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  • Junior College Big Man Eric Cobb Commits to Huskies March 8, 2017 Nick Schwartz

     

    Yesterday evening, Chipola Junior College center Eric Cobb committed to Kevin Ollie and the Huskies. The 6 foot, 10 inch Cobb will have two years of eligibility remaining when he suits up for UConn next November.

    The former South Carolina Gamecock averaged 11 points and 8 boards a game this past season for Chipola, which owns one of the top basketball programs at the junior college level. At over 270 pounds, the physical specimen will give the Huskies important muscle in a front court rife with bodies, but short on experience. While he likely needs some conditioning before becoming a major contributor, the rebounding instincts and semblance of an offensive game are welcome sights for Husky fans.

    Cobb figures to fit right into the UConn rotation next year. Current sophomore Steve Enoch is still likely the starting center, despite deficiencies on the defensive end. However, Cobb will push Enoch both in practice and for playing time, and should allow current freshmen Juwan Durham and (redshirting) Mamadou Diarra to continue their developments on a normal pace in 2017, along with incoming freshman Josh Carlton.

    Out of high school, Cobb also considered Kansas State, VCU, Boston College, and Alabama before deciding on the Gamecocks. In this go-round, UConn beat out Houston, Texas Tech, and others for his commitment.

  • Recruiting: 5-star Diallo chooses Kentucky January 8, 2017 Noah Holley

    5-star shooting guard Hamidou Diallo announced his commitment to Kentucky yesterday.  He is ranked no. 11 in the ESPN 100.

    Diallo attends Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut.

    Diallo will immediately enroll at Kentucky, but is not expected to play until next season.  There is little room for him in Kentucky’s loaded backcourt.

    Diallo chose Kentucky over Connecticut, Arizona and others.  UConn was hurt the most by the 19-year-old’s decision, as he lived only 25 miles from campus.  He made countless visits to the school over the past few years, and the Huskies were considered to be the favorite to sign him for most of his recruiting process.  UConn is in the midst of a disastrous season, and the hopes were that Diallo would enroll early and help get them on the right track.

    If Diallo indeed chooses to sit out the remainder of 2016-17, he will officially be a part of the Wildcats’ top-rated 2017 recruiting class, which consists of four 5-stars.

    Diallo is eligible for the 2017 NBA Draft, but has stated that he wants to play college ball.

     

     

  • Fall Signing Period Recap December 16, 2016 College Pride Press

    The fall signing period is officially over and some programs will singing praise while others might be worried for their future. The Cinderella story of this year would have to be the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Despite going 18-15 in 2015-2016 (8-10 in the conference), 2nd year coach Avery Johnson scored two 5-star commits in Collin Sexton and John Petty. Sexton and Petty joined 4-star Alex Reese and 3-star’s Herb Jones and Galin Smith. The Kentucky Wildcats and Duke Blue Devils also scored big, but that’s expected.

    Here is my breakdown of (some of) the top recruits that committed this fall and what this means for their programs:

    DeAndre Ayton: University of Arizona

    The Phoenix native decided to stay in the Grand Canyon State despite getting offers from top programs Kansas and Kentucky. This kid is putting up numbers most players only ever dream of. However, there’s still speculation over Ayton’s eligibility so hopefully the Wildcats don’t miss out on such a stellar athlete. He’s also a very young guy; if he were to enter the 2017 Draft-as many still think he would because he is a Bahamas native and would be eligible- he would be a month away from his 19th Sure, entering the draft at a young age benefited some players, but not everyone is LeBron; they’re not born dunking on a 10-foot hoop right after coming out the womb. I see Arizona being a place for DeAndre to shine.

    Gary Trent Jr.: Duke

    With the great possibility that Grayson Allen enters the draft after this season, Duke picked up a great recruit in this shooting guard. Once a UK target, Trent is trying to bring a few other UK targets, Mohamed Bomba and Kevin Knox, to Cameron Indoor, in hopes of lifting them to the No. 1 recruiting class of the year. Even if he succeeds, it’s going to be hard to reach his goal of getting a national championship if Duke doesn’t get a solid point guard.

    Wendell Carter: Duke

    Oh, Wendell. The Duke commit from Atlanta released a James Bond-style video to announce his commitment to the rest of the country. If you haven’t seen it and you enjoy unnecessary theatrics, then I suggest giving it a look. Regardless, the kid is good and easily the best that Duke could get. He played for Team CP3, an AAU team sponsored by the Clippers and Chris Paul, alongside future teammate Harry Giles III. Carter is also, for lack of a better term, a genius. He’s taking honors calculus this year and has a 3.6 GPA while trying to defend his two-time state titles. To put this in perspective, I took pre-calc when I was his age and cried every day because it was too hard.

    Collin Sexton: Alabama

    The Georgia native now bleeds Crimson and the Tide of Alabama gained their second 5-star commit to round out their 2017 recruiting class. In my opinion, this could easily be the best class Bama has had in a while. Back in May, Sexton scored 44 in an EYBL Atlanta game against Auburn commit Davion Mitchell. But here’s the thing: he wasn’t even a ranked recruit then. His experience with the USA U17 team is how he got his name out there. He received a late invitation and barely stood a chance of making the team but eventually went on to win MVP during his first international competition. If he can improve that much over the course of a summer, I can’t imagine what he can do when he joins his teammates in Tuscaloosa. Roll Tide

    Billy Preston: University of Kansas

    The only five-star pickup by the Jayhawks and the Los Angeles native is ready to shine under Coach Self. Per Bill Self himself, he has “guard-type athletic ability and skills but…he can be a force inside as well.” He’s also going to be the tallest guy on the roster, adding a little depth to a team that seems to be struggling this season. Coach Self has been recruiting Preston since his 8th grade year so they developed a relationship over the years, which played a role in his decision. There are a few questions regarding his eligibility but as Kansas proved last year, they have no problem with getting those resolved.

    Nick Richards: University of Kentucky

    One of Kentucky’s two five-stars, this New York native turned down offers from Arizona, Villanova, Oklahoma, UCLA, Indiana, UCONN, and Syracuse so he could call Rupp Arena home. Kentucky was the only school he visited, so it was a no brainer that he was going to follow in the footsteps of numerous great Kentucky centers like DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. In the Peach Jam AAU Tournament (where numerous of these recruits played), he averaged 12.2 points and 12.8 rebounds. His scoring is low compared to other players but his defense is going to be key for Kentucky’s success. His 7’3” wingspan will help this team reach new heights.

    PJ Washington: University of Kentucky

    UNLV fans were disappointed when the Findlay Prep senior committed to a school they could never compete with. The UK commit plays for his father, Paul Washington, at Findlay, and there was potential for the two to become Rebels together. Washington got his list down to UK, North Carolina, and Arizona, but the Wildcats won out. Like Richards, I’m sure he simply wanted to play at a school that produces talent after one season. I just hope he’ll consider staying for a second year.

    Kris Wilkes: UCLA

    Hoosier fans were devastated to hear that the Indianapolis native was headed out west to another historic program. Yet another Mr. Basketball that IU has missed out on for the past five years (the last commit being Cody Zeller in 2011). However, coming from a Hoosier fan, the state of Indiana is excited to see what this kid can do. Not only is he playing for Coach Steve Alford, 1983 Mr. Indiana Basketball, but he’s playing for Coach Steve Alford, 1986 National Champion for the Indiana Hoosiers. These two will be bleeding Cream and Crimson and UCLA Blue and gold while honoring the history of both Bob Knight and John Wooden. With UCLA freshmen TJ Leaf and Lonzo Ball (who, by the way, is AWESOME), and sophomore Aaron Holiday, and now Wilkes, the Bruins are shaping up to be the best they have in years.

    Jalek Felton: UNC

    The Tar Heels are going to be excited about this four-star commit, especially with losing seniors Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, and Nate Britt after this season *fights back tears*. With these guys leaving, it feels as though the Marcus Paige era is truly over, but that means one thing…who will step up and fill the gaps left behind by these Tar Heel greats? My magic eight ball tells me that Felton is going to be the guy. He committed over two years ago, and has one goal: to win a national championship. He told USA Today that he’s been donning the Carolina Blue since he was five and felt a family atmosphere during his first unofficial visit; looks like we have that in common. I can tell that this kid chose to be a Tar Heel not because it would be a pit stop on his way to the NBA but because he truly loves the program. Also, he responded to my tweet to him so he automatically tops my list.

    John Petty: Alabama

    He was the first from the Class of 2017 to receive an offer from Coach Calipari but it turns out this kid likes the Crimson Tide over Big Blue Nation (so would I, but that’s a story for another day). The Hunstville native is the reigning Mr. Basketball and is just one of the many positives to Alabama’s future as a top men’s basketball program. This is not the only in-state commit for the Tide, he’s joined by Alex Reese and Herb Jones, a good sign for Coach Johnson and his ability to keep guys close to home. I see a great relationship building between Petty and Coach Johnson, one that could lead to numerous benefits even after Petty is gone.

    Nicole Minnich

  • ESPN GEICO High School Showcase on December 15th, 2016 December 13, 2016 Sean Bock

    With no top 25 teams in action this Thursday, ESPN has given us hoop fans an early Christmas present.  On Thursday, December 15th, four of the top high school teams in the country will participate in the GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase.

    The Thursday double header will consist of USA Today’s No. 18 New Albany High School (IN) vs. No. 1 La Lumiere (IN) at 7 PM ET which will be followed by No. 3 Sierra Canyon (CA) vs. No. 2 Oak Hill (VA) which will start at approximately 9 PM ET.  The games will be played at the largest high school gym in the United States of America, the New Castle Fieldhouse in New Castle, Indiana which holds a capacity of roughly 9.325 and is seats more than D1 college basketball programs such as Duke, Northern Iowa, Notre Dame, SMU and VCU. New Castle is also home to Indiana great and current UCLA Head Coach, Steve Alford.

