Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yacoubou taking pair of visits

A recruitment that has been quiet so far is about to pick up in a major way.

Achraf Yacoubou, one of the top players in the class of 2011, has two upcoming trips scheduled that could impact his eventual college decision.

“I’m planning on visiting Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness and [Villanova]’s ‘Hoops Mania,’” Yacoubou said in a text message.

The Big Blue Madness is on October 16, while Nova’s Hoops Mania is on October 23.

Despite a relative lack of attention from national websites, Yacoubou has no shortage of offers from the top programs around the country.

UConn‘Nova, Kentucky, Wake Forest, G Tech, Harvard and more,” Yacoubou said when asked what offers he held.

When I spoke to Yacoubou in August, he also mentioned offers from Maryland, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Rutgersand Wisconsin, as well as interest from Florida.

Although Yacoubou is taking a visit to see both schools of Wildcats, they aren’t ahead of anyone else on his list.

“I like all those schools I named and I’m going there to get a better look at it,” he said.

Yacoubou is not just taking a look at the basketball team and athletic program, either – comfort with the school and academics will play a big role in his decision.

“I’m looking for a good business school and a homey feeling,” Yacoubou said.

Yacoubou, a 6-4, 200-lb. guard, will suit up for Long Island Lutheran (N.Y) this season, hoping to help lead the Crusaders to their second straight New York state championship – without Tobias Harris.

“I’m expecting me and my teammates to play hard,” Yacoubou said. “I have a feeling we will surprise people ‘cause we have something to prove.”

He spent the latter part of the summer and this month working on his game in order to make up for the loss of Harris. Specifically, he is hoping to become more versatile of a guard.

“My handle is good, but [I’m] trying to work on making it a 1-type of a handle,” Yacoubou said, referring to his ability to play the point.

“I’m just working out, not playing in anything else before the school season.”

Joseph visiting UConn?

Of the top players left in the class of 2010, one of the more difficult recruitments to read is Cory Joseph.

Unlike dozens of prospects who committed to schools in August and September, Joseph steered clear of the commitment scene – and the Ontario native didn’t really show any inclinations of where he was leaning.

According to reports, Joseph took unofficial visits to Villanova, Minnesota, Connecticut and Marquette over the summer, and his family conducted in-home visits in Canada with the Golden Eagles, Huskies and Wildcats, in addition to Mississippi State, UNLV, Florida and Texas.

To make things even more complicated, a handful of other schools – including Kansas and Arizona – took a trip to Findlay Prep (Nev.) to meet with Joseph, and he also visited Texas two weekends ago.’s No. 7-ranked prospect isn’t done yet, either.

“He’s visiting UConn in a couple weeks and [probably Minnesota] soon,” said Ro Russell, Joseph’s AAU coach with Grassroots Canada.

However, Michael Peck, the head coach at Findlay Prep, said that Joseph had no upcoming visits.

“Nothing new at this time,” Peck said in a text message.

Like several other five-star recruits, it looks like we will have to take a wait and see approach when it comes to Joseph’s decision.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Green not leaning towards 'Nova

With one of the top players in Philadelphia’s class of 2011, John Johnson, committing to Pittsburgh last week, what does the picture look like for another prospect from the City of Brotherly Love?

Juan’ya Green, a 6-3 guard from Archbishop Carroll (Pa.), has long been considered a strong Villanova lean. However, Green said he has no favorite at this point.

“Right now my options are kinda open,” he said, “so I have to take a visit on a couple of schools and see what I like.”

Green has a long and varied school list, ranging from the ACC and Big East to the CAA and Atlantic-10. When asked, he named: “Villanova, Maryland, St. Joe’s, Temple, Syracuse, Georgetown, Virginia Tech, George Mason, Indiana, Wisconsin, Notre Dame – that’s all I can think of right now.”

Of those schools, Temple, Maryland, Saint Joseph’s, George Mason and Villanova have offered him.

Green has only taken one visit thus far, to Temple, and does not have anymore planned for the near future.

Although he is not close to making a decision, he knows what he is looking for in a school.

“A good athletic and academic program and a school I know that I’m going to have success in,” he said.

Roberts prepping for visits

Bursting onto the scene as a sleeper in the class of 2010, Ronald Roberts has quickly seen his list get longer and longer.

