Thursday, May 28, 2009

The New 'Melo?

In this internet-centric era, when highly-touted basketball prospects are covered incessantly from the time they are in middle school until they finally announce their college destination, it is not often that a player of Fabricio de Melo’s caliber flies under the radar.

However, that is exactly what happened with ‘Fab Melo’, who did not become a household name until the past couple of months.

Originally from Brazil, the 7-foot, 260-lb. Melo arrived at Sagemont Academy (Fla.) before last season. He had family in Hispanic-heavy southern Florida, and after much deliberation between Fab and his family, they settled on Sagemont.

Due to state rules regarding international transfers, Melo had to sit out this past season, strictly participating in practice.

Coaches began trickling into Sagemont in the fall to check out 2011 prospects Rod Days and Richard Peters, but curiosity quickly rose about the tall, talented player sitting out.

“It doesn’t take a basketball genius to see the 7-footer who can play and see he’s going to be a player,” Sagemont head coach Adam Ross said.

But everything changed at the King James Classic event in Akron, Ohio, in late April. After several impressive performances, Melo’s name – and game – spread quickly.

Ross said things have really picked up in recent weeks.

"I think that the combination of only being here for a year and not playing basketball has kept his coverage pretty low-key,” Ross said. “AAU was the first games he played, so people noticed. He got put on all the recruiting sites, his recruitment started to pick up.”

Despite not being able to play immediately at Sagemont, Melo has kept busy working on various aspects of his game, as well as attempting to get into game shape.

“He’s put on a lot of weight [since he got here],” Ross said. “He’s probably put on 25 pounds, with most of that weight good weight. Physically, he’s changed quite a bit.

“He’s a tremendous worker. His only basketball experience here has been practice, but he’s spent time working on his body and other individual stuff. He sits on our bench, cheering his teammates on.”

Ross said Melo did his best to stay focused and avoid coasting, like so many players sitting out a year of basketball have a tendency to do.

“It was a little discouraging for him at times,” Ross said. “But he handled it with a tremendous amount of maturity.”

Melo is an outstanding offensive player with a versatile repertoire. He can score inside and out – not something one normally sees from a 7-foot high school player.

“It sounds ridiculous to say this, but there aren’t any holes in his game,” Ross said. “He has a very well-rounded game and can do just about everything on a basketball court.

“He’s multi-faceted as an offensive threat. He’s great with his back to the basket and around the rim. Down low, he takes up space and can finish with both hands. He has really good feet, and can hurt you bad in the post because he can score and pass. If you play him straight-up, he will score more often than not.

“What separates him from most high school posts is his ability to catch the ball away from the rim, and then turn and face. He can shoot from nearly 20-feet, or create his own shot ad take you off the dribble. He can really handle the ball; he can grab a defensive rebound and lead the break or throw an outlet pass.”

Because he sat out for an entire season, Melo is still working to get into game shape and get his conditioning back to its necessary level.

Ross said that the biggest thing is going to be his ability to adapt to the college game.

“The speed of the game at the college level is so much faster than at the high school level and at the AAU level,” he said. “That will be an adjustment for him.”

Melo has only played basketball for four years, participating in soccer in his native Brazil before outgrowing the sport and moving on to basketball.

Off the court, Melo is humble and eager to improve in all aspects of his life.

“He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever been around,” Ross said. “He’s a fun-loving kid, but he understands the opportunities he’s created for himself.”

Sounds like a coach’s dream, right? Not surprisingly, Melo has nearly every college in the country pining for his services.

“There are probably 25-30 schools inquiring about Fab on a regular basis,” Ross said. “It’s difficult to keep all the schools involved.”

Melo has taken visits to Louisville, Connecticut, Syracuse and Florida, with Ross saying no further trips are planned at the moment.

“We are going to sit down and see if one of those four schools is the right fit for Fab,” Ross said.

His visits to Connecticut and Louisville took place during the season, allowing Melo to get more of a basketball experience while there.

“It’s always a plus to see a basketball game,” Ross said. “You get to see the environment, see the fans, see the players.”

During his visit to Connecticut, Melo watched the Huskies play against Notre Dame on Senior Night. It was right after head coach Jim Calhoun’s 800th win, so he was presented with a banner that night.

At Louisville, Melo saw the Cardinals face Marquette in a close contest that Louisville pulled out down the stretch.