    The doubleheader will feature some of the top high school ballers in the country including:

    New Albany

    Romeo Langford (2018)- No. 2 overall and No. 1 SG in ESPN60

    Offers: Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Purdue, UCLA, Vanderbilt

    La Lumiere

    Brian Bowen (2017)- No. 13 overall and No. 3 SF in ESPN100

    Offers: Arizona, Creighton, Michigan State, NC State, Texas, UCLA

    Jaren Jackson (2017)- No. 26 overall and No. 5 C in ESPN100

    Offers: Committed to Michigan State

    Jordan Poole (2017)- No. 58 overall and No. 16 SG in ESPN100

    Offers: Committed to Michigan

    Tyger Campbell (2019)- No. 25 overall and No. 3 PG in ESPN25

    Offers: Alabama, Illinois, Michigan State, New Mexico, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, TCU, UNLV, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky

    Sierra Canyon

    Cody Riley (2017)- No. 45 overall and No. 7 PF in ESPN100

    Offers: Committed to UCLA

    Marvin Bagley (2018)- No. 1 overall and No. 1 PF in ESPN60

    Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, California, UCONN, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington State

    Oak Hill

    Billy Preston (2017)- No. 20 overall and No. 3 PF in ESPN100

    Offers: Committed to Kansas

    Matt Coleman (2017)- No. 27 overall and No. 4 PG in ESPN100

    Offers: Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Louisville, NC State, Seton Hall, Stanford, Syracuse, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Xavier

    Lindell Wigginton (2017)- No. 49 overall and No. 12 SG in ESPN100

    Offers: Committed to Iowa State

    Ty-Shon Alexander (2017)- No. 64 overall and No. 18 SG in ESPN100

    Offers: Committed to Creighton

     

    With no real intriguing college games on Thursday, this doubleheader is the perfect prescription to satisfy your basketball needs.  Top 100 recruits; whether it be seniors, juniors, sophomores, or even freshmen that I couldn’t track down their names or rankings, it’ll be interesting to see how these players perform against the some of their fellow highly touted opponents on National Television.  Make sure to tune into ESPN or ESPN2 on Thursday and 7 PM and/or 9 PM ET to watch some of the future stars of college basketball!

     

     

  • Recruiting: Miami lands 5-star SG Walker November 16, 2016 Noah Holley

    5-star SG Lonnie Walker announced his commitment to Miami Wednesday, landing the Canes one of the biggest recruits in program history.

    The 6-5 Walker, from Reading, Pa., is gifted with impressive physical attributes and eyebrow-raising athleticism.  His arrival will ensure Miami boasts one of the top backcourts in 2017-18.

    247sports ranked him as the 3rd-best shooting guard in the 2017 class.

    The guard’s commit to Miami comes as somewhat of a surprise.  Walker chose the Canes over Villanova, Arizona, Kentucky and Syracuse, all considered favorites to sign him at one point on his recruiting trail.

    However, for Walker’s local school, Villanova, this one especially stings.  Landing Walker has been the program’s main recruiting focus for well over a year.

    Walker is Miami’s 4th commit of 2017.  The Hurricanes now have the 9th-ranked class according to 247sports.com.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Recruiting: St. Louis lands 5-star for 2018 October 26, 2016 Noah Holley

    Power forward Carte’Are Gordon, the 9th-ranked recruit in ESPN.com’s 2018 Top 60 rankings, committed to St. Louis on Wednesday.

    Gordon checks in a little lower in 247sports.com’s 2018 composite rankings, at no. 22.  In a class especially rich with power forward talent, however, he only ranks 11th in the site’s rankings for the position.

    Gordon, a St. Louis native who attends Western Grove High, chose the Billikens over Kansas and Missouri.  He had narrowed down his list to those teams a few days ago.

    If head coach Travis Ford has changed anything about his new program, it appears to be the recruiting culture.  Ford has hauled in two heralded recruits in his first summer in charge of the Billikens, the other being four-star guard Jordan Goodwin, a senior.  For as long as the ESPN recruiting database has existed (it was spawned in 2007), St. Louis has never had a ranked recruit, and hasn’t had one as highly touted as Gordon since 1997 McDonald’s All-American Larry Hughes.

    According to 247sports.com, Gordon is the highest-ranked junior to commit.

    Image property of Jon Lopez of Nike.  collegepridepress.com does not own the rights to the above image.

  • 4-star Shooting Guard Commits to NC State October 4, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2017 4-star shooting guard Thomas Allen committed to NC State this past weekend over Nebraska, Ohio State, Saint Louis and Virginia Tech. Allen ranks as the #134 prospect in the 2017 class, and one of the best players in the state of North Carolina. Allen committed during his official visit in Raleigh.

    Allen is a incredible shooter. In transition, Allen can drive well and finish, or he can pull up with a jumpshot that is very reliable and consistent.

    Allen is the first 2017 commit for the Wolfpack.

  • Clifton Moore commits to Indiana October 2, 2016 Sean Bock

    Less than a week after receiving a commitment from Justin Smith, Tom Crean added another commitment to his 2017 recruiting class today.

    Clifton Moore,  a 6-foot-10 forward from Hatboro-Horsham High School in Pennsylvania, committed to the Hoosiers after taking an official visit this weekend to Bloomington.

    Moore, a 3-star recruit, also held offers from Ole Miss, St. Joseph’s, Temple, Northwestern, and Boston College.

    The Hoosiers didn’t offer Moore till September after assistant coach Chuck Martin saw him put up 20 points and 12 rebound against former IU target and 4-star forward Malik Williams who is committed to Louisville.

    Moore is considered by many national scouts as a “Stretch 4” that can shoot the ball consistently from the perimeter and runs the floor very well for someone of his height and position.  On defense, Moore is a big presence in the paint with his long arms that gives him an advantage in shot blocking and limiting opponents chances in the paint.  With his 6-10 frame, Moore is only 195 pounds.  Indiana’s off-season weight training program will help him develop into a physically strong and built player which will add another dimension to his game.

    Many Hoosier fans may be concerned about the quality of rankings and offers for Moore but keep in mind that this is because he did not play for a major AAU team on the “shoe circuit”. That is where many recruits get watched by coaches and recruiting analysts. Moore could be an extremely underrated pickup for the Hoosiers.

    Moore is the third player to commit to the Hoosiers in the 2017 recruiting class along with 4-star forward Justin Smith and 3-star guard Al Durham.

    https://youtu.be/-zGJ7-R2SM4

     

     

     

  • Former SMU Commit Decides on Maryland October 2, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2017 4-star center Bruno Fernando, a former Southern Methodist commit, has committed to Maryland over Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU and others. Fernando is one of the best centers in the 2017 class, and is ranked #71 nationally by 247Sports.

    Fernando is a fantastic post player who can get to the rim rather easily and can finish with either hand. When his back is to the basket, he is as good as it gets. He is fundamentally sound on all facets of his game. Defensively, Fernando forces turnovers frequently, whether it be a blocked shot or a steal. Fernando, who is 6-10 and weighs 225 pounds, can dunk with incredible force, and all spectators have an initial thought about the rim coming down after he flushes one home.

    Fernando is the first 2017 commit for the Terrapins, and will be the first true center for Maryland since Diamond Stone, who was a second round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

  • Kansas Gets First 2019 Commit October 2, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2019 4-star point guard Markese Jacobs committed to Kansas after an unofficial visit Sunday. Jacobs is ranked as the #55 prospect nationally in the class of 2019, and one of the best sophomores in the state of Illinois.

    Jacobs had 3 other offers, all from his home state, in DePaul, Illinois, and Loyola Chicago.

    Jacobs, despite being undersized at 6-1, has an incredible vertical, and Jacobs can easily throw down impressive dunks. Jacobs is very flashy on offense. He has borderline ridiculous handles and is very quick. Jacobs can shoot well, but also attacks the rim with force. For his size, it is hard to find a player as physical as Jacobs. He is very entertaining to watch, and it will be interesting to see how his game develops throughout high school.

    Jacobs is the first 2019 commit for Bill Self.

  • Nate Pierre-Louis Discusses Commitment to Temple September 26, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2017 3-star guard Nate Pierre-Louis committed to Temple in mid September, and I got the opportunity to discuss with him why Temple was the choice.

    “ was the right fit. I had a really good visit,” Pierre-Louis stated as the primary reason for his commitment. He added that he “didn’t plan on committing” during the visit, but was “open minded” coming into the visit. Pierre-Louis stated he was considering Georgia Tech, Michigan and Vanderbilt as well.

    Pierre-Louis is one of the top prospects in New Jersey, and is the first commit for the Owls.

  • Top 15 College Basketball Freshman for 2016-17 August 29, 2016 Brett Siegel

    Over the past few weeks here at College Pride Press, we have ranked the top fifteen players in the senior, junior, and sophomore classes for the upcoming 2016-2017 college basketball season. For our fourth and final installment of our class rankings, I was given the task of ranking the top fifteen players in my very own freshman class! This could be one of the best recruiting classes in the history of college basketball, but we will not know for sure until we see these freshman hit the court in October!

     

    To start off, if you have read and or examined my 2017 NBA Draft Board, then this list shouldn’t bring any surprises to you! If you haven’t looked over the Draft Board, that’s okay, you can check it out anytime on our website though the NBA Draft tab! Enough talk, let’s get these rankings on the move!

     

    15. Frank Jackson

    PG – Duke – 6’4” 208 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 10                    247 Rank: 13            ScoutHoops Rank: 18

     

    Standing at 6’4”, Frank Jackson joins a loaded Duke recruiting class full of first round talent in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft! With Grayson Allen returning for his Junior year at Duke, I do not see Frank Jackson stepping in right away and contributing significant minutes for Duke this season. Can he be an excellent fill-in for when Grayson Allen fouls out or needs a break? Sure! Can he come in off the bench and take control of the game? Absolutely! Frank Jackson is one of the most athletic freshman coming out of this recruiting class and with his explosiveness and ball-handling skills, he will be a tough matchup for any undersized guard that has the task of trying to guard him.