The 6-6 combo forward from St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.) now has at least 14 schools on his radar, including several offers.

“Offers: Rutgers, Temple, St. Joe’s, Fordham, St. John’s, Providence, George Washington, Northeastern,” Roberts said in a text message. “Interest: Seton Hall, Villanova, Penn State, Notre Dame, Boston College, Indiana.”

He has not planned any visits at this point, but he knows which schools he wants to check out – for the most part.

“St. Joe’s, Providence, St. John’s and two others,” he said. “I’m still trying to decide.”

While reports during the summer said that Indiana was his favorite, Roberts said that is not the case.

In fact, Roberts said his favorite is Syracuse, but he said that he thinks they have no scholarships available for their 2010 recruiting class.

“No, the Indiana analysis made it seem like I want to go there, but I don’t know where I want to go,” he said. “Out of the schools that are looking at me, no favorites.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Davis continues to add schools

After an impressive summer in which he made an impact at nearly every event he attended, Myles Davis is rising in the eyes of many colleges across the country.

“My new offer is Providence,” Davis said. “My new schools that are recruiting me kind of hard [are] Georgetown, Virginia and Purdue.”

The 6-2 shooting guard, also from St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.), has offers and/or interest from George Mason, Marist, Rutgers, Saint Joseph’s, Fordham, St. John’s and Massachusetts.

Davis added that he has not taken any visits recently, but plans to once his schedule is free.

Carey picks up interest

Ever since we wrote our class of 2012 introduction on Tariq Carey, it seems that the 6-1 guard from Newark Eastside (N.J.) is picking up new schools every week. The most recent one is a fast-paced program from the Big 12.

“I just picked up Missouri!” Carey said in a text message. “I think I fit in the type of play; I love being in the open court.”

While the Tigers did not extend an offer, Carey was confident they would once they watched him this season.

 “They might just have to see me play more in order to make that decision,” he said. “I think by this upcoming summer, the offers should start coming in or by the high school [season]. I have to prove myself in high school and in AAU, then they should most likely come.”

Additionally, with Carey becoming more of a national name, some people might expect him to leave his AAU team, Team New Jersey Elite, and join a squad that is more widely known across the country.

Carey doesn’t plan on it, though.

 “That’s the team I first got exposure with,” he said. “I won’t feel comfortable playing anywhere else.

“I love my coaches Gaylen and Jerry. Me and my teammates [have] been together since 8th grade and we mesh well so this year we will do good again. I have a good feeling!”

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009-2010 Preview Coming Soon

Over the past several months, March Madness All Season has focused nearly solely on high school and AAU basketball. Traveling up and down the East coast and providing recruiting updates from players across the country, Jeff Borzello has steered away from the college game for most of the summer. However, with the upcoming college basketball season right around the corner, it is almost time for the annual college basketball season preview.

The most in-depth and informative preview around, March Madness All Season's 2009-2010 season preview will get you prepared for the upcoming campaign. It will provide you with the players, teams and conferences to look out for over the next six months. 

For a look back at what we did last year, click here for the 2008-2009 preview.

It will get underway in a couple of weeks and will continue on until the start of the season. Furthermore, we will continue to keep you posted on all the happenings in the high school game as well.

As always, thanks for continuing to stay locked into March Madness All Season!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grant Commits to Notre Dame

The luck of the Irish apparently applies to recruiting, too.

Notre Dame picked up its third commitment for the class of 2010 on Wednesday when Jerian Grant chose the Fighting Irish over DePaul and Providence.

“I just thought about the pros and cons of those schools vs. Notre Dame and Notre Dame had almost all of the pros,” Grant said. “I just had a gut feeling and was sure that’s where I wanted to go.”

The son of former NBA veteran Harvey Grant, Jerian Grant is a 6-4 guard who attends famed Dematha Catholic (Md.) and plays with Team Takeover (D.C.) for AAU ball.

Grant took a visit to the Notre Dame campus this past weekend and came away very impressed.

“I liked it a lot,” he said in a text message earlier this week. “Hanging out with the guys and getting to know the coaches better. And the campus and basketball facilities were nice.”

While there, Grant watched the Fighting Irish football team defeat Nevada, 35-0, took a tour of the campus and even played a little basketball with the current players.

