of the top tight end prospects in the nation. Apparently 6'4 Jared Lorenzen, who is Smith's high school teammate in football, basketball, and baseball, as well as one of his best friends, committed to Kentucky last week. Lorenzen, who recognized as the best quarterback in the state, recently said (jokingly) that if Smith doesn't go to Kentucky, he wouldn't throw him the ball the rest of the season.
I got a call yesterday from our Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin and another web site is reporting it today, but after making a phone call today, I find that everybody is still jumping the gun. As it stands right now, 6'0 Val Brown from Springfield (Robert E. Lee) VA, who ranks #105 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, has not announced anything yet and he probably won't do so until Monday or Tuesday next week. However, unlike with 6'3 Deshawn Williams from Paterson (Catholic) NJ, who made those who predicted that he would go to Villanova look bad (he instead committed to Syracuse earlier this week), those who are jumping the gun are going to be right. The HOOP SCOOP has a well place source who tells us that Brown and 6'3 Chris Monroe from Wheaton (Good Counsel) MD both have given George Washington a silent verbal, but don't want to make it official just yet.
The 1998 Converse September Slam was held on September 19th at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, OK and it featured a number outstanding players from Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Georgia, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The following is a list of the top players as evaluated by our staff and college coaches at the event. Top JUCO players were 6'4 Marquette Williams of Eastern State (JC) OK and 5'10 Todd McDaniel of Eastern State (JC) OK, while top post-graduates were 6'2 Kenneth Reynolds, Jr. of Little Rock, AR and 6'4 Joel Scott of Norman, OK. The top 30 seniors were 6'3 Ryan Stock of Springfield (MO) Kickapoo, 6'8 Roman Brown of Little Rock (McClellan) AR, 6'10 Brian Cardwell of Sapulpa (H.S.) OK, 6'3 Jon Nubine of Putnam (North) OK, 6'0 Jason Eaker of Altus (H.S.) OK, 5'9 Steven Gonzales of Albuquerque (Sandia) NM, 6'9 Randy Gabler of Altus (H.S.) OK, 6'1 Brandon Kephart of Lawton (MacArthur) OK, 6'4 Edwin Tatum of Oklahoma City (Star Spencer) OK, 6'0 Ryan Tomlins of Salina (South) KS, 6'1 Nick Traylor of Putnam City (H.S.) OK, 6'0 Tyler Walden of Oolagah-Talala (H.S.) OK, 6'0 Brett Watson of Andover (H.S.) KS, 6'6 Jason Burke of Plano (East) TX, 6'6 Junior Amous of Oklahoma City (McGuiness) OK, 6'5 Wes Crutchmer of Edmond (Memorial) OK, 6'6 Joe Cummings of Pocola (H.S) OK, 6'1 Devin Cunningkin of Little Rock (McClellan) AR, 6'7 Cedric Hughey of Waldo (H.S.) AR, 6'0 Jason Smalls of Crowley (H.S.) TX, 6'6 Willie Broaden of Plano (East) TX, 6'2 Ajani Walker of Little Rock (McClellan) AR, 6'4 Bryce Miller of Hutchinson (H.S.) KS, 6'9 Jamaal Ramey of Lawton (Eisenhower) OK, 6'4 Justin Barkley of Inola (H.S.) OK, 6'5 Kevin Mitchem of Grandview (H.S.) MO, 6'10 Gabe Braselton of Tulsa (Kelley) OK, 6'3 Ryan Chancler of Amarillo (Tascosa) TX, 6'1 Gibrahn Lawhorn of Richardson (H.S.) TX, 6'0 Nate Fleming of Edmond (North) OK, and 6'3 Anthony Moore of Springfield (MO) Parkview. The top 25 juniors were 6'6 Terrence Crawford of Oklahoma City (McGuiness) OK, 6'10 Jack Marlow of Tulsa (Union) OK, 6'8 Darius Eason of Little Rock (McClellan) AR, 7'0 Shane King of Allen (H.S.) TX, 6'9 Matthew Gastel of Jenks (H.S.) OK, 6'4 Asher Hall of Coweta (H.S.) OK, 6'5 Elisha Fields of Junction City (H.S.) KS, 5'10 Blane Williams of Wichita (Collegiate) KS, 6'1 Chris Assel of Eagan (H.S.) MN, 6'5 Aaron Lashley of Junction City (H.S.) KS, 5'9 Kellen Thompson of Carrollton (R.L. Turner) TX, 6'6 Jason Plant of Little Rock (McClellan) AR, 5'10 Alex Peloewetse of Roostown (H.S.) OH, 6'0 Spencer Stewart of El Dorado (H.S.) KS, 6'7 Nate Bennett of McCook (H.S.) NE, 6'3 Brian Gahan of McKinney (H.S.) TX, 6'2 Roshan Baum of Oklahoma City (McGuiness) OK, 6'3 Brett Jablonski of Andover (H.S.) KS, 6'0 David Haynes of Boynton (H.S.) OK, 6'5 Gabe Martin of Junction City (H.S.) KS, 6'4 Ben Pendergrass of Springfield (Kickapoo) MO, 6'1 Damon Wells of Putnam City (H.S.) OK, 6'0 Tim Banner of Springfield (Kickapoo) MO, 6'3 Brandon Carter of McPherson (H.S.) KS and 6'5 Darren Jamison of Grandview (H.S.) MO. The top ten sophomores were 5'10 Jonathan Bluitt of Oklahoma City (McGuiness) OK, 6'7 Eric Castro of