     

    Although Frank Jackson exhibits a strong mental aspect for the game, one down side to the young guard is he is not always the most willing passer. He tends to settle for deep, contested jumpers early in the shot clock, which could cut his minutes short if he continues this trend into the collegiate level. Overall, Jackson can really score and exhibits a deadly jumper at times. His development as a playmaker will ultimately make or break his career as he looks to turn pro!

     

    14. Marques Bolden

    C – Duke – 6’11” 250 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 16              247 Rank: 15              ScoutHoops Rank: 8

     

    I can promise you, the top 15 does not consist of just Duke players! There recruiting class, already number one at the time, kept on getting better when Marques Bolden announced he was going to become a Blue Devil! From Jahlil Okafor to all three of the Plumlee brothers, Duke has has always been known for having elite big men. Marques is nothing less than elite. Although like most big men, Bolden is not very athletic and struggles shooting free throws. But, one thing you can count on him to do is to get any rebound on any side of the floor! In addition to being a rebounding machine, Bolden shows very nice potential defensively as a highly skilled shot blocker, and even has a smooth mid-range jump shot that should develop nicely in time.

     

    For a player of his caliber and for displaying such little weaknesses, it is hard to imagine that Marques Bolden will not find himself in the starting five come time for March Madness! Bolden’s future is very high and with his talents at both ends of the floor, he could easily help Duke raise yet another banner at Cameron Indoor!

     

    13. Lauri Markkenen

    PF/C – Arizona – 7’0” 225 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 5-Star              247 Rank: 21              ScoutHoops Rank: 25-26

     

    I know some of you are saying to yourselves right now, “Who is this kid!” That is what a lot of NBA scouts will be saying when they see Lauri Markkenen play for the first time at Arizona this winter! Originally from Finland, Markkenen has spent his past few years playing in European Championships and developing his skills in attempts to reach the NBA level. Last season, he played in the U-20 European-A-Championships where his team finished in 15th place. Although the team struggled, Lauri’s numbers were very impressive. He shot 50.4% from the field and 38.2% from 3-pt range. He averaged 24.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, and an impressive 1.3 BPG.

     

    When was the last time you saw a 7ft center in college basketball get a block at one end, sprint down the floor, and bang a three at the opposite end? It is almost unheard of and impossible to think of this, but Markkenen is known overseas for this. He has very nice mobility on defense for a big man and can guard the perimeter as well as the paint. At just 19 years old, Lauri Markkenen already has 4 years of pro and FIBA experience and will look to play a vital role for Sean Miller and the wildcats of Arizona this year!

     

    12. Miles Bridges

    SF – Michigan St. – 6’8” 230 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 8              247 Rank: 12              ScoutHoops Rank: 14

     

    Without a doubt, the best athlete in the 2016 recruiting class is Miles Bridges. Being a Michigan native, Miles Bridges decided to stay local and play for Tom Izzo’s Spartans instead of going to Kentucky to play under John Calipari. After losing four of their five starters from last season and coming off of a heartbreaking loss to Middle Tennessee St. in the First Round of March Madness, Tom Izzo decided to start clean with a Top-5 freshman recruiting class. Remember Denzel Valentine? Well, you will be watching Valentine 2.0 when Bridges steps out on the court in East Lansing!

     

    Many scouts have acclaimed Bridges for his rare and impressive combination of power, body control, and explosiveness off two feet. He is so agile and quick that his first step and body strength makes him impossible to contain in a straight line drive to the basket. Although he can struggle at times with his jump shot, Miles makes up for it with his quick drives to the basket and ability to create space on the floor by finding the open man. Other than his jumper, Miles Bridges does not appear to have any other visible weaknesses, making him one of the top recruits in his class. As he works with Tom Izzo this offseason and throughout his freshman year, expect to see Miles Bridges high on a lot of draft boards when it comes time in June, 2017 to draft!

     

    11. Malik Monk

    PG/SG – Kentucky – 6’4” 185 lb

    ESPN Rank: 9              247 Rank: 11              ScoutHoops Rank: 13

     

    Did you see this boy during the McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Competition? He can fly! Yet again, John Calipari has put together another top recruiting class in Lexington thanks to Monk and company. As one freshman three point player under Calipari goes to the NBA, another is set to join the wildcats. That player this year is Malik Monk.

     

    As a combo-guard from Arkansas, Monk offers a lot to a young Wildcat squad looking to stay on top of the college basketball world. He is a very talented ball-handler that can easily put up 20+ points a game if not guarded carefully. He can be deadly in transition, but struggles at times passing because he doesn’t like to give up the ball unless he knows he is going to get the assist. I mean, who can blame him? We all want to shoot the ball and only give it up if we are picking up the assist! On the defensive side of the ball, Malik Monk has the tools to become a solid defender due to his quickness and ability to stop the drive. Overall, it should be interesting to see what kind of role Malik Monk plays on a loaded Kentucky squad this season.

     

    10. Jarrett Allen

    C – Texas – 6’11” 227 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 15              247 Rank: 17              ScoutHoops Rank: 15

     

    Another big man? Is this 2016 recruiting class just full of top centers? Well actually, yes, this class is loaded with talented big men! Jarrett Allen is another one of those big men who fall into the elite category. So, what makes him better than Marques Bolden and Lauri Markkenen? Well, one thing that makes Jarrett Allen special is explosiveness and athleticism as a big man. It is not everyday you see a 6’11” center sprinting up and down the floor on every possession. He is an extremely talented offensive rebounder and can easily contribute towards 4-6 more possessions per game! Allen is a “team first” type player and always looks for his teammates before taking the game into his own hands. Depending on how Shaka Smart approaches his offensive play style this year, having Allen as the focal point could be a blessing or a curse for Texas.

     

    Shaka Smart loves to play fast-paced defense and force other teams to make mistakes. Jarrett Allen will be a key piece in Texas’s defensive scheme because of his shot blocking ability and his ability to run the floor. What has impressed many programs and scouts is that Allen is almost the first person player down the court on most possessions. Allen will be looked upon by Texas to not necessarily play a huge role on offense, but to be able to rebound and push the ball up the court for quick transition points. Jarrett Allen will be without a doubt one of the most intriguing players to watch to see how his game translates from high school to the collegiate level.

     

    9. Jonathan Isaac

    SF – Florida St. – 6’11” 205 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 12              247 Rank: 8              ScoutHoops Rank: 5

     

    Florida State has a basketball team and not just a football team? Well, yeah, Florida State does in fact have a basketball team, a pretty decent team that are always contenders in the ACC to pull off upsets. After barely missing the NCAA Tournament last season, Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles finished their solid season 20-14. Believe it or not, Florida St. finished 12th in this year’s recruiting season, and a big part of that ranking was because of the commitment of Jonathan Isaac.

     

    After losing Malik Beasley to the NBA Draft this past season, the Seminoles will be looking for a floor commander to pair with Dwayne Bacon outside. Jonathan Isaac, who is being compared to the #2 Overall pick in this year’s past draft, Brandon Ingram, has great size for a combo guard and even put on 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason. He exhibits excellence in defense one-on-one, and has solid shooting mechanics all the way out to the college three-point line. In his high school days and through Team USA camps, Isaac showed flashes of aggression in going to the rim, but excels in ballhandling and mid range pull-ups. One of his weaknesses coming from scouts around the league is that although he is lengthy, he has not improved his upper body strength and does not have a huge frame to be a combo forward moving forward in the league. One of the main things Isaac will have to work on during his time at Florida State is becoming a vocal leader on the floor. If Isaac can unleash his true potential and rise as the leader of this Seminole team, they could wind up be a dangerous play in the ACC and be a team to watch come tournament time. Jonathan Isaac has a lot of potential as a future player in the NBA, and if he can shine at Florida State, his name could be called very early next summer!

     

    8. Edrice “Bam” Adebayo

    PF – Kentucky – 6’10” 240 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 5              247 Rank: 9              ScoutHoops Rank: 11

     

    Edrice “Bam” Adebayo is one of the more intriguing players in this year’s recruiting class. After losing almost all of their big men, Kentucky was able to land 5-Star Adebayo. He will most likely start for the Wildcats along with the many other freshman John Calipari is bringing in. Bam is a very raw basketball player with a lot of question marks surrounding him. Is he a rebounder? Is he a post-offensive player? Well, nobody will know the answer to any questions until he takes the court for Big Blue Nation.

     

    Based upon evaluations, Adebayo can play above the rim with ease and looks to tear down the rim every time he has the ball inside. He is a physical interior presence that makes an impact on the glass on both ends of the floor. Bam looks to take jump shots, hook shots, dunks; pretty much if you name it, he will take it, besides a three point shot. His game is not very polished at this point and looks a lot like Willie-Cauley Stein when he first entered Calipari’s program. One thing that has NBA scouts keeping a close eye on him is his tremendous frame, athleticism, and motor. Come draft time and after Calipari has all of his kids submit their name for the NBA Draft, I am sure we will see Bam Adebayo stay in the draft and be drafted as a Thon Maker/Cheick Diallo type player who will develop in the NBA with time.

     

    7. De’Aaron Fox

    PG – Kentucky – 6’4” 171 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 6              247 Rank: 6              ScoutHoops Rank: 6

     

    I hope by now that you have realized exactly why Kentucky has the #1 Overall class yet again. With Tyler Ulis leaving for the NBA, John Calipari does it again and gets De’Aaron Fox, one of the nation’s top high school PGs. Fox has been playing with USA Basketball for the past few years and has seen his skills improve significantly. He is an exceptional passer in space and his ability to create plays in space cannot be matched by any other point guard in this class.