Mike Brey, his staff and his players all made a lasting impression on Grant.

“They were real cool,” he said on Monday. “Only being there for three days, I feel like I already have somewhat of a relationship with some guys from the team and a better one with the coaching staff.”

Shortly after the visit, he said that although Notre Dame was his favorite, he would not make a decision until after he took his scheduled visits to DePaul and Providence on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26, respectively.

However, it only took a few days for him to realize where he wanted to play his college ball.

When asked Wednesday night what was the final factor in his decision, Grant said it was a mixture of the basketball program and his opportunity for playing time.

“Knowing that [I] will be able to come in and make an impact right away, and just the Notre Dame program as a whole,” he said.

Grant was very impressive this summer when NBE watched him at the NIKE Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. and the AAU Super Showcase in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

He is a very quick player who makes an impact at both ends of the court. Offensively, he seemingly glides past his defenders because of his first step and explosiveness around the basket. At the other end, he is aggressive and constantly creates turnovers with his activity on defense. Grant is excellent in transition and can finish around the rim.

Adding to its duo of point guard Eric Atkins and Alex DragicevichNotre Dame now has a perimeter group for the future. Grant is looking forward to playing for the Irish and thinks he can make an immediate impact because of his competitiveness.

[They’re getting] a player that will do whatever it takes for his team to win,” Grant said. “I can score I need to, defend the best player on the other team, get my teammates involved – and I love clutch moments.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

St. John's Hosts Important Visitors

For anyone hoping to get an inside look at the St. John’s recruiting picture for the next couple of years, all they had to do was take a look at the Queens campus Wednesday.

The Red Storm hosted unofficial visits for five players yesterday, including members of the classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012. Five-star senior Doron Lamb was the headliner, followed by 2011 prospect Sterling Gibbs and rising sophomores Kyle AndersonTariq Carey and Aaron Bodie.

By all accounts, everyone enjoyed it.

“My visit was good,” Carey said on Thursday. “The coaches are great, I enjoy being around [head] coach [Norm] Roberts, [assistant coach Chris] Casey and coach Q (Fred Quartlebaum).”

“Tariq and Aaron enjoyed themselves and was kidding around with the coaches,” Newark Eastside (N.J.) head coach Troy Long said in an e-mail. “Tariq, in particular, has a great relationship with all of them and he thinks highly of the entire staff. They show great professionalism and their practice was intense.

“The entire team is strong,” he added. “They were a lot of individual stuff in the two hours we were there. This was their second time there so they know the campus, but this time students were around and that was excited to them.”

Similarly, Carey was impressed by the work ethic of the players and the energy of the practice.

“We watched the team practice, the practice was real intense!” he said. “Then I talked to the coaches, I shot around and that was about it.”

While Carey had an excellent visit to St. John’s, he’s not ready to anoint them – or any school – as the leader for his services.

“I’m still wide-open,” he said. “I don’t [have] anybody in front yet.”

Carey did say that he just picked up interest and/or offers from Wright State and Notre Dame, to go with his previous list of Villanova, Penn State, Oregon State, Seton Hall, SMU, George Mason, St. John’s, St. Joseph’s, Siena “and a couple others.”

Fellow 2012 prospect Kyle Anderson and his father had a similar opinion regarding the visit.

“Very enjoyable,” Kyle Anderson Sr. said in a text message.

Anderson Sr. also said that Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, George Washington and USC are beginning to show interest in the 6-7 point-forward.

“As far as offers, I only count in-person offers from head coaches,” he said. “That is GeorgetownSt. John’s, La Salle and St. Peter’s.”

Anderson Sr. added that visits to George Washington and Miami (Fl.) are coming up soon.

The lone 2011 performer who was on campus for his unofficial visit was Seton Hall Prep point guard Sterling Gibbs.

Gibbs, who took an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh last weekend, was pleasantly surprised at what he saw at St. John’s.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “Me and my family were able to see the whole campus and talk to the coaches and watch practice.”

Going into the visit, Gibbs was unsure about St. John’s because he didn’t know about the entire campus and the on-campus activities.

However, after visiting, he realized his ideas about the school were incorrect.

“At first I didn’t think they had a campus life but after my visit, that changed,” Gibbs said, adding that the Red Storm moved up on his list.