Oklahoma City (Mount St. Mary's) OK, 6'0 James Pattman, Jr. of Roswell (H.S.) GA, 6'6 Chris Jenkins of Albuquerque (Sandia) NM, 6'3 Brandon Bowie of Dallas (Pinkston) TX, 6'5 Brian Miller of Lewisville (H.S.) TX, 5'8 Jeremy Lopez of Albuquerque (Sandia) NM, 6'7 Chris Bay of Chandler (H.S.) OK, 5'10 Craylin Liberty of Oklahoma City (John Marshall) OK, and 5'10 Tyler Rogers of Springfield (Kickapoo) MO. Top freshmen were 6'7 Shelden Williams of Midwest City (H.S.) OK, 5'7 Ryan Godwin of Ardmore (H.S.) OK, 5'6 Tadrick Durham of Midwest City (H.S.) OK, 5'11 J.D. Runnels of Carl Albert (H.S.) OK, 6'1 Courtney Hall of Carl Albert (H.S.) OK, 6'0 Jason Sullivan of McCurtain (H.S.) OK, 6'1 Andrew Steinkuehler of Tulsa (Kelley) OK, and 5'11 Travis Palmer of McCurtain (H.S.) OK. For more information on 1998 Converse September Slam click on Midwest Basketball,
Wednesday, October 7, 1998
Frank Burlison of the Orange County Register is reporting that 6'8 Jason Kapono from Lakewood (Artesia) CA will take four official visits between now and next April to UNLV, Utah, N.C.State, and Missouri. "He'll also take unofficial visits to two more schools -- Syracuse and Rhode Island -- and could possibly make one of those his fifth and final on-campus visit," says Tracy Pierson. This is consistent with what we're hearing, which is that UNLV is the strong. We also understand that Kapono's recent in-home visit with UCLA didn't go well. As a result, the Bruins have been eliminated from his list for the second time this fall. So has USC.
We thought that Kentucky might drop out of the race for 6'7 Donnell Harvey from Cuthbert (Randolph Clay) GA when they got 6'10 Marvin Stone from Huntsville (Grissom) AL, but apparently the Wildcats are still involved. However, if he decides to do something this fall we think it greatly reduces their chances. Another player Kentucky is still in the hunt for is 6'11 Jonathan Bender from Picayune (H.S.) MS, who is planning on visiting Lexington, KY for the Midnight Madness. Also planning on making unofficial visits to Kentucky for Midnight Madness are Stone and 6'4 Keith Bogans from Hyattsville (DeMatha) MD, both of whom have already committed to the Wildcats. And you can bet that Stone and Bogans will be trying to convince Bender to become part of the package.
Boston College has a commitment from 6'2 Will Poole from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY, who is widely regarded as the best football player in either the public or catholic league in New York City. While Poole will sign a scholarship to play football, he also plans to play basketball. He isn't a major offensive threat, but Poole is a great defensive player and, as a result, potentially an excellent role player in Big East.
Ron Naclerio, our New York City Editor, says that 6'10 Mark McCarroll from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY hasn't done it, but we think that St. John's already has a secret verbal commitment from this vastly improved big man who has also grown several inches since last spring. However, other sources close to the program speculate that St. John's doesn't want to make it official, because the Red Storm coaching staff doesn't want to do anything to scare off 6'9 Abraham Keita from Winchendon (School) MA, 7'0 Josh Moore from Oakdale (St. Thomas More) CT, and/or 6'9 Carlos Boozer from Juneau (Douglas) AK.
Things can change fast this business and, although we still think UCLA is will be very tough to be beat, Duke is making a very strong push for 6'9 Carlos Boozer from Juneau (Douglas) AK, who ranks #5 nationally in the class by the HOOP SCOOP. As a matter of fact, we have several sources that think that Duke will pull off the upset. If Duke gets both Boozer and 6'6 Michael Dunleavy from Portland (Jesuit) OR, who we think will pick the Blue Devils over North Carolina and Stanford, their current recruiting class would be on the same level as the great class they signed two years ago. If you recall, Duke already has comments from 6'11 Casey Sanders from Tampa (Prep) FL, 6'10 Nick Horvath from Arden Hills (Mounts View) MN, and 6'2 Jason Williams from Metchum (St. Joseph) NJ. Which leads us to our next question. Which class would you rather have? The great Duke recruiting class of '97, which included Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Chris Burgess, and William Avery or this current class, which, if they get Boozer, would also include three players who rank among top 10 nationally?