     

    Some analysts and rankings say De’Aaron Fox is the best PG in the 2016 recruiting class because of his defensive skills. He brings a tremendous intensity on the defensive end of the ball. Fox has quick hands and has terrific instincts for swiping the ball and creating turnovers. As a shooter, Fox finds it tough at times to settle for simple shots. His mechanics are not bad, but he struggles in creating space from his defenders. De’Aaron often times will have the ball late in the shot clock and since he is not the best perimeter shooter, he settles for a decent drive down the lane, and a tough floater or contested jump shot. Fox’s size, athleticism, passing, and defense could make him a very intriguing prospect for the NBA. In order to be a starting point guard in the NBA, Fox must improve his skills this year with Kentucky. If lots of rankings have De’Aaron Fox ranked at 6, why is he ranked 7 on my rankings? Well, you can all thank this next prospect who was considered the top prospect overall for a while!

     

    6. Harry Giles

    PF – Duke – 6’11” 230 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 1              247 Rank: 2              ScoutHoops Rank: 2

     

    Harry Giles, who was the nation’s #1 overall prospect for 2016, was on his way to being the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft until he tore his ACL in his right knee and missed his senior year of high school. This was the second time in three years that Giles had injured this knee and a lot of prospects and universities began questioning whether or not he could handle playing in college. Coach K and Duke did not back off and as a result, landed Harry Giles to go along with their impressive 2016 recruiting class.

     

    Putting all things aside, Harry Giles is still a tremendous athlete who is agile, quick, and explosive. He can run the floor with incredible end to end speed and is a super aggressive offensive player. Giles has one of the highest basketball IQs and always looks as if he is one play ahead of everybody else. While mainly playing the post with good footwork, Giles has very impressive body control in the lane and has a great touch around the basket. He can find his way to the free throw line, is a rebounding animal, and has a lightning quick second jump. Harry Giles, although a stud on the offensive end of the ball, does find himself struggling at times from the foul line and beyond. He still needs to develop a perimeter stroke and needs to work on his 59% career free throw percentage. His defensive footwork and positioning could use some work as well. One thing he needs to realize as a post-defender is that it is not always about going for the block. Sometimes, it is better to be patient and contest a shot rather than being aggressive and always trying to swat the ball into the student section. Overall, Giles is a phenomenal prospect who shows potential for every aspect of basketball. There is still a lot of polishing and improvement to be done, but it is scary how good Harry Giles actually is when on the floor.

     

    5. Dennis Smith

    PG – N.C. State – 6’2” 180 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 5-Star              247 Rank: 5-Star              ScoutHoops Rank: 10

     

    Much like Lauri Markkenen, I am sure a lot of you are saying, “Who is Dennis Smith and why is he ranked higher than Harry Giles?” Well, Dennis Smith Jr. sat out his past year in high school because of an ACL injury and graduated early. As a result, he is not found on many rankings because he was not supposed to be in this recruiting class. Dennis Smith, is an exceptional athlete and uses his quickness to get to the rim. He cannot be contained in the open court and creates his own shots whether he is driving left or right. Smith is an extremely impressive passer, when he wants to be, and will be a very good distributor in his career. He contains a lot of potential as a pick and roll threat as a result of his ball-handling, shooting, and floor vision.

     

    Dennis Smith, although not a huge defensive player, can become an excellent defender if he wants to be. He has very quick feet and is very disruptive when he wants to be. The key phrase is, “When he wants to be.” Smith does not always give it his best every possession and is sometimes seen walking down the floor. He has plenty of room to improve in his decision making when his collegiate career begins and looks very wild sometimes on the floor. One thing he will have to work on while at N.C. State is to contain his sporadicness and immaturity while on the floor. His ceiling as a potential NBA prospect is extremely high, but he needs to realize that there is work to be done and that his skills can improve.

     

    4. Lonzo Ball

    PG – UCLA – 6’5” 195 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 4              247 Rank: 3              ScoutHoops Rank: 7

     

    Maybe the best defensive guard in this recruiting class, Lonzo Ball is being counted on by all UCLA fans to resurrect UCLA from the graveyard of College Basketball. Steve Alford, the coach of the UCLA Bruins, has a big year approaching that could determine whether or not his coaching career at UCLA is over. Over the past three years under Alford, the Bruins have finished 65-40 (62%) which is a decent record, but not good enough for the legendary UCLA basketball program. Steve Alford’s 2016 recruiting class is ranked fifth and has a lot of potential to awaken UCLA basketball from its long slumber, but this all starts with Lonzo Ball, the newest point guard in LA.

     

    Lonzo Ball is not the best shooter, but shoots with range and confidence. What makes Ball one of best point guards, if not the best, is his outstanding vision. He is a creative passer with either hand, delivers the ball from various angles, and has excellent timing when hitting cutters, shooters, and rim runners. He can find any guy at any time on the floor regardless if he has looked at them or not that possession. As a result of his great size for a point guard, Lonzo is very active on defense and has outstanding instincts and anticipation. Ball can find himself struggling at times when it comes to shooting as a result of his very awkward and unorthodox shooting mechanics. Lonzo Ball has a chance to be a special player for the Bruins and an attractive prospect for NBA GMs come time for drafting.

     

    3. Jayson Tatum

    SF – Duke – 6’8” 204 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 3              247 Rank: 4              ScoutHoops Rank: 4

     

    As we approach the end of the rankings, we also have found our final Duke player on this long list! Brandon Ingram has left for the NBA? No problem Duke nation because Jayson Tatum is here to pick up where Ingram left off! Tatum is a very smooth athlete who is not very explosive, but will wow you with his technique and finesse. He loves to work and operate in the mid-range where he loves to showcase his polished footwork and soft touch. Tatum is very effective at making tough shots off the dribble and creates space with ease. College basketball fans will be watching Duke this year and wondering why Jayson Tatum didn’t make the transition from high school to the NBA because of how polished and professional his game looks. He is a big play player and when the game is on the line, it is Tatum time!

     

    Jayson Tatum is not a very willing passer, which may be adjusted by Coach K and Grayson Allen this season, and loves to play 1v1 in isolation offense. Defensively, he can be very disruptive when locked in, but does not always show the highest intensity. He has the ability to be a real playmaker in the passing lanes and as a shot-blocker, but will need to show better desire to utilize his skills more often. Tatum is without a doubt a tremendous talent who will see his game improve, especially with Coach K shaping him into a top NBA prospect. Along with his other freshman Blue Devils, Jayson Tatum will stop at nothing to bring a title home to Durham.

     

    2. Josh Jackson

    SF – Kansas – 6’8” 203 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 2              247 Rank: 1              ScoutHoops Rank: 1

     

    With almost identical physical attributes to Tatum, Josh Jackson stands at #2 on my list. Jackson announced his college decision late and nobody was really unsure where he was going to end up. When he announced his commitment to Kansas, Bill Self could finally stop sweating and let out a sigh of relief. Before the signing of Jackson, Kansas only had 2 other commitments and had lots of needs to fill. Josh Jackson can and will fit all of those needs for Kansas! From the offensive side of the ball to the defensive side, Josh Jackson exhibits every trait that a #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft should have.

     

    Jackson is an impressive athlete and is excellent in transition with or without the ball. He has excellent court vision and is by no means a selfish player. Both a leader on and off the court, Jackson leads by example and never shies away from contact with the other team. Jackson loves to be bumped around and feeds off of the emotions of the other team and their fan support. He is a true competitor, but plays with emotions rather than instincts. Josh’s ball handling can be worrisome at times, but is not a major weakness at all. In order for Jackson to maximize his potential and become the best, he will need to continue to improve his skills as a jump shooter and continue putting the team over his own personal gain.

     

    1. Markelle Fultz

    PG/SG – Washington – 6’5” 190 lbs

    ESPN Rank: 7              247 Rank: 5              ScoutHoops Rank: 3

     

    And finally, my number one overall freshman for the upcoming season is Markelle Fultz. Look, I understand how good of players Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson are, but nothing will convince me that Markelle Fultz is not the best NBA prospect entering his freshman year in college. Fultz may have not played a collegiate game yet but his performance in the U18 FIBA America Tournament labels him as one of the best players in the country this season. In the U18 FIBA Americas Championship Game, Fultz recorded 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in just 21 minutes on the floor! Fultz already has the size, IQ, vision, and athletic ability to be a dominate dual-guard in the NBA. In addition to his stellar offensive play through the U18 tournament, Fultz also recorded a tournament high 3.2 steals per game.

     

    Markelle Fultz can kill you from the three-point line if left open, and if guarded closely, Fultz will blow past you to the rim. There really is no stopping Markelle Fultz, the best you can do is to try and slow him down by fouling. There are not many guards that can rebound, score, and pass with the vision that Fultz has. He truly controls a basketball game when he is on the floor. His confidence is off the charts and really does not have any visible weaknesses. At times, he can struggle with locking somebody down one on one, but rarely gets beat. To reiterate, Fultz has not even played a game yet at the collegiate level, but if I were a GM in the NBA, I would be on the phone trying to get the top pick in the 2017 draft in order to get this kid! At 6’5” and still growing, I would not be shocked at all to hear Markelle Fultz’s name be called by Adam Silver as the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft!

     

    That concludes my list of the Top 15 College Basketball Freshman for the 2016-17 season! I hope all you viewers enjoyed reading this list just as much as I loved writing it! As for my final thoughts on this year’s college basketball season, I believe that Duke and Kentucky are going to be two very tough teams to stop, but if there are any teams that can give them a run for their money, it is the teams with players on this list! Be sure to check out our other class rankings for the upcoming season and be sure to check out our college basketball articles as the season progresses!

     

    (Picture from sbnation.com)

  • Caleb Hollander: An Inspiration July 24, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    Caleb Hollander is a homeschool basketball player playing for the Nashville Central Christian Warriors. Hollander is a college basketball prospect who has been recruited by dozens of Division I colleges.

    Hollander’s story is like no other. Hollander was once regarded as one of the top freshman basketball players in the state of Tennessee. At that point, Hollander was homeschooled, and he had thoughts about going to a high school. Then, tragedy struck on Mother’s Day when Hollander’s father had a “massive” stroke, which left him permanently in a wheelchair and unable to speak. As a result, Hollander decided it was best for him to remain homeschooled throughout his high school career in order to provide 24/7 care for his father. Hollander used basketball as an outlet, and used what was happening at home as his motivation to be successful. As a sophomore, Hollander averaged 27 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, and 7 assists per game. His dominant play earned him a spot on the Georgia Stars EYBL basketball team. Hollander suffered a torn PCL towards the end of the season for the Nashville Christian Warriors, and was unable to play for the Georgia Stars. He did travel with the Stars to the majority of their games, proving his loyalty and dedication to the game of basketball. Unfortunately, colleges dropped their interest in Hollander, as they viewed his injury as a concern. Junior year, tragedy struck again, as Hollander’s father suffered another stroke. Hollander’s father, in bad condition, nearly died in Caleb’s arms on one occasion. To escape from the problems Hollander was facing at home, he continued to use basketball as an outlet. On the court his junior season, Hollander won the Pete Maravich Player of the Year Award, which is given to the nations best homeschooled high school basketball player. It was the perfect way to wrap up his very successful junior year, especially with the problems he was facing.

    At this point, Hollander holds a handful of mid-major offers, and has interest from many high-major schools. High Point, Marshall, Old Dominion, Oral Roberts, and Wright State are the five Division I offers he currently holds. In June, after his fathers condition got better, Hollander decided to attend elite basketball camps, and he was a standout at several of them. Utah was one of the first to high-major programs to reach out to him. Shortly after, Davidson, Old Dominion, Richmond, Southern Methodist, and Tennessee, among others, became very interested in Caleb.

    Hollander stands at 6-8 and is a scoring machine. For the Nashville Central Christian Warriors last season, Hollander averaged 24.6 points per game. Hollander’s shooting ability stands out when looking at his game. He can shoot the three ball extremely well, even from well beyond the arc. His passing ability is great for his size. His defense is phenomenal, as he has shut down several 3-star and even 4-star recruits and held them to scoring well below their average. Hollander is a great two-way player and will continue to have dominant performances at the collegiate level.

    Hollander is continuing to attend camps and showcases throughout the summer, and, after all his phenomenal performances, many coaches have been watching him play against high-level competition. The recruiting process has picked up for him only recently, so he is expected to receive more offers than the five he currently has.

  • Summer Recruiting is in Full Swing; Several Commitments Recently July 22, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    Over the past week, many prospects from all classes have decided on where they will play collegiate basketball. Numerous 3-star and 4-star recruits have decided, as well as a 5-star prospect in 2017 small forward Michael Porter Jr, who decided on Washington this past Friday. Let’s run through the recent pledges.

    2016 3-star SG Kobe Paras – Creighton

    Creighton recently became the favorite to land the former UCLA commit. Paras stands at 6-5, weighing 190 pounds. He is a slashing two guard with tremendous athleticism. He plays with high energy and is very quick. Unlike most shooting guards, Paras does not have an excellent shot. His mid-range and long-range jumpers need work, especially if he wants to compete at a high level in college. Paras heavily relies on his driving game, which, especially standing at only 6-5, is something he may struggle with in college.

    2017 3-star SF Myles Douglas – Central Florida 

    The decision from Douglas to choose Central Florida was a shock for many. Out of the 9 predictions in the 247 Crystal Ball, 7 of those predictions were headed Maryland’s way. None favored Central Florida. Douglas held offers from Miami, Penn State and West Virginia, among others. The 6-6 wing is a very solid rebounder, and could post many double-doubles at UCF.

    2017 5-star SF Michael Porter Jr – Washington

    Porter is a consensus top 5 prospect in the 2017 class. He is an incredible basketball talent. He is a slashing wing attending Father Tolton High School in Missouri. He will follow his father at Washington, who was recently hired as an assistant for the men’s basketball team. Porter can do it all: drive, score, rebound, block shots, hit long range jumpers, you name it. He is a potential #1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and it would be no shock if that were the case.

    2017 4-star SG Khalil Garland – Arkansas

    Garland committed to Arkansas over many high-profile schools including Cal, Pitt, Texas A&M, and others. Garland is a great all-around wing. Though he is not a fantastic rebounder for his size, 6-6, he can drive well, is an excellent passer and is good with the ball in his hands. Garland will do anything he can to get to the basket. His size is great for a shooting guard as well, and he has a wide frame. His rebounding and his consistency are two concerns for him.

    2017 4-star SF Galen Alexander – LSU

    An announcement from Alexander was expected to come soon, however, almost everyone believed Alexander would commit to Western Kentucky and build their team with 2017 5-star center Mitchell Robinson. All ten 247 Crystal Ball predictions were headed Western Kentucky’s way. Many were stunned to see that Alexander was headed to Baton Rouge to become a Tiger. Alexander is a great mid-range shooter, however, has not developed a consistent three point shot. He can work in the post or go faceup to knock down a 17 footer. He is a fantastic defender who forces many turnovers, whether it is off of steals or blocked shots. His rebounding is great as well, especially for his 6-6 size.

  • New Face, New Place: University of Arizona July 2, 2016 College Pride Press

    FullSizeRender

    Lauri Markannen:

    Lauri is a 6’11” postman from Finland. As a 5-star recruit, he should be able to play extensive minutes and be a dominant force for the Wildcats. Don’t be surprised if he receives plenty of praise from fans as well as people from around the country. He should be able to fulfill the paint and give Arizona a chance to make a post-season run.

    Kobi Simmons:

    Out of Georgia, Kobi will be the floor general for the Wildcats this upcoming season. He is ranked at #20 on the ESPN100 list and played in the McDonald’s All-America Game. He chose the University of Arizona over powerhouse Kentucky due to the relationship he has already built with Head Coach, Sean Miller. He also said in an interview that the fans of Arizona should expect him to bring play-making abilities to the floor.

    Rawle Alkins:

    Listed as a 6’4” small forward, Rawle is a 5-star recruit out of Brooklyn, New York. Sitting one spot back on the ESPN100 list behind Kobi, Alkins is #21 on the list. You can expect him to be a nice compliment to the team and a major piece of the puzzle in big games. He was recruited by countless schools but Arizona finished on top.

    Keanu Pinder:

    Keanu is also a small forward and is listed at 6’8”. He is a transfer from Hutchinson Community College, a small college where he played in Hutchinson, Kansas. Instead of being an offensive superstar, he will act as a defensive wizard for the Wildcats. His scoring will come from finishing in the paint or from offensive boards. After committing to the University of Nebraska, followed by New Mexico, he found his home with Sean Miller at the University of Arizona. Wildcat fans should be looking forward to defensive mastery with Keanu on the court.

  • Malik Newman to Transfer to Kansas July 1, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    Former Mississippi State guard Malik Newman has decided to transfer to Kansas over NC State, Oregon and Western Kentucky. Malik Newman will have to sit out next season, per NCAA rules. He will practice along with Kansas guards Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham.

    Kansas and Western Kentucky were the front runners to land Newman. Kansas was surely the most reasonable choice for Newman, however. Kansas recruited Newman heavily out of high school, unlike Western Kentucky, where Newman was a top 10 prospect in the class of 2015. Additionally, Newman would be able to practice alongside some of the top guards in the country while he had to sit, Devonte’ Graham and Frank Mason III to name a few. Western Kentucky does not have a guard core like Kansas. Furthermore, Newman can’t go wrong by choosing Kansas. Choosing Mississippi State was definitely a risk for Newman as Mississippi State is not a prestigious basketball school. In terms of his transfer, Western Kentucky would be a risk for Newman as Western Kentucky, though a rising program, does not have the same prestige a school like Kansas does. Big 12 basketball undoubtedly is more competitive than C-USA basketball, which is another reason why Kansas was the right choice for Newman.

    Malik Newman, once projected to be a lottery pick out of high school, is expected to spend a year at Kansas, and will become a second round pick. If he stays multiple years, his draft stock will rise, but him being considered a lottery pick again is a reach.

  • Terrance Ferguson to Play Overseas; Won’t Enroll at Arizona June 30, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson, a 2016 5-star SG from Dallas, Texas, has decided he will play overseas next season rather than enrolling at Arizona. There were rumors saying that Ferguson would be ineligible for collegiate basketball due to the high school he attended, Advanced Preparatory International, which is likely the reason for his choice. Emmanuel Mudiay, who also took the overseas route, attended Advanced Preparatory as well.

    It is not known yet, but many believe Ferguson will play basketball in Australia for a year, and then declare for the NBA Draft, where, as of right now, he is expected to be a lottery pick.

    Ferguson’s choice to play overseas does not affect the Wildcats greatly. Their backcourt was jam packed regardless, and with Ferguson playing overseas, this opens up playing time for other guards, all of which deserve to play many minutes. Incoming freshman Kobi Simmons and Rawle Alkins will see more court time with Ferguson’s decision, as well will sophomore Allonzo Trier and sophomore Ray Smith.

  • #1 C in 2017 Robinson commits to Western Kentucky June 29, 2016 Mark Stouffer

    No, you did not misread the headline.

    Yes, the Western is supposed to be there.

    In a stunning decision, Mitchell Robinson, the #9 player in the class of 2017 and the #1 Center within the class, has committed to Western Kentucky over LSU amongst others.

    Robinson, a former Texas A&M commit, decommitted in April and reopened his recruitment. Western Kentucky and LSU were the top two suitors according to the Crystal Ball that 247Sports uses, with five predictions for WKU and four for LSU, out of nine. Other schools he considered were Alabama and North Carolina.

    Robinson, who is 7’ and 200 pounds, is a late bloomer who only cracked the Top 10 recently. Although skinny as a rail, Robinson should be able to pack more weight onto his frame and become a dominant post presence. He has excellent stamina and is able to play well in transition, while on defense he has the length and athleticism to become an excellent shot blocker.

    The Hilltoppers, now coached by former long-time Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, have now landed by far and away the biggest recruit in school history. They are coming off an 18-16 season in which they finished 8th in the Conference USA standings. Robinson should start from Day 1 in the 2017-18 season, and immediately turns the Hilltoppers into a contender.

    All recruiting information is from 247Sports.com

    Image: scout.com

  • Who’s Pursuing Former MSU Guard Malik Newman? June 29, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    Former Mississippi State guard Malik Newman decided to transfer from the school weeks ago after having a rough freshman year. Newman was regarded as a top 10 high school prospect in 2015, and he somewhat lived up to that hype his first collegiate season averaging 11.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG. However, Newman was “unhappy with his role and how he was utilized”, a source close to Newman named as the reason for the departure. Newman will have to sit out one year before playing again, which will be in the 2017-2018 season.

    Newman has made serious progress in his recruitment thus far. Newman has visited Kansas, Miami, NC State and Western Kentucky, ESPN says. He added Oregon to his list recently as well, and has cut Miami (FL) from his list of possibilities. It may seem shocking, but Western Kentucky is definitely a contender for Newman as former Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury coaches the Hilltoppers. According to ESPN, a source told Chad Bishop of WBKO that Newman is “probably a lock” to Western Kentucky. However, Bishop was hesitant to believe the source.

    Though Western Kentucky is receiving a great deal of the buzz about Newman, Kansas seems like the school who will most likely land Newman. Jeff Goodman of ESPN believes that the Kansas will make a push for Newman. Kansas was pushing for former Duke guard Derryck Thornton as well, but Thornton decided to take his talents to USC. Now that Kansas has one player to focus on, Kansas will likely make a strong push for Newman, which will increase their odds to land him.

    (Photo from 247Sports)

  • Ted Kapita Commits to North Carolina State June 25, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2016 4-star PF Ted Kapita has committed to NC State after decommitting from Southern Methodist a few weeks ago. Kapita is ranked #56 nationally by 247Sports and is the #14 ranked power forward in the 2016 class. He is the second to last top-100 prospect to commit, with 4-star PF Taurean Thompson being the lone man to commit.

    North Carolina State has built an incredible class over the last month. In November of 2015, arguably the top point guard in the class, Dennis Smith Jr, pledged to North Carolina State. It wasn’t until May that the Wolfpack saw their second commitment, which came from 3-star PF Darius Hicks. 5-star C Omer Yurtseven committed that week as well. Fast forward to June 20, and 4-star PG Markell Johnson decides on NC State. Now, NC State gains their fifth commitment from Kapita. What NC State has done is rare and sensational at the same time. Mark Gottfried and his staff have built a phenomenal class over the last few weeks. Though the Wolfpack received their commitments late in the offseason, there surely in nothing to complain about with a top-10 recruiting class.

     

    Photo: bleacherreport.com
  • 4-star Forward Kostas Antetokounmpo Commits to Dayton June 24, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2016 4-star SF/PF Kostas Antetokounmpo has committed to Dayton over Iowa State, Marquette, St. John’s, UNLV, among others. Kostas is the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Dayton had no votes in the 247 Crystal Ball. His pledge to the Flyers came out of the blue as no analysts expected Dayton to land Antetokounmpo, and some weren’t even aware Dayton was considered to be a landing spot.

    Antetokounmpo is ranked #52 nationally by 247Sports and has loads of potential. Antetokounmpo is not expected to be a one-and-done and likely needs multiple years of collegiate basketball before he is ready for the next level.

  • USA Basketball reveals FIBA U17 World Championship Roster June 18, 2016 Mark Stouffer

    For those that are looking for basketball to watch in the summer after the NBA finals are over, and also interested in seeing some of the best Class of 2017 prospects compete together, look no further than the U17 FIBA World Championships, a bi-annual event that showcases the best players aged 17 and under for every country competing. The event will be held July 23-August 3 in Zaragoza, Spain.
    The United States, who have won the gold medal every year since the tournament began in 2010, have unveiled their final roster for the event. This roster consists primarily of Class of 2017 recruits, although there are a few players who come from the Class of 2018. The players are as follows, in alphabetical order:

     

    Jordan Brown

    Jordan Brown is a 6-10 Power forward from Roseville, California. He is the #4 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018, according to 247Sports, and the #3 Power forward within the class. He currently holds only four scholarship offers, all from west coast schools. 247Sports’s Crystal Ball currently holds three predictions, two for UCLA and one for California. As it is still very early on in Brown’s recruiting process, expect much more hype and attention to come for him.

    Troy Brown

    Troy Brown is a 6-6 Forward/Guard from Las Vega, Nevada. He is the #17 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #6 Small forward within the class. He currently holds 14 scholarship offers from schools around the nation. Although his Crystal Ball predictions are split between four schools, Cal currently holds the lead, with six of the thirteen predictions. Interestingly enough, while 247 lists him as a small forward, ESPN lists him as a point guard. This position flexibility will no doubt increase Brown’s contributions to the squad.

     

    Wendell Carter Jr.

    Wendell Carter Jr. is a 6-10 Power forward/Center from Atlanta, Georgia. He is the #4 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #3 Power forward within the class. Carter holds 17 scholarship offers in total, one of the highest totals within his class. Duke is currently the heavy favorite to land Carter, as 16 of his 17 Crystal Ball predictions are for Duke, with the lone dissenter picking Kentucky, considered the second favorite. A surprising third favorite is Harvard, as Carter has spoken about the importance of academics for the institution he attends. Carter’s recruiting battle should be a very unique one indeed.

     

    Carte’Are Gordon

    Carte’Are Gordon is a 6-8 Power forward from St. Louis, Missouri. He is the #65 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018 and the #19 Power forward within the class. Gordon holds eight scholarship offers, with all of them coming from schools within the Midwest area. All four of his Crystal Ball predictions are for Kansas. Although not as highly ranked as his peers, Gordon’s inclusion on the roster indicates he is heading for a monster breakout within the next year.

     

    Markus Howard

    Markus Howard is a 5-11 Point guard from Gilbert, Arizona. He is the #71 ranked recruit in the Class of 2016 and the #15 Point guard within the class. Originally in the Class of 2017, Howard chose to reclassify in April 2016. Howard is the only player on the team that will be attending college in Fall 2016. After de-committing from Arizona State his sophomore year, Howard has chosen to attend Marquette for this upcoming season. Though he will be losing time developing chemistry with his future teammates at Marquette, Howard’s playing with the best prospects in the United States will help him immensely improve his game overall.

     

    Jaren Jackson

    Jaren Jackson is a 6-10 Power forward from Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the #33 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #8 Small forward within the class. Jackson holds 11 scholarship offers, all from schools east of the Mississippi River. Maryland is the current heavy favorite for Jackson, holding five of the six Crystal Ball predictions, with the lone other prediction for Alabama. While not a big name, Jackson has risen considerably in the past year, as he rose 28 spots in the most current update of 247’s rankings. His inclusion on the U17 team indicates that his rise is not done.

     

    Kevin Knox

    Kevin Knox is a 6-8 Small forward from Tampa, Florida. He is the #6 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #2 Small forward within the class. Knox holds 18 scholarship offers, the highest amongst his class. Three favorites have emerged, all ACC schools. Duke currently is the heavy favorite, holding ten of the eleven Crystal Ball predictions for Knox. The other two favorites are Florida State, who holds the other prediction, and North Carolina. Knox has had a meteoritic rise to the Top 10. Originally a four-star football recruit as a Quarterback, a growth spurt from 6-4 to 6-8 in the Summer of 2015 has led to his emergence as a flat out stud. His potential is still far from tapped.

     

    Immanuel Quickley

    Immanuel Quickley is a 6-3 Point guard from Bel Air, Maryland. He is the #14 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018 and the #2 Point guard within the class. Quickley holds eight scholarship offers, mainly from the east coast. He currently had one Crystal Ball prediction, for Maryland. Having gained more attention as of late, Quickley is set to gain many more scholarship offers, and his exposure to the U17 team will no doubt strengthen his game.

     

    Collin Sexton

    Collin Sexton is a 6-2 Point guard from Mableton, Georgia. He is the #30 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017, and the #4 Point guard within the class. Sexton holds seven scholarship offers, ranging considerably geographically, but the majority from SEC country. He has five Crystal Ball predictions, three for Alabama and two for Florida. Another late bloomer, he has risen over 50 spots since the beginning of his junior season. Like Jackson, he is most likely going to rise even further.

     

    Ja’Vante Smart

    Ja’Vante Smart is a 6-4 Point guard from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is the #3 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018, and the #1 Point guard within the class. Smart holds seven scholarship offers, coming from four different Power 5 conferences. He has five Crystal Ball predictions, three for LSU and two for Kentucky (who has yet to offer him). Smart has established himself as one of the best in his class, and his experience on the U17 team will only entrench that status.

     

    Gary Trent Jr.

    Gary Trent Jr. is a 6-5 Shooting guard from Apple Valley, Minnesota. He is the #10 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017, and the #2 Shooting guard within the class. Trent holds 14 scholarship offers, similar to that of his highly ranked peers. Duke is currently the heavy favorite to land Trent, being picked in all 17 of his Crystal Ball predictions. Ohio State is another team heavily competing for him. Trent is most likely going to be in a package deal with Wendell Carter, so the college that lands both of them is going to be very fortunate in 2017-18.

     

    Austin Wiley

    Austin Wiley is a 6-11 Power forward from Birmingham, Alabama. He is the #15 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017, and the #6 Power forward within the class. Wiley is the only Class of 2017 recruit on the team to already commit to a school, committing to Auburn in September 2015. He is the highest ranked prospect in Auburn’s history. Competing with the other top big men in his class will no doubt enhance his abilities for this upcoming season.

     

    Coach Don Showalter

    The United States head coach is Don Showalter, who has coached with the United States youth teams since 2009 at the U16 and U17 levels. Showalter, who has won seven gold medals with the United States teams, has coached high school basketball in the state of Iowa since 1976, spending 28 seasons at Mid-Prairie, eight at Central Elkader, and currently at Iowa City. He boasts a career record of 601-346, including 16 district titles. He has also coached a McDonald’s All-American game and two Jordan’s Brand Classic games. This wealth of experience leaves no doubt that the United States is in capable hands for this tournament.
    The United States clearly boasts size superior to their opponents, as half of their roster is 6-8 and taller. Although the guard play is younger and more inexperienced, the post play should dominate the competition. No matter how the United States approaches these games, they are unmistakably the favorite to take home their fourth consecutive gold medal in this tournament.
    It is impossible to understate the importance of these prospects getting a chance to build a chemistry with each other playing on this team. In 2012, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow played on the U17 team that won the Gold Medal. This allowed the three to build a chemistry that they normally would not have had. When they all attended Duke for the 2014-15 season, their pre-existing chemistry made it much easier for them to adjust to the college game and integrate with their teammates. This of course led to Duke winning the national championship in 2015. So take notice of this event. It might be the beginning of the foundation of the 2018 or 2019 national champions.

     
    Jordan Brown, 6-10, F, Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.)
    Troy Brown, 6-6, G, Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.)
    Wendell Carter Jr., 6-10, F/C, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)
    Carte’Are Gordon, 6-8, F, Webster Groves (Mo.)
    Markus Howard, 5-11, G, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
    Jaren Jackson Jr., 6-10, F/C, Park Tudor (Indianapolis, Ind.)
    Kevin Knox, 6-8, F, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.)
    Immanuel Quickley, 6-4, G, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.)
    Collin Sexton, 6-2, G, Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.)
    Ja’Vonte Smart, 6-3, G, Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)
    Gary Trent Jr., 6-6, G, Apple Valley (Minn.)
    Austin Wiley, 6-10, F/C, Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.)

    All recruiting data was taken from 247Sports.com unless otherwise noted.

    Image from usab.com

  • IU Recruiting Update Class of 2017 June 17, 2016 Jacob Lautenschlager

    As the high school all-star games begin to wrap up it seems like a good time to catch up with the 2017 recruiting class. Indiana currently has only one verbal commitment in 6-4 guard Aljami (Al) Durham. The Hoosiers remain on the list for many of the top recruits in the country; two of which are Indianapolis natives and AAU teammates.

     

    Paul Scruggs

     6’4 PG/SG, Indiana

    4-Star

    The Hoosiers and Scruggs are very familiar with each other as Scruggs has had a scholarship offer on the table since he was and eighth grader. Paul is one of the most sought after guards in his class with offers from Butler, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Purdue, UCLA, and Xavier. He is a very aggressive point guard that is great in transition and getting to the rim. Although some say his shot needs some work, he would be a great fit at Indiana as he is an elite defender as well.

     

    Kris Wilkes

    6’7 SF, Indiana

    5-Star

    One of Scruggs AAU teammates, Kris Wilkes, is a 6-7 small forward/wing from North Central. Wilkes is very similar to Scruggs when it comes to his relationship with Indiana as he was offered prior to his freshman season as well. Wilkes is the number one ranked player in his class in the state of Indiana. His highly touted profile has earned him offers from Butler, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Xavier. Wilkes is such an intriguing player because of the match-up issues he creates. He has great size, but can shoot from deep range, and run the floor like a point guard. Like Scruggs, he is a very fun player to watch in transition.

    Sid Wilson 

    6’7 SF/PF, New York

    3-Star

    Heading out east we find 6-7 forward Sid Wilson of St. Raymonds (NY). The Hoosiers began recruiting Wilson early last April, and their relationship keeps getting stronger because of the high school connection with assistant coach, Chuck Martin. Being out of New York Sid has received a lot of attention from east coast schools, including Syracuse, Providence, St. John’s, Fordham, and Temple, but also has offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Xavier. Sid is currently a three star small forward, but has tremendous upside. He has plenty of room for improvement with his strength and shooting, but his athleticism and ability score is at an elite level already. Wilson could very easily work his way up in the rankings and be a huge land for the Hoosiers.

    Malik Williams

    6’11 PF/C, Indiana

    4-Star

    Malik Williams from Fort Wayne Snider is a 6-11 prospect with huge potential. Williams has a smooth jumper and can consistently hit from mid-range and 3 point range. Williams also has nice handles for a big man and can finish inside the paint with ease. He would be a great fit for the Hoosiers and would be an unstoppable force inside with De’ron Davis. Along with IU, Williams has offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Butler, Illinois, Kentucky, Purdue, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, and Xavier. Michigan State is considered the favorite at this point.

    Jordan Tucker

    6’7 Forward, New York

    4-Star

    Jordan Tucker is a 6-7 prospect out of White Plains, New York. He plays small forward but has the skills and build to play on the wing making him a very versatile asset if the Hoosiers can reel him in. He also has dangerous range as he can hit from almost anywhere on the floor. Tucker is a very confident player and is very quick to make the decision to shoot or drive and create for himself and others. After a visit to Bloomington, Tucker tweeted that he, “…definitely will be back soon ‼️” Obviously a very intriguing prospect with many offers including the Hoosiers and also Arizona, Dayton, Fordham, Manhattan, Oklahoma, Providence, Syracuse, Villanova and Xavier.

    Michael Porter Jr. 

    6’9 SF, Washington

    5-Star

    The highest recruit the Hoosiers are going after in the 2017 class is a young man by the name of Michael Porter Jr. A 6’9″ wing/small forward with an extremely high basketball IQ and his game seems effortless as he is smooth with the ball and explosive without it. Along with a strong offensive repertoire, Porter is not afraid to crash the boards with the bigs and defends the perimeter at an elite level. One thing he will need to improve to be a standout at the next level and beyond is to improve his frame and build. Great news for the Hoosiers came in May as he trimmed down his large list of schools including Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke into a final list of 5 schools that include Missouri, Washington, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Indiana.

    Lonnie Walker

    6’5 PG/SG, Pennsylvania

    4-Star

    Next up on the recruiting board for the Hoosiers is Lonnie Walker, a 6-5 combo guard from Reading, PA. Walker has a strong build with freak athletic ability (earning him the nickname Lonnie “Sky” Walker) and could develop into an Oladipo-esque player with the Hoosiers as he has the explosiveness to play with anybody. He also brings very solid fundamentals and ball handling with his game allowing him to push the ball in transition, something we love to see at IU. More importantly on the other side of the ball Lonnie has proven himself to be one of the top defenders in his class. Walker has been offered by 5 schools consisting of UCLA, Kentucky, Villanova, Oregon, and Indiana.

    Matur Maker

    6’10 PF, Canada

    4-Star

    Matur Maker poses as one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2017 class. The 6-10 center from Ontario, Canada has much room for growth but can become a one of the most dominant big men in the country with his size and work ethic. Maker brings length, defense, scoring, and a high motor. Areas he would need to improve on to make a huge impact at IU would be his size as only comes in at 200 pounds. Maker only has two offers including Indiana and Arizona State.

    Jeremiah Tilmon

    6’10 Center, Indiana

    5-Star

    Jeremiah Tilmon is a 6-10 center with a great body to build on for the future. He is crafty around the basket and can take up a lot of space in the paint creating position for him to be a huge rebounder at the collegiate level. One thing for Tilmon that could be an issue is the he is a bit on the slower side but that can all get worked out with time. On the upside he is as much of a defender as he is an offensive threat as he can play above the rim on both ends and has tremendous shot blocking/altering abilities. Tilmon has offers from Kansas State, Michigan State, Texas, UCLA, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina.

    Jaren Jackson Jr. 

    6’10 PF/C, Indiana

    4-Star

    The tenth and final prospect we will be covering is also an Indianapolis native and would be a steal of the Hoosiers can bring him to Bloomington. Jaren Jackson Jr. is a 6-10 athletic center who brings versatility to his position. He is a basket protector but can fend for himself out on the arc on defense. Jackson is not a score first big man but if needed to he can easily find his own shot. Jackson also has room for growth in areas such as size and ball handling in order to be big time, but his work ethic and motor will prove to be not a problem for Hoosier fans. Jackson has a load of offers from Georgetown, Butler, Illinois, Indiana, IUPUI, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Xavier.

    Article by Jonny Gee and Jacob Lautenschlager

  • UPDATE: Rumors Heating Up For Taurean Thompson June 10, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    4-star power forward/center Taurean Thompson is among the few remaining uncommitted seniors. Thompson is a 4-star big man from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He is down to Michigan State, Seton Hall and Syracuse. Thompson is ranked #75 nationally by 247Sports, and the #12 center in the class. 24Syracuse holds 87% of the Crystal Ball, and Michigan State holds the 13% residue. He has officially visited both Michigan State (June 5) and Syracuse (September 25). Thompson should be nearing a decision soon, for Thompson told SNY that he plans on announcing “right after” his Michigan State visit, which wrapped up a few days ago.

    There are numerous rumors regarding Taurean Thompson’s recruitment, who has keep most of his recruitment “close to the vest”, a source said.

    Thompson himself is not the only one who will be deciding where he plays collegiate basketball, as it is very evident at this point that his mom is playing a very large role in his recruitment. A reliable Syracuse source tweeted that his mom is not on board with Thompson going to Syracuse, and instead wants Thompson to stay closer to his home in Jersey City, New Jersey. In this case, staying “close to home”, would mean Thompson would be a Pirate next season, as Seton Hall is the closest school to Thompson’s home in NJ. His mom strongly wants him to go to Seton Hall, multiple sources have confirmed with us, and that his mom wants Thompson close to home. Seton Hall could technically be ruled out of the question, because if Thompson had wanted to go to Seton Hall above all else, he would have committed to Seton Hall already. His mom is not very much in favor of him going to Michigan State either, sources have said.

    Syracuse, holding 87% of the Crystal Ball, is not a clear favorite. Scout.com reported that, “since they offered, most have felt that Syracuse was going to be the ultimate decision for Thompson, but it is beginning to look not nearly as optimistic for the Orange.” Scout also added that Michigan State seems to be “gaining a lot of momentum in his recruitment”.  In fact, SpartanAvenue.com believes Taurean Thompson will commit to the Spartans. 

    There is no consensus on where Taurean Thompson will commit to. We have received many conflicting reports from sources. One source quoted it best, “Everyone is in the dark.” However, a very reliable source, one whom all of the recruiting world trusts, singled out Michigan State when we talked to him. The source said “ could be a fair meeting of the middle. One side wants Syracuse, the other wants Seton Hall. MSU could offer a liking of both. Plus, it’s his last visit, which doesn’t hurt.” The source wished to remain anonymous.

    Another source said they “like MSU’s chances” to land Thompson. Jerry Meyer, the Director of Basketball Scouting at 247Sports, was one of the two to put a Crystal Ball prediction to Michigan State. Meyer is a very reliable source who would not say Michigan State solely for drama.  “ must have good reason to say Michigan State”, a source said in response.

    In conflict, three sources have told us that all three schools have an equal chance to land Thompson, one of the sources calling his recruitment a “toss-up”. ‘

    Expect Thompson to announce his decision any day now. If we had to make a prediction as to where Thompson would commit to, we would say Michigan State. As previously stated, most of the news being heard about Thompson’s recruitment are likely rumors, as he keeps most of his recruitment confidential. Seton Hall is the least likely to land him, as the Pirates do not have an open roster spot at the moment and cannot offer the playing time Michigan State and Syracuse can, especially in the long term. We will know the long waited answer in, hopefully, a few days.

  • 2017 4-Star PG Martin commits to Arizona State June 10, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2017 4-star PG Remy Martin has committed to Arizona State, 247Sports and Scout confirm. Martin is ranked as both a 4-star and a 3-star. Martin attends Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California, and is teammates with arguably the top player in the 2018 class, Marvin Bagley III. Martin is ranked as the #161 player in the 2017 class and the #33 point guard in the classMartin also had offers from Connecticut, Kansas, and USC. , but decided to stay close to home and play for the Sun Devils.

    Martin joins 4-star center Daniel Madding as the secured Sun Devil commitments for the 2017 class, which is ranked as the #7 class in the nation by 247Sports.

  • Senior Combo Guard Malik Lue-Mitchell to Announce Soon June 8, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    2016 G Malik Lue-Mitchell plans to announce his college decision, which will be between Hawaii and Western Kentucky, sometime at the end of this month. Lue-Mitchell attends Evelyn Mack High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lue-Mitchell has offers from Hawaii, North Carolina Central, and Western Kentucky, and has decided he will be choosing from either Hawaii and Western Kentucky. He still has interest from Buffalo and UAB, but no offer has been made by either school.

    Lue-Mitchell has surely made a name for himself, as he posted 26 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against the prestigious high school basketball team, 22 Feet Academy (SC), he told us. Against Huntingdon Prep (WV), where Michigan State signee Miles Bridges attends high school school, Lue-Mitchell marked his name on the stat sheet with 9 points and 13 assists. Lue-Mitchell averaged 13.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG and 2.0 SPG while on Prep Circuit, he told us.

    Lue-Mitchell told WBKO that Western Kentucky head coach Rick Stansbury “says that I can score the ball pretty good and that I can play point guard and shooting guard – that’s what he likes about me.” Lue-Mitchell then talked about himself, saying “I can shoot the ball, dribble and make plays for others. That’s how I see myself – and can play defense. I bring a good tempo to the game.”

    Western Kentucky guard Aaron Cosby (13.7 PPG) will be graduating next year, and guard Fredrick Edmond (12.2 PPG) is leaving the program as well. This leaves the Hilltoppers with only three returning guards next year, though WKU has two incoming freshman next season who are point guards, Damari Parris, a friend of Lue-Mitchell’s, being one of them.

    Eran Ganot, the head coach for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, told Lue-Mitchell that he is in a good situation in terms of his playing time. Hawaii is rather deep at the guard position, but Lue-Mitchell should fit into the rotation well.

    Hawaii is definitely far from Lue-Mitchell’s home in Pickering, Ontario. I asked Lue-Mitchell how much this affects his decision, and he responded saying, “. Sacrifices are what I’ve been doing my whole life, and that is one thing I’d have to do for me to try and get to my goal.” Lue-Mitchell has been attending school in North Carolina, which is far from Pickering, so Lue-Mitchell has experience being away from home.

    Lue-Mitchell told me playing time does affect his decision, though it appears that he will be getting some playing time wherever he decides to play collegiate basketball. He also added that Hawaii’s tournament run does not make a major impact in his decision.

    Lue-Mitchell could not give me a specific decision day, but he told me he will announce “at the end of this month”.

     

    Photo: northpolehoops.com
  • Jarrett Allen Commits to Texas June 7, 2016 College Pride Press

    2016 5-star PF Jarrett Allen committed to Texas Friday afternoon. Allen is a 6-9 big man who attends St. Stephen’s Episcopal in Austin, TX. Allen chose the Longhorns over Houston and Kansas. Allen’s 247 Crystal Ball was 100% in Texas’ favor. Allen is ranked the #5 power forward in the 2016 class, and #17 nationally by CBB Latest.

    Though the Crystal Ball read 100% in Texas’ favor for Allen, sources confirmed that 100% is slightly too generous to the Longhorns. Houston had a bigger chance than no chance, a source said, and one source even said Kansas’ chances were being overlooked. Allen made his decision very late in the process, which one source noted that this could possibly be because Allen was having a hard time deciding.

    Allen is a very solid low post player who finds a way to score in the post. He can finish through contact very well in the paint. He is not very strong, which could trouble him at the collegiate level. He is athletic and has a high basketball IQ. Regardless of his strength, Allen is a player who will develop into one of the best post players in college, and should find his way to the NBA Draft in less than three years. I do not expect Allen to be a one-and-done, though that all depends on his performance at Texas.

    Texas was very likely the best choice for Allen. The Longhorns are deep at the guard position, but do need help down low, and Allen is destined to do just that. Projecting him to be a starter for Texas next year is not a vacuous prediction. Allen will start at the 4 or 5, however, it is hard to say which position he will get more playing time at. Allen undoubtedly made the right choice by becoming a Longhorn.

     

    Drew Dinnhaupt

     

    Photo: insidethehall.com
  • Malik Newman Drawing Tons of Interest June 6, 2016 College Pride Press

    Earlier this week, Malik Newman, a former Mississippi State guard, announced he would transfer from the school. Newman was a former 5-star recruit from Jackson, Mississippi. Newman averaged 11.3 PPG, 2.8 PRG and 2.2 APG last season as a Bulldog. According to The Clarion-Ledger, Arizona, Arizona State, Butler, Cal State Nothridge, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Miami, North Carolina State, Oregon, Purdue, TCU, Vanderbilt, and Western Kentucky have all expressed interest in Newman. Mississippi State has not restricted Newman to any schools. Newman is required to sit one year before playing again.

    It is early in his recruiting process, so there is no definite frontrunner at this point. However, Kansas was very much involved in his recruitment, and insider sources have told me Kansas is a legit contender. One source told me that there was buzz about Newman visiting Kansas this weekend or next weekend. One source said that Kansas is probably the best fit for Newman, but the source asked the question “Is Kansas that interested in Newman?” Out of the many schools that have expressed interest in Newman thus far, Kansas seems most likely to land him, though that is subject to change as he is not deep in the process, one source says.

    Drew Dinnhaupt

     

    Photo:sbnation.com
  • Latest on 2016 Power Forward Taurean Thompson June 6, 2016 Drew Dinnhaupt

    It seems there is an announcement coming soon from 2016 4-star power forward Taurean Thompson, one of the few uncommitted seniors. Thompson stands at 6-9 and attended Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Thompson appears to be down to Michigan State, Seton Hall and Syracuse. Per a source, Thompson reportedly may announce this week, Thursday to be more specific.

    Syracuse has been the frontrunner for Thompson for a long time now, but things are surely changing. Thompson visited Michigan State June 5, and it seems that the Spartans  are a legit contender to land the talented forward. Michigan State offered Thompson only a week ago, April 28, yet it appears that the Spartans are a dark horse candidate to land him.  After talking with multiple sources, I received many different opinions and could not reach a consensus.

    Though Syracuse holds 87% of the 247Sports Crystal Ball, one source told me that Syracuse is less likely to land Taurean Thompson than people may think. This source believes that all three schools likely have an equal chance. Another source believes he is not a lock to Syracuse, and Michigan State seems like an unlikely lander. However, a third source told me that Michigan State is “in a great spot” to land Thompson and MSU has a “better shot to land him” than Syracuse.

    There are numerous rumors around Thompson’s recruitment. Regardless, I believe Michigan State will most likely land Taurean Thompson. Michigan State has front court positions to be filled, and Thompson fits right in like a missing puzzle piece. A source told me playing time was a factor in Thompson’s recruitment, which is something Michigan State can use as a selling point with Matt Costello graduated and Deyonta Davis going to the NBA. Syracuse and Seton Hall both return their main front court making it a tougher path to playing time for Thompson. I expect Thompson to be wearing green and white next year.

    Photo: scout.com
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