“Also, having coach Oz Cross there is very big because he’s family,” he said of the former New York Panthers coach who is now an administrative assistant with St. John’s.

Despite being very impressed by his visit, Gibbs simply said he is looking harder at St. John’s– not a favorite or a frontrunner.

“They become a school that I’m looking at very closely because at this point I don’t have a favorite,” the 6-foot guard said.

Next on the docket for Gibbs is a trip to Maryland next weekend.

“I’m taking a visit to Maryland on the 11th for a football game and a tour around campus,” he said.

2010 five-star prospect Doron Lamb also visited St. John’s on Wednesday, but he was unable to be reached by NBE.

Although St. John’s is still slowly rebuilding its team in the always-tough Big East, the first step towards recruiting success is getting top targets to visit the campus.

The next – and more important – step is getting these local stars to sign on the dotted line.

Can Norm Roberts and co. do it? They might be able to get players on campus, but they need to seal the deal.

Either way, Wednesday was a step in the right direction for the Red Storm.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Caldwell in a holding pattern

Most of the top players in the class of 2011 spent the month of August racking up new offers or hitting the road for some unofficial visits.

Not Kentavious Caldwell.

He did neither – and doesn’t seem overly concerned about it.

“No sir [I did not pick up any new offers],” Caldwell said on Tuesday. “No sir [I did not take any visits].”

The No. 27-ranked player in the class of 2011 listed Florida State (offer), Clemson (offer), Georgia Tech, Georgia and Florida (offer) when NBE spoke to him at the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando in late July.

Caldwell, a 6-3 guard from Greenville, Ga. who plays with the Georgia Blazers for AAU ball, is a soft-spoken player who lets the game come to him and sets his teammates up to succeed more often than himself.

“I’m looking for a good coach,” Caldwell told me in July. “It doesn’t really matter [where the college is], I just want to go to school.”

Black yet to narrow list

Tarik Black was everywhere this summer.

Combine his size and skill set with the fact that he was playing with the loaded Memphis Magic AAU team, and it was hard to ignore him.

As a result, it’s not surprising that big-time programs from across the country are courting the 6-foot-8 big man.

“You pick them, they’re after him,” said Wes Henning, Black’s coach at Ridgeway High School (Tenn.)

Henning and Black headed to Marquette this past weekend for the Golden Eagles’ Elite Camp.

“He basically just went with me,” Henning said. “He didn’t take a tour or anything, just did it because he was with me.”

Despite the fact that they didn’t get a feel of the entire campus, Henning had this to say about the school: “I mean, it’s hard not to like Marquette, but they’re just on his list of schools to look at.”

Black has said in the past that he does not like giving out recruiting lists because of erroneous reports about him in the past, but he and Henning both said that the class of 2010 prospect has not trimmed his collection of suitors yet.

“He hasn’t narrowed his list,” Henning said.

“Naw, not yet,” said Black, who estimates that about “30 or so” schools are looking at him.

Henning did say that hometown Memphis was on it, while Black said that Connecticut and Marquette were contacting him out of the Big East.

“[I’ll cut my list] in about a month or so,” said Black.

Napier Tops in New England for 2011?

With the multitude of private and prep schools in the New England area, it is inevitable that a plethora of talent comes out of there every year.

Arguably the best player in the class of 2011 in that region is Shabazz Napier, a 5-11 point guard who plays for Lawrence Academy (Ma.) and runs with Metro Boston for AAU ball.

“I [have] been getting a lot of new mail from Florida and Marquette,” Napier said. I am supposed to visit St. John’s coming up and when I arrive for school in a few more days, Villanova and Kentucky are supposed to come up there, along with a few other schools.”

Napier claims offers from Miami, Memphis, St. John’s, Tulane, Virginia, Providence, Massachusetts, Houston and possibly a few others.

UConn and Pittsburgh, I believe, are also supposed to be visiting me when school starts,” Napier added.

Thus far, Napier has only visited Providence and Massachusetts.

“When I eventually decide, I’m basically looking for a school that fits my style of play,” Napier said. “A school that runs; like a fast-break team, not much of a half-court team – but I can also play that way. But I’m most effective in a ‘get the ball and go’ team.”

Unlike some prospects that sign with a school and then are caught in a bind when they change their mind or the coach leaves, Napier has the foresight to take his time and not reveal his hand too early.

He’s not even naming leaders at this point.

“I don’t have any favorites because it’s [a] business,” Napier said. “At any time, someone – coaches and myself – can change due to many things.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Davis Expands List

Jarrod Davis is a rapidly rising prospect in New Jersey for the class of 2011, and his school list is getting larger every week.

When NBE spoke to him at the Summer Primetime Shootout in early August, Davis ran off a long list of suitors including Kentucky, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, St. Joseph’s, RutgersSeton Hall, UAB, Indiana, Georgia Tech, Fordham, GeorgetownVillanova, Maryland and La Salle.

The list is getting longer.

“I have Marquette now also,” Davis said. “Also Penn State, Siena, Louisville, Bucknell.”

Of the 19 schools he mentioned, only Kentucky, UAB, Indiana, VillanovaMarquette and Louisville have not offered.

Davis said he plans on visiting Fordham, Virginia Tech and Georgetown.

“Yes, those [three schools], Syracuse, Maryland and Siena are my top,” Davis said.

After taking his aforementioned visits, Davis plans on making a decision soon to get it out of the way.

“I’m going to commit early after my unofficials,” said Davis.

Franklin Still Considering USC

Former USC commit Gary Franklin opened his recruitment up in mid-June after Trojans head coach Tim Floyd stepped down and was replaced by Kevin O’Neill.

However, Franklin is still looking at USC as a possible destination.

“Arizona State, California, USC, Utah, Baylor and Oklahoma,” responded Franklin when asked about his current school list.

Asked what would make him choose the Trojans again, Franklin laughed and admitted, “I really don’t know.”

When NBE talked to Franklin in July, he also mentioned ConnecticutVillanova, Tennessee, Washington and Stanford and recent reports also had Seton Hall in the mix as well. However, those schools are no longer under consideration.

“No, that’s my top right now,” Franklin said.

Franklin took unofficial visits to Arizona State, California and USC in August, but does not have any official visits yet planned.

“I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to take them late or early,” Franklin said, adding that he has no timetable for a decision.

Going through the recruiting process for a second time, Franklin wants to make sure he takes his time and chooses the best school for him.

He said the overall vibe of the campus and the system that the team plays will be the major factors in his decision.

Said Franklin: “The feel I get from the atmosphere of my visit on campus and the playing style that fits me best.”

Gibbs Visits Pitt

Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs was one of the more impressive players at this summer’s U-19 Championships in New Zealand, and could be a starter in the Panther backcourt this coming season.

But could there be another – potentially better – Gibbs running the show for a Big East program in a couple of years? Ashton’s brother, Sterling Gibbs, is a prime target for Big East schools, as well as some national powers.

The 6-foot class of 2011 prospect took an unofficial visit to big brother’s school this past weekend, and liked what he saw.

“I’ve been there a couple times for games and classes,” the younger Gibbs said. “The visit went real well; me and my family got a chance to sit down with all the coaches and talk. I got to experience the college life and hang out with the guys.”

However, Gibbs did say that Ashton being at Pittsburgh isn’t at the forefront of his mind when it comes to making a decision, as they would only have one year together.

“I don’t think it will be a big factor because me and Ashton have different games,” Gibbs said. “But him being there will also help me get through some freshman difficulties because he’s been through it already.”

Gibbs has a litany of schools under consideration for his services.

“The schools that have offered are St. John’sSeton HallRutgersPittDePaul, Maryland and Indiana,” he said. “Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Duke and Providence are also in the mix.”

Gibbs attended the Duke Elite Camp recently, and also visited Seton Hall earlier this month.

“I plan on visiting St. John’s this week, Maryland on September 11th and we’re working on other visits now,” he said.

Despite indications in the past that Gibbs’ leader was Villanova, he insists that there is no one at the front of the pack currently.

Villanova is in the mix,” he said. “I am looking to see what they end up doing as far as the 2010 class.

“Right now I don’t have any favorites,” he added. “All of the schools are equal right now.

A report earlier in July said that there was a chance Gibbs would be making his decision before the end of the summer. However, he seems to indicate that a choice won’t be coming in the near future.

“I’m not even sure,” Gibbs said when asked about a timetable for a decision. “I plan on taking my time through the process and if the right decision comes up then I will make my decision.”