The University of Cincinnati has one remaining scholarship and they guy they're going after is 6'9 Dermarr Johnson from Pittsfield (Maine Central Intsitute) ME, who currently ranks #14 nationally in the senior class by the HOOP SCOOP, although he has as much potential as anybody in the class. As a matter of fact, Johnson plans to make his official visit to Cincinnati next week during their Midnight Madness. However, we still think Pittsburgh is the school you have to beat for Johnson, because Troy Weaver, who is currently an assistant coach for the Panthers, was formerly Johnson's AAU coach. Also, Weaver, has already landed Johnson's teammate - 6'6 Jamal Brown from Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME.
One player who was scheduled to make a visit during Midnight Madness was 6'7 Travis Watson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, who was supposed to be at Clemson. However, he has now moved the visit up a week. Speaking of Watson, we're hearing rumors that Florida State and Texas are both out, which means the final three are Clemson, Virginia, and Michigan. Our guess is that it will be Virginia, but right now it's far from done.
Tuesday, October 6, 1998
Since the NCAA handed down sanctions several week ago, the University of Louisville has lost out on or faded with a number of the players they were involved, including 6'5 DeMario Hooper from Texarkania (Texas) TX, who committed to Tulsa last week; 6'5 Antonio Falu from Houston (Waltrip) TX, who has publicly said he doesn't want to attend a school that is on probation; 6'2 George Baker from Lexington (Dunbar) KY, who is expected to commit to DePaul today; 6'9 Marquis Estill from Richmond (Madison Central) KY, who apparently did not have a good visit when he was recently at Louisville; and 6'11 Chris Andersen from Blinn (JC) TX, who appears to be a lock for the University of Houston. However, the Cardinals still appear to be the leader for 6'1 Rick Jones from Georgetown (Scott County) KY, who is a great high school player, but questionable for the high Division I level. The Cardinals also appear to be among the final four, along with UNLV, Nebraska, and DePaul, for 6'11 Steve Hunter from Proviso East (H.S.) IL, who ranks #60 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. We also understand they've shown a lot of recent interest in 6'11 Leon Smith from Chicago (Martin Luther King) IL, who was the runaway player-of-the-summer until he met 6'7 Donnell Harvey from Cuthbert (Randolph Clay) GA, who ranks as the #1 senior in America by the HOOP SCOOP, in late July in the adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas, NV.
Look for Baylor to get commitments later this week from 6'2 Wendell Greenleaf from Houston (North Shore) TX and 6'7 Terry Black from Indian Hills (JC) IA, who ranks as one of the top five junior college players in the nation. Assuming that this indeed happens later in the week, Baylor will only have one scholar remaining, but we don't expect anything to happen until after the fall signing period is over. At that point all of assistant coach Mike Wilson's international travel last summer should pay big dividends, because the Bears are believed to be the leader for a pair of 7'2 guys - one from Moscow and the other from Lithuania.
We made note of the fact last Friday that UCLA hadn't gotten the expected commitment several week ago from 6'5 Kareem Rush from Kansas City (Pembroke Hill) MO. We also mentioned that Oklahoma was a lot stronger for Rush that most people realize, but we didn't mention that it looks like a war between Missouri and Oklahoma for his services. Apparently Missouri has two prime recruiting targets this fall - Rush and 6'7 Jibran Kelley from Lee's Summit (H.S.) MO.
Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried lost out to Kentucky in the sweepstakes for 6'10 Marvin Stone from Huntsville (Grissom) AL, who ranks as the #3 senior in America by the HOOP SCOOP, but the Crimson Tide is still on the verge of a huge recruiting year. They beat UAB several weeks ago for 6'7 Rod Grizzard from Huntsville (Grissom) AL and Sunday night they edged out Auburn for 6'8 Erwin Dudley from Uniontown (R. C. Hatch) AL, who rank as the #2 and #3 seniors, respectively, in the state. It's also a war between Alabama and Auburn for 6'2 Terrance Meade from Scottsboro (H.S.) AL. Alabama is making a strong push for 6'9 Kenny Walker from Jacksonville (Wolfson) FL and 6'7 Donnell Harvey from Cuthbert (Randolph Clay) GA and still think they're the leader for 6'5 Antonio Jackson from Butler County (JC) KS.
Pepperdine got a commitment from 6'2 Demetrius Hunter from Las Vegas (Cheyenne) NV in August, but since that time we had heard rumors that he might be waivering. So it wasn't a total surprise when announced yesterday that he's going to Georgetown. Hunter, who ranks #78 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, is a terrific athlete who is great going to the hole. However, he needs to work on his ball handling skills and decision making, if he wants to make it as a point guard in the Big East.
Wisconsin has a commitment from 6'5 Roy Boone from Coffeyville (JC) KS and according to Mark Karram of Ohio Roundball Prep, this could be the deciding advantage the Badgers need to keep 6'6 Reese Gaines from Madison (East) WI home. Not only are Boone and Gaines good friends, they are also former teammates. Boone is former from East High School.
Stephen Bell, who publishes The Bank, which is a Michigan based scouting service, informs us that we've missed a couple of recent commitments from Michigan. Toledo has gotten 6'1 from Nick Moore from Redford (Catholic Central) MI. "He's the #7 senior in Michigan," says Bell. "Moore had been offered by Northwestern early in the summer, but he wanted to wait, so they moved on. Toledo beat out Wisconsin and Detroit, as Stan Joplin continues to recruit well in the Detroit Catholic League." The other commitment was 6'7 Willie Wallace from Flint (Southwestern) MI to Central Michigan. "Wallace is the #10 senior in the state," says Bell. "He's been trying to become a small forward, but he's so strong (230-pounds), and CMU is so lacking up front, that it will be a mute point. Willie is real agile around the hoop and can shoot the three-pointer, but he can't dribble." Also tells us that the University of Detroit still needs a point guard, so look for them to get 6'0 Marlon Williamson from Detroit (Cass Tech) IL. More importantly, Bell still contends that Detroit will land 6'7 Aloysius Anagonye from Detroit (St. Martin DePorres) MI. "It's down to the Titans and Michigan State, who can add another big man with Ken Miller having left the team. Of the four really good seniors in Michigan, two are left. Virginia is stronger for LaVell Blanchard than most realize. The rest of his list is Michigan, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Davidson, and Michigan State."
As predicted last Friday, 6'0 Brandin Knight from West Orange (Seton Hall Prep) NJ, who ranks #91 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, has made it official for Pittsburgh. Also it comes as no surprise that 6'0 Lionel Chalmers from Albany (H.S.) NY has committed to Xavier, which opens the door for 6'3 Brian Woodward from Bayside (Cardozo) NY to walk into the point guard position at Providence, although we're still hearing that Rhode Island is a lot stronger than our New York City Editor Ron Naclerio has led us to believe.
Last night we talked with Michael Watkins, who is the head coach of the Team Carolina AAU program, and he tells us that Tulane is now the leader over Michigan for 6'7 Trello Galloway from Fork Union (Military) VA. He also tells us that 6'11 George Leach from Charlotte (Olympic) NC has narrowed his list to Maryland and Indiana, but right now it appears to be too close to call. The final four 6'10 Mike Mathews, also from Fork Union (Military) VA are Florida State, Xavier, Tulane, and Miami-FL.
We're not sure that this official yet, but, as predicted by the HOOP SCOOP last week, 6'9 Stephane Pelle from Mercersburg (Academy) PA, has picked Colorado over Stanford, Villanova, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Penn State.
The last week in July Arizona got a commitment from 6'3 Jimmy Haywood from Seattle (Franklin) WA, but more recently he reneged on that commitment. However, the Wildcats might be better off, because 6'3 Gilbert Arenas from Van Nuys (Grant) CA, who ranks #160 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, is a better player. And he picked the Wildcats several days ago over DePaul and Kansas State.
Monday, October 5, 1998
When one of our competitors jumped the gun a month ago and reported that 6'3 DeShaun Williams from Paterson (Catholic) NJ had committed to Villanova, we not only pointed out that this was not correct, but we also told you that Jerome Smart, who is Williams' high school coach, thought Syracuse was actually the leader. We appreciate his foresight, because yesterday Williams made it official for Syracuse. This is a great get for the Orangemen, because we think that Williams and 6'5 Tony Bland, who signed with Syracuse last fall, will form a great back court in the future. Not only are they both interchangeable at both guard spots, but they should thrive in head coach Jim Boeheim's system.
We thought that Seton Hall might get a commitment this weekend, but not from 6'8 Al Harris from Winchendon (School) MA, who made it official for the Pirates yesterday. Instead, we thought they might get 6'3 Bernard King from from Gibsland (Gibsland-Coleman) LA, who ranks #59 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, or 6'1 Lionel Chalmers from Albany (H.S.) NY. However, neither King nor Chalmers will be heading to Seton Hall now, because the Pirates are out of scholarships. Instead, we now look for Chalmers to sign with Xavier and King to sign with Purdue.
While schools like Cincinnnati, Kentucky, and Tennessee were either signing other players or waivering until spring, DePaul has made a strong push for 6'3 George Baker from Lexington (Dunbar) KY, who has improved so much this fall that we now rank him among the top 100 nationally and as the #2 senior in Kentucky. And apparently their efforts have paid off, because Lindsey Willite, who is a sports writer for the Daily-Herald in Arlington Heights, IL has tipped us off - Baker has a press conference scheduled for tomorrow and he plans to commit to DePaul.
Greg Swaim, the Editor and Publisher of Midwest Basketball, is predicting that 6'0 Hollis Price from New Orleans (St. Augustine) LA, who ranks #49 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, will sign with the University of Texas and it likely will happen sometime this week.
Unlike a lot of the long time established successful legendary coaches who haven't kept up with the times, Georgetown head coach John Thompson has been a fixture on the recruiting trail in recent years and his efforts continue to pay off. Last week he landed 6'8 Courtland Freeman from Myrtle Beach (Socastee) SC and he has a commitment from 6'10 Lee Scruggs from Daytona Beach (JC) FL, who is widely recognized as one of the top junior college players in the nation. The Hoyas also are expected to land another quality big guy in 6'10 Wesley Wilson from Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME; a terrific point guard in 6'3 Jamison Brewer, who recently transferred from East Point (Tri-Cities) GA to Kensington (Newport Prep) MD; and an athletic wing player in 6'7 Victor Samnick from Cameron, Africa, who also transferred recently to Kensington (Newport Prep) MD.
It now appears that Syracuse, Virginia, and LSU are the final three for 6'6 Ronald Dupree from Biloxi (H.S.) MS, who ranks #73 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP and is one of the most athletic combo forwards in the class. Those are three schools he plans to visit, but it is possible he could also take visits to Georgia Tech and/or Notre Dame, if he's not sold on Syracuse, Virginia, or LSU.
We reported late last week that Arthur Zeno, who is an assistant coach for the New Orleans Jazz, was heading to Mississippi State and assumed that would give the Bulldogs an advantage in getting 6'11 Jonathan Bender from Picayune (H.S.) MS, who ranks as the #12 senior nationally by the HOOP SCOOP and is perhaps the most important recruit in head coach Rick Stansbury's career. Well, we were only partially correct. Apparently Zeno is not being hired as an assistant coach, which we originally reported. Instead, he is enrolling at Mississippi State as a student to finish up his last year of undergraduate school. Sources in Mississippi also tell us that we were also only half right when we reported that 6'7 Alonzo Lane from Canton (H.S.) MS had reneged on Mississippi State. Apparently he has allowed some other schools to come into the home, but has since eliminated everybody and plans to take no in-home visits. However, he still officially has not committed again to the Bulldogs. We understand he wants to do it on his terms, but really it's more a question of when he's going to make it official again versus whether he's going anywhere but Mississippi State.
With earlier commitments from 6'9 Adam Robinson from Cedar Falls (H.S.) IA, 6'10 Aaron Jennings from Van Horne (Benton County) IA, 6'7 Brody Deren from Harlan (H.S.) IA, and 6'3 Ben Johnson from Minneapolis (DeLaSalle) MN, Northwestern head coach Kevin O'Neill already has put two successful recruiting years back-to-back. But he was still missing two major pieces to the puzzle. While the Wildcats may have to wait until next year to sign "a great one," they did get the great athlete they were looking for last night in 6'5 Winston Blake from Plano (H.S.) TX, who now ranks among our top 150 nationally. Apparently the Wildcats beat Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech for Blake's services.
Our Philadelphia Area Editor Allen Rubin, doesn't include Central and North Jersey in his player rankings, but that doesn't stop him from keeping up with what the top players in the those areas are doing. Yesterday he talked with 6'9 Tahj Holden from Little Silver (Red Bank Regional) NJ, who ranks #92 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, and found out that Holden's final five are Maryland, Clemson, South Carolina, Syracuse, and Stanford. Like everybody else, Rubin thought Virginia would be on the list, but when he asked about the Cavaliers, Holden said they were longer on his list.
Sunday, October 4, 1998
Jim Rothman, our Mid-South Editor, tells us that Memphis and Arkansas are the leaders for 5'11 Charles Tatum from Midland (H.S.) TX, the strong athletic point guard who ranks #111 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Also still on Tatum's list are Arizona State and Texas.
We're been predicting that 6'2 Anthony Grundy from Chatham (Hargrave Military) VA would wind up at N.C. State for several weeks and now it is official. Grundy orginially signed with Bradley two years ago, but later decided to go the prep school route in hopes of getting out of his national letter-of-intent. He finally won an appeal a month ago, but it is too late for him to enroll and become eligible to play at N.C. State until after the end of the first semester in December. However, Grundy, who would rank among the top 40 seniors in America if he were in the present senior class will give the Wolfpack four outstanding guards. If you will recall, N.C. State also got a commitment from 6'3 Clifford Crawford from Winston-Salem (Parkland) NC, who is the now the consensus #2 ranked senior in the state of North Carolina. The also have a terrific point guard in Ryan "Arch" Miller, who will only be a sophomore this year, and 6'5 Adam Harrington, who is expected to only start this year as a freshman, but also eventually play in the NBA.
It won't be official until tomorrow, but Hofstra is getting 6'4 Danny Walker from Brooklyn (Paul Robeson) NY. Last spring Walker ranked no higher than #39 in the Class of '99 in New York City, but our New York City Editor Ron Naclerio tells us that Walker has really improved in the last four or five months and, as a result, plans to move him into the 10 to 20 range on the list he's working on now. Naclerio also thinks this is a great get for head coach Jay Wright, because Walker is only a 16 year old senior.
The only two schools in the Big East Conference without a verbal commitment to date are Syracuse and St. John's, but we hear that St. John's is close to changing that, because the Red Storm is expected to get a commitment from 6'10 Mark McCarroll from Middle Village (Christ the King) NY, who ranks #178 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP and #9 in New York City. McConnell also still has Providence, Boston College, and Buffalo on his list.
