Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Christmas Cuts List

The list of head coaches getting a second Christmas sometime in the next year and a half is down to eight.

Rakeem Christmas, the best center in the class of 2011, trimmed his list of potential colleges on Monday. The schools that made the cut were: Baylor, Florida, Georgetown, Indiana, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and Villanova.

In a statement released by the Academy of New Church (Pa.), Christmas' aunt and legal guardian, Amira Hamid, explained the decision to narrow the list.

"It's been a process, one that we wanted to make sure that the best choices were made for Rakeem," said Hamid, who handles Christmas' recruitment. "He has been receiving scholarship offers since the 8th grade. With such an overwhelming number of schools interested in him, it was important that we did our due diligence with finalizing this list."

The biggest surprise about the news is obviously the one big name missing: Kentucky. The Wildcats have long been considered one of the favorites for Christmas' services, especially considering William Wesley, aka Worldwide Wes, is involved. Many people inside the recruiting business remain skeptical that Christmas is not considering Kentucky anymore.

Christmas, however, left John Calipari and co. off the list.

"I appreciate the interest that many coaches have in me but these are the schools that my family and I think would be a good fit for me" Christmas said in the press release. "My family and I are thankful to everyone that has offered me a scholarship and participated in my recruiting. I'm looking forward to my season at ANC (Academy of the New Church) and playing for Coach Givens. I've played with some of the players during the summer and I had a good time. After summer is over I want to make sure that I do well and improve in class and on the court."

Christmas, who plays with Team Final on the AAU circuit, is ranked as the No. 6 player in the country by Rivals.com, and No. 5 by Scout.com.

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