“It was an incredible game, Freedom Hall is an incredible place,” Ross said.

Melo’s visit to Syracuse spurred various rumors regarding a commitment to the Orange, which obviously weren’t true. However, he did enjoy the visit to upstate New York.

“We spent a lot of time with coach Boeheim and his staff,” Ross said. “We spent time with the players towards campus, saw the Carrier Dome and the new facility, ironically named the Melo Center. We met with academic people and the athletic director. Fab played some pick-up with the players.”

The only non-Big East program that Melo visited was in-state school Florida, also his most recent visit.

Ross said that head coach Billy Donovan has made an impression on Melo.

“Coach Donovan has had a lot of success, with two national championships,” he said. “He’s a very, very accomplished coach and a very good guy.”

Despite the fact that it’s the closest school to Sagemont, Ross said that Florida does not have an advantage because of its location.
“I’m not sure distance is a major factor in his recruitment,” he said. “Because he’s from Brazil, geographic location won’t be a factor.”

As for what will be the major issues in Melo’s ultimate decision, Ross mentioned a variety of things.

“First and foremost, his comfort level is going to be important,” he said. “He’s 3,000, 4,000 miles away from home, so it’s really a matter of feeling as comfortable as possible.

“Of course, like most kids, there are also a lot of other factors: style of play, ability to come in and make an impact early. And academics are important to Fab. He wants to get involved in international business, so we have to look at those programs.”

Although there are rumors going around that Melo is planning to announce his decision before the July recruiting period, Ross said there is a chance they will do that, but there is no specific timetable for Melo’s college choice.

“I think that we’re taking the approach that when we find that one place is the right place, we’ll make a decision. We could make a decision [before July] but not if he doesn’t feel comfortable pulling the trigger.”

Expect the hype and coverage about Fabricio de Melo to increase this summer, as he will play a full AAU schedule with the Florida Rams. He played in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions this past weekend, and will also be taking part in the NBA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va.; the Adidas It Takes5 in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Lebron James and Amare Stoudemire Nike Skill Academies; and the Adidas super 64 in Las Vegas.

No matter how hard anyone tried, it will be impossible for Melo to stay under the radar any longer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Part Two

Over the past week or so, there have been some important personnel decisions that will have an impact on next season. Let's take a look at those decisions, and the potential effect of each.

Calathes Heading to Europe: As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Florida sophomore guard Nick Calathes has decided to play professionally in Greece next season. Without Calathes, the Gators could struggle at the point guard spot next season. They struck out with No. 1 recruit John Wall, and will now need Erving Walker, a sparkplug last season, to run the team. Freshman Kenny Boynton is an outstanding scorer and can play the point if necessary, but he is better suited to play off the ball. Rumors are making their way around recruiting circles that Florida could be making a late push for unsigned prospect Lance Stephenson.

XU's Brown Likely Staying in Draft: Xavier junior forward Derrick Brown told Jeff Goodman of today that a return by him to the Musketeers is doubtful. New head coach Chris Mack will have to find a way to replace him up front, as now XU's top three scorers from last season are gone. Jamel McLean and Jason Love will have to step up down low, and Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford might have to shoulder more of a scoring load in the backcourt. The Musketeers will still fight with Dayton at the top of the Atlantic-10.

Oglesby Leaving Clemson for Europe: In a very surprising and sudden move, Clemson sophomore guard Terrence Oglesby has decided to forgo his final two seasons with the Tigers and pursue a professional career in Europe. He was an outstanding shooter who had deep range and could really stretch a defense. Next season, Clemson's strength will be in the frontcourt with potential All-America Trevor Booker and impact freshman Milton Jennings, but the perimeter needs to be shored up. Demontez Stitt returns at the point, while Tanner Smith could step in for Oglesby. Andre Young and freshman Donte Hill will see additional minutes.

Tavernari Returns to BYU: Not surprisingly, BYU junior forward Jonathan Tavernari has announced that he will return to the Cougars for his senior campaign. Tavernari is an all-conference performer who can score in a variety of ways, shoot it from deep and is the team's best rebounder. With him back in the fold, BYU could be the favorite in the Mountain West again. Tavernari and Jimmer Fredette form a dynamite duo, while Emery Jackson and Chris Miles also return as starters. They will still need to find a way to replace All-American Lee Cummard, but it will be much easier with Tavernari on the roster again.