Miami-OH may have a steal in 6'5 Larry Drake from Groveport (Groveport-Madison) OH, who throughout most of his career has been seen as an undersized power forward. However, at the NBA Players' Associaton Camp in Princeton, NJ in late June, Drake was one of the top five players in camp, as he hit everything in sight and impressed us with his ability to do things out on the perimeter. If he duplicates that effort at the college level, Drake should be one of the best players in the always tough Mid-American Conference. Miami-OH also has picked up a commitment from 6'5 Byran Reed from Terre Haute (North) IN.
We reported earlier in the week that Cincinnati was out for 6'6 Marshall Williams from Milwaukee (Vincent) WI, because they got the wing player they wanted in 6'5 Leonard Stokes from Buffalo (Turner-Carroll) NY. As a result, Memphis is now the leader for Williams, but Missouri and Michigan appear to have both faded, while New Mexico and Iowa have been added to his list.
The University of Massachusetts appears to be on the verge of landing 6'7 Jonathan Oden from Phoenix (Carl Hayden) AZ and 6'11 Micah Brand from Milford (Academy) CT, but Brand may wait until spring and, if that happens, St. John's would be tough to beat, especially with all the New York Riverside Church connections.
Xavier, which has two scholarships to give, is looking for a big man and a point guard. At the point guards spot, the Musketeers are no longer involved with 6'0 Brandin Knight from West Orange (Seton Hall Prep) NJ, but that doesn't matter anyway, because we hear he's already given Pittsburgh a silent verbal commitment. They also probably won't get 6'1 Val Brown from Springifield (Robert E. Lee) VA, because we think it's only a matter of time before he commitments to George Washington. That leaves Xavier 6'1 Lionel Chalmers from Albany (H.S.) NY, 5'9 Marque Perry from Chicago (Prosser) IL, and 5'11 Hollis Price from New Orleans (St. Augustine) LA as Xavier's three prime targets at the point guard position.
Saturday, October 3, 1998
When 6'5 Antonio Falu from Houston (Waltrip) TX committed to the University of Houston we questioned how firm that commitment was because we had heard that he was still going to take a visit to the University of Louisville this fall. Well, according to Greg Swaim of Midwest Basketball, Louisville is out, because Falu doesn't want to play for a school that is on probation. However, Falu, who claims that his commitment to Houston is good, also told Swaim that he does have visits scheduled to Oregon State and Florida International, where Shakey Rodriguez is the head coach. Remember, Rodriquez is the head coach at Miami (Senior) FL and he has a history of recruiting players from Puerto Rico, which is where Falu is originally from.
Ever since 6'10 Steve Hunter tranferred last spring from Maywood (Proviso East) IL to Durham (Mt. Zion Christian) NC we've heard rumors that he would likely leave. So it comes as no surprise that Patrick Jira of the Recruiting Beat is reporting that Hunter has transferred back to his old high school in Chicago, IL.
One of the bright young head coaches in the game promises to be former North Carolina point guard Jeff Lebo, who is now in his first year as head coach at Tennessee Tech. This week Lebo took an important step towards establishing an imporant pipeline with Charlie Benson's highly regarded Tennessee Travelers AAU program. Lebo did this by landing one of the Tennessee Travelers' top two seniors in 6'5 Brent Jolly from Sparta (White County) TN, who ranks #222 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, as well as one of the top five seniors in Tennessee.
On July 4th we told you that St. John's was going to hire New York (Rice) NY assistant Dermon Player, who also has been an assistant coach for New York Riverside Church for the last seven years, which is is widely regarded as the #1 club team in America. It's not official yet, but it will be on Monday. Obviously, this is a very important hire, because Player should provide the new regime with the pipeline they will need in recruiting in New York City.
The Ohio State basketball staff is done recruiting, but the football staff has 6'6 Derek Smith from Ft. Thomas (Highlands) KY, who is the consensus #1 ranked football and basketball prospect in the state of Kentucky this year, on campus this weekend for the Ohio State-Penn State football game. Our Ohio editor, Chris Johnson, tells us that the Buckeyes are #2 on Smith's list behind Kentucky and if he wants to play basketball, as well as football, at Ohio State, he's more than welcome to do so.
Somebody recently started the rumor that Arizona State was no longer recruiting 6'5 Tito Maddox from Compton (H.S.) CA. Not only are the Sun Devils still in the hunt for Maddox, but we are projecting the Pac-10 school as the co-favorite, along with Connecticut. Arizona State also recently got a commitment from 6'8 Chris Osborne from Los Angeles (Fairfax) CA, as well as commitments from the three top players in the state of Arizona's loaded senior class - 6'8 Donnell Knight from Phoenix (St. Mary's) AZ, 6'8 Tommy Smith from Phoenix (North) AZ, 6'6 Tanner Shell from Mesa (Mountain View) AZ. We also expect Arizona State to get another commitment in the near future from 6'8 Shawn Redhage from Lincoln (Northeast) NE.
Friday, October 2, 1998
Don't be surprised if the University of Pittsburgh lands 6'0 Brandin Knight from West Orange (Seton Hall Prep) NJ, who ranks #91 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, within the next few days. Also don't be surprised if the Panthers still get 6'9 Rodney White from Kensington (Newport Prep) MD, who recently told the Pitt coaching staff that he wants to come, but then changed his mind. However, he may not have much of a choice, because the only other two schools still on his list are UNC-Charlotte and Seton Hall. But the Pirates appear to be on the verge of landing 6'3 Bernard King from Gibsland (Gibsland-Coleman) LA, who ranks #59 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. If this happens, Seton Hall would not be able to take White, because they would be out of scholarships. However, one might come available if 6'11 Samuel Dalembert from Elizabeth (St. Patrick) NJ were to renege on his commitment to Seton Hall. Rumor has it that Dalembert might wait until spring, because St.Patrick head coach Kevin Boyle wants to move up to the college level and he is looking to package himself with Dalembert.
The recruitment of a number of the top guards in the East is a very tangled web indeed. We are now predicting that 6'1 Todd Billet from Lincroft (Christian Brothers) NJ, who is the best point guard still available in the senior class, will either sign with Villanova or Rutgers. As a matter of fact, he's a visiting Rutgers this weekend. Let's say Billet follows in his brother's footsteps and goes to Rutgers. That could have a direct effect on 6'1 Lionel Chalmers from Albany (H.S.) NY and 6'3 Brian Woodward from Bayside (Cardozo) NY, both of whom also have Rutgers high on their list. Chalmers is also considering Pittsburgh, Providence, Seton Hall, and Xavier, but if 6'3 Bernard King from Gibsland (Gibsland-Coleman) LA goes to Seton Hall, 6'0 Brandin Knight from West Orange (Seton Hall Prep) NJ goes to Pittsburgh, and Woodward goes to Providence, that would mean that Xavier would win by default. Let's say Billet goes to Villanova and Chalmers picks Providence before Woodward does. That would leave Woodward with Rutgers and Rhode Island, but we don't look for Woodward to go to Rhode Island, because they're already well stocked at both guard spots. Also, if Billet goes to Villanova, what does that do to the recruitment of 6'3 DeShaun Williams from Paterson (Catholic) NJ? Williams also has Xavier and Syracuse on his list, but if Chalmers goes to Xavier, Syracuse would be only school left on Willams' list. And if it weren't already complicated enough, if Notre Dame pulls off the upset and gets Billet, that might be enough to sway 6'6 Matt Carroll from Horsham (Hatboro-Horsham) PA, who currently has the Irish a close second on his list behind Wake Forest.
Jim Rothman, our Mid-South Editor, tells us that 6'7 Alonzo Lane from Canton (H.S.) MS, who ranks #90 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, has reneged on his commitment to Mississippi State. However, we are now prediciting that the Bulldogs will get they guy they really want - 6'11 Jonathan Bender from Picayune (H.S.) MS, who is ranked #12 nationally in the class by the HOOP SCOOP, but has as much natural talent and potential as anybody in the class. Why is Mississippi State now such a lock for Bender? Because deal has been done. Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury is going to hire one of the assistant coaches for the New Orleans Jazz. If you recall, Bender played all spring and summer for Thad Foucher, who runs the New Orleans Jazz, which is widely regarded as one of the best AAU programs in the nation.
A rumor on the street that we continue to heard is that 6'0 Val Brown from Springfield (Robert E. Lee) VA and 6'3 Chris Monroe from Wheaton (Good Counsel) MD, both have committed to George Washington. We expect his to happen. As a matter of fact, we've predicted that this will happen. But it hasn't happened yet and our sources on this are about as good as you can get.
Two weeks ago it looked like UCLA was on the verge of getting a commitment from 6'5 Kareem Rush from Kansas City (Pembroke Hill) MO, but it didn't happen. Now Greg Swaim of Midwest Basketball tells us Rush is visiting Oklahoma this weekend and he thinks Rush may make a verbal commitment to the Sooners while on the visit. We also think Kansas may get a commitment very soon from 6'3 Kirk Hinrich from Sioux City (West) IA, who ranks #41 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. Swaim confirms that it's really Kansas and nobody else. He is visiting Kansas this weekend, his sister goes to Kansas, and his AAU teammate 6'9 Nick Collison from Iowa Falls (H.S.) IA committed to Kansas recently.
Thursday, October 1, 1998
We've seen reports that 6'6 Caron Butler, who transferred to Pittsfield (Maine Central Institute) ME this fall from Racine (Washington Park) WI, is close to or already has made a verbal commitment to Purdue University. According to Maine Central Institute head coach Max Good, that is not correct. Good does confirm that Purdue is the leader, but adds that Butler is a long way away from making a decision. Also on Butler's list are Georgetown, Arizona, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Providence, and UNC-Charlotte, but don't be surprised if that list gets longer before it gets shorter. How good is Butler? Good calls him a combination Rodney McCray-Mark Aquire. "He has a great understanding of the game," says Good. "A lot of players just make big shots, but Butler makes big plays - whether it be a pass, a steal, or block - that win games. He's like Greg Maddox, a pitcher who beats you by out thinking you and with his location, instead overpowering you with a 100 mile an hour fast ball." Again how good is Butler? Good didn't tell us, but I have a feeling he'll be ranked among our top five or 10 in the class nationally before the year's over. I also have a feeling he's Maine Central Institute's best player and that's a strong statement when one considers that 6'9 Dermarr Johnson not only has survived thus far playing for Good, but he's been doing extremely well.
We are now getting reports that Clemson is on the verge of landing 6'0 Edward Scott from Columbia (Lower Richland) SC, who ranks #74 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP. This is not only important, because Clemson needs a point guard, but it could have direct implications regarding 6'1 Todd Billet from Lincroft (Christian Brothers) NJ, who ranks #21 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, because Clemson is one of his top schools, along with Notre Dame, Villanova, Rutgers, and Princeton. And if Clemson does indeed take Scott and, as result, stop recruiting Billet, it would be the second time that an ACC school bailed out on him first this fall. Remember, he was all set to commit to Virginia a month ago, but the Cavaliers took 6'0 Majestic Mapp from Bronx (St. Raymond's) NY instead.
Several days ago, John Eurey, the President of the SuperStar Foundation, Inc. in Houston told us that 6'8 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX, who ranks #24 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, would likely leave the state to attend college and that the top three schools on his list are Vanderbilt, Michigan, and N.C. State, where he will be this weekend. Then yesterday, Greg Swaim, the Editor and Publisher of Midwest Basketball, called to tell us that he has a source who thinks Williams is going to the University of Houston. As a matter of fact, Swaim is so confident of this that he has reported it on his web site. Usually Swaim is right on the money, but we can't confirm it. As a matter of fact, we've checked it out four different ways and Eurey's information looks to be as good as gold, which leads us to believe that Swaim's source is either an overzealous Houston fan or he has one hell of a scoop.
Wayne Simone's And 1 Hoop Challenge was a major success at Fairfield University several weeks ago, so it seems only fitting that he also will be holding his High School Hoops Coach's Clinic in the same location, Sunday, October 11th, from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Not only does Simone have some of the best young minds in the game lined up as speakers, including New York Nets head coach John Calipari, Rutgers head coach Kevin Bannon, Providence head coach Tim Welsh, Hofstra head coach Jay Wright, and Fairfield Women's head coach Diane Nolan, but he also is providing a great opportunity for high school coaches, as well as anybody who else who wants to improve their knowledge of the game. Among the things that will addressed include the half-court offense, pressing defense, individual drills, perimeter offense, and game preperation. The cost is $40 if you pre-register or $50 at the door. For more information call Wayne Simone (203) 596-9264 and Joe Gaetano (203) 265-4080.
As long as we're talking about Maine Central Institute, several college coaches who have been to Pittsfield, ME this fall and seen them practice tell us that they think head coach Max Good will likely start 6'10 Wesley Wilson at center, 6'8 Andre Williams at power forward, 6'9 Dermarr Johnson and 6'6 Caron Butler at the wings, and 5'5 Jr Avery Queen at the point. Also figuring to get plenty of playing time will be 6'1 Alfred Miller, 6'6 Jamal Brown, 6'1 Demon Brown, and 6'3 Jaron Brown, who might be the biggest surprise of all. Apparently he's lost weight and is now one of the best defenders on the team. Good tells us that Pittsburgh, which already has a commitment from Jamal Brown, also leads Rhode Island, Providence, and Louisville for Jaron Brown. Williams is a great catch for Oklahoma State and Wilson will likely pick Georgetown, although it hasn't happened yet. Queen is just a junior, Butler may come back for 5th year, and Johnson probably won't do anything until spring. So obviously all these guys will be going in different directions after this season, but do you think you could win a NCAA Championship with this bunch if they all stayed together for the next three or four years? A year ago, Good coached a team that went undefeated in the tough New England Prep School League that included three guards who are now playing in the Big East - Erick Barkley at St. John's, Bobby Smith at Villanova, and Kevin Braswell at Georgetown - but this team might have more talent.
We reported several days ago that the University of Michigan was among the final five for 6'8 Leland Anderson from North Attleboro (H.S.) MA, who ranks #85 nationally by the HOOP SCOOP, but we weren't expecting it to happen this fast. Like 6'5 Gavin Groninger from Plainfield (H.S.) IN, who the Wolverines landed a week ago, Anderson is a great kept, because he's verstaile enough to play several positions and he's good enough to impact in the program right away. However, he may run the risk of getting recruited over this fall, because Michigan, which has eight scholarships to give, is still very much involved with a number of the top forwards in the nation, like 6'7 Travis Watson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA 6'6 LaVell Blanchard from Ann Arbor (Pioneer) MI, 6'5 Marshall Williams from Milwaukee (Vincent) WI, and 6'7 George Williams from Sugar Land (Elkins) TX, 6'8 Jason Parker from Charlotte (West Charlotte) NC, 6'7 Travis Watson from Mouth of Wilson (Oak Hill) VA, and 6'8 Aloyius Anagonya from Detroit (St. Martin DePorres) MI, 6'6 Richard Wright from East Chicago (Central) IN.