Williams Commits to Memphis: In a key move for new head coach Josh Pastner, five-star forward Latavious Williams announced his commitment to Memphis earlier today. He chose the Tigers over Georgetown, as well as Florida International and Kansas State. Williams is very athletic and can finish around the rim. He also has a decent mid-range jumper, and can block shots defensively due to his leaping ability. If Shawn Taggart withdraws his name from the NBA Draft, Memphis will have an excellent frontcourt duo. Throw in Willie Kemp, Wesley Witherspoon, Doneal Mack and Roburt Sallie from the perimeter, and the Tigers still have plenty of talent.

Johnson Asks for Release from USC: As first reported by Alex Schwartz of Northstar Basketball and subsequently confirmed by other media outlets, USC signee Noel Johnson has been granted a release from his letter-of-intent. He expressed concern regarding the recent NCAA allegations about head coach Tim Floyd and former Trojan O.J. Mayo. Johnson is reportedly looking at LSU, Connecticut, Georgia Tech and UNLV, with Memphis also in the picture. As for USC, this really hurts them. The Trojans already lost DeMar DeRozan and Daniel Hackett to the pros, Solomon Hill and Renardo Sidney decommitted and Taj Gibson has still not withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft. Dwight Lewis will have to carry the Trojans' offense in a big way next season, especially if Gibson doesn't return. There are also rumors that incoming point guard Momo Jones could ask out of his letter-of-intent, too. That Arizona job looks pretty good now, doesn't it, Mr. Floyd?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

CSI: Twin Falls (Id.)

Note: This article originally appeared at NBE Basketball Report.

It was only a decade ago when Steve Francis and Shawn Marion were each selected within the first nine picks of the 1999 NBA Draft. Both Francis and Marion were junior college products who played only one year of Division-I basketball before turning pro.

Since then, though, it seems that the number of talented junior college products becoming impact Division-I and professional players has decreased tremendously.

The College of Southern Idaho, however, is continuing to buck the trend.
CSI, the winningest program in junior college history, will send players to the Mountain West and WAC conferences next season and Nate Miles, a former Connecticut signee, has a chance to be selected in next month’s draft.

Things could get even better in the next couple of seasons too, as head coach Steve Gosar has a plethora of players getting major-conference interest.

This past season, the Golden Eagles did not reach the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., finishing third in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. However, while first-year coach Gosar did not consider it a success because they didn’t get to the tournament, he did say that it was not all bad.

“Every year we don’t reach Hutchinson is a disappointment,” he said. “But we signed 14 new players, we had a new staff and a new head coach. It was okay for a transition year.”

The addition of Miles brought Southern Idaho some attention early last season, after he was dismissed from Connecticut for allegedly abusing a female student and then violating a restraining order.

He played nine games for CSI, averaging over 19 points per game. CSI went 6-3 to finish the season with Miles in the lineup.

“We always keep tabs on a guy like Nate,” Gosar said. “When a player goes to four different schools, there’s always a chance the NCAA will red flag that.”

Gosar described how a program like Southern Idaho – and most junior colleges – recruit and attract players, and how so many talented players come to a place like Twin Falls, Idaho.

“We recruit like everyone else,” he said. “We keep track of kids, get names from Division-I programs. We talk to AAU coaches about kids, and then recruit the hell out of them. Then we find out what kids don’t have grades.”

The winning tradition was started by legendary coach Eddie Sutton, who was CSI’s first coach in 1966. It will undoubtedly continue under Gosar, who will have a multitude of talented players on next year’s roster.

Chief among them is 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye, who averaged 8.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and more than two blocks per game last season.

“Every high-major is on him,” Gosar said. “Alabama is on him, I mean, everybody in the Big 12, SEC, everyone in the Big East.”

N’Diaye is a native of Senegal who previously attended Lake Forest Academy in Illinois. He received plenty of high-major interest while at LFA, including from DePaul. Kentucky also had sent assistant Tracy Webster to see N’Diaye when Billy Gillispie was the head coach. Webster is now an assistant with the Blue Demons.

A familiar name who will make an impact at Southern Idaho next season is Josten Thomas, who played at DeSoto God’s Academy in Texas last year and Temple Hills (Md.) Progressive Christian prior to that.

Before joining the team late in the season (but not appearing in any games), Thomas was getting interest from Kentucky, Connecticut, West Virginia, Texas A&M, TCU and South Carolina. Gosar doesn’t expect the interest to decrease anytime soon.

“He’s a 6-7, 235 lb. wing who has an inside-outside game,” Gosar said. “He’s really strong. Connecticut is showing him interest, Kentucky was before Billy Gillispie left, and so are Oklahoma and Baylor.”

Another player to keep an eye on is Charles Odum, a 6-foot guard from California who averaged nearly three assists and more than one steal per game in only 18.3 minutes per contest.

“He’s a real strong, athletic point guard, and can really be a lockdown defender,” Gosar said, naming Oklahoma and UNLV as colleges interested in Odum.

Two newcomers that Gosar expects to pay immediate dividends next season are Pierre Jackson, a freshman from Las Vegas, and Antonio Owens, an incoming transfer from Los Angeles City College who player high school ball in Kentucky.

Gosar said Jackson is a “5-9, 5-10” guard who is a very talented player, while Owens is a really talented wing.

Although the majority of the team is set in stone, Gosar did say that there could be another one or two players added to the roster before next season. He does not mind taking chances on players who made mistakes at other schools and are looking for another opportunity.

“That’s what junior college is,” Gosar said. “A lot of these kids have had problems, and this is a second chance to get your life right.

“We’re just looking for the best players we can get. Better players make us better coaches.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Does Wall Make Kentucky the Favorite?

With the news coming out early this morning that the No. 1 recruit in the country, John Wall, was committing to Kentucky, everyone started looking towards next season, when the Wildcats will welcome four five-star recruits -- and two more newcomers -- into a fold that could include nearly every key component from this past campaign. However, will it be enough to put Kentucky at the top of the preseason rankings heading into 2009-2010? Jeff Goodman of updated his top-25, with UK overtaking Kansas for No. 1.'s Gary Parrish thinks that the Wildcats will take plenty of votes away from the Jayhawks in the preseason polls. On the other hand, I disagree.

Kansas won the Big 12 title this past season, receiving a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and coming less than two minutes from reaching the Elite Eight. The Jayhawks bring back everyone who played a key role last season, namely potential All-Americans Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, who might form the best inside-outside combo in the country. Tyshawn Taylor was a budding scorer on the wing, and Brady Morningstar filled every role. Marcus and Markieff Morris were solid up front, and Tyrel Reed and Mario Little were solid off the bench.

On top of that, Bill Self welcomes an outstanding recruiting class, led by top-five prospect Xavier Henry and fellow five-star guard Elijah Johnson. Forward Thomas Robinson will make an immediate impact, while Arizona transfer Jeff Withey is a talented post player.

They have all the pieces necessary to win the national championship, with experience and talent at every position and no clear weaknesses. Plus, they were one of the best teams in the country this past season and are only getting better.

On the other hand, while Kentucky might have more talent on its roster, the Wildcats finished just 8-8 in the SEC and missed the NCAA Tournament, going 3-8 in their final 11 regular-season games. Next season, they will have a new coach (John Calipari) and a new system (Dribble-Drive-Motion) and potentially three freshmen starters.

Of course, those newcomers are supremely talented, with five-star recruits John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton all capable of coming in and immediately making an impact. Bledsoe and Orton might be coming off the bench, too. Potential All-American Patrick Patterson withdrew his name from the NBA Draft, and Jodie Meeks could return as well. On the wings, returnees DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller will team with freshmen Darnell Dodson and Jon Hood to form a solid group. Perry Stevenson and Ramon Harris were starters last season but will come off the bench in 09-10.

Can Calipari develop some chemistry between the newcomers and the returnees? Will Meeks indeed return to the Wildcats? How quickly will Kentucky adapt to the new system that Calipari will implement? Is there enough experience in the starting lineup?

Sure, Kentucky will solve its point guard problem with the addition of Wall and Bledsoe, and they certainly have a ton of talent, but there are too many questions because of the inexperience and new coaching staff to put the Wildcats ahead of Kansas at this point.

John Wall to Kentucky

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, John Wall,'s top-ranked player in the Class of 2009, has committed to Kentucky. Wall made his decision late Monday night. He chose the Wildcats over Miami (Fl.), while Duke and Florida were also among his finalists. The 6-4 point guard joins a highly-touted recruiting class that also includes five-star recruits DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe, as well as Jon Hood and Darnell Dodson. Wall was expected to sign with Memphis before John Calipari's departure to Kentucky, and it looks like Calipari's lure was too much to pass up even with his move to Lexington.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Over the past week or so, there have been some important NBA Draft and recruiting decisions that will have an impact on next season. Let's take a look at those decisions, and the potential effect of each.

- Patrick Patterson decided to return to Kentucky. With him back in the fold and the addition of five-star centers DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton, the Wildcats will have one of the best frontcourts in the country. Recruit Eric Bledsoe is stepping in to run the point, and DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller are also solid on the wings. If Jodie Meeks also withdraws his name and No. 1 recruit John Wall commits to Kentucky, the Wildcats are going to be a threat to win it all.

- Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado is returning to the Bulldogs. Arguably the nation's best shot-blocker, Varnado leads five returning starters for MSU, including guards Barry Stewart and Dee Bost. Furthermore, five-star recruit Renardo Sidney recently committed to the Bulldogs, and John Riek is also coming to Starkville. Those two -- if they are indeed eligible -- and Varnado comprise an imposing frontcourt trio.

- Michael Washington of Arkansas withdrew his name from the NBA Draft. Although the Razorbacks went just 2-14 in the SEC last season, they have the talent to improve dramatically next season. Washington gives them an excellent option down low, while Courtney Fortson can run the point and Rotnei Clarke and Stefan Welsh are solid scorers. Freshman Marshawn Powell will be a nice complement to Washington.

- Unlike the other three, Southern Mississippi's Jeremy Wise hired an agent and will keep his name in the NBA Draft. Wise was the team's leading scorer and one of the best players in Conference-USA throughout his career. Without Wise, as well as Courtney Beasley and Craig Craft, the Golden Eagles are going to struggle -- even in the John Calipari-less C-USA. They went just 4-12 this past season, and could be in for more disappointment. R.L. Horton will have to shoulder most of the load for USM next season.

- DeShawn Painter was one of the top uncommitted high school seniors remaining, and he decided to attend North Carolina State, choosing the Wolfpack over Maryland and Virginia Tech. Painter is a 6-9 big man who can score around the rim and also hit the mid-range jumper. He is very athletic and runs the floor well. With NC State's top three scorers -- forward Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, and guard Courtney Fells -- departing, Painter will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact in the paint for Sidney Lowe.

Robinson to Georgia

Former Tennessee State sophomore guard Gerald Robinson has decided to transfer to Georgia. Robinson averaged 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this past season. He chose the Bulldogs over Memphis, Marquette and Alabama, among others.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Further Fordham Exodus

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Fordham freshman Jio Fontan is leaving the Rams, despite the fact the university refuses to grant him a release from his letter-of-intent. Fordham has already granted releases to Mike Moore, who ended up at Hofstra, and Trey Blue, who transferred to Illinois State. The source says that Fontan is willing to transfer without a release, meaning he will have to play a season without a scholarship at his next destination.

Additionally, a third member of the Rams, freshman forward Lamar Thomas, also received a release from his letter-of-intent yesterday. A source tells me that Thomas is looking at Columbia as a potential destination.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fordham's Moore to Hofstra

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Fordham sophomore swingman Mike Moore will transfer to Hofstra. Moore averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds game last season for the Rams, and chose the Pride over VCU, Northeastern, Creighton and Cal State Fullerton.

Moore and Trey Blue both transferred after the season, with Blue ending up at Illinois State. Leading scorer Jio Fontan is also looking to leave the school, but his requests to be released continue to be declined.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bledsoe Will Commit to Kentucky

According to multiple reports, top-25 recruit Eric Bledsoe is planning to announce that he will commit to Kentucky tomorrow morning. Bledsoe has a press conference scheduled for 10:00 a.m., where he will officially decide between the Wildcats and Memphis.

However, Adam Zagoria of and, Jeff Drummond of and Brooks Hansen of are all reporting that Bledsoe will choose Kentucky. "I got it from a college coach who’s recruiting him," a source told Zagoria. "He told some staffs where he’s not going. He said, 'Kentucky's my school.'"

The 6-1 Bledsoe is the third-ranked point guard in the 2009 class, according to He is an excellent ball-handler who can get into the lane on most defenders and then finish with effectiveness at the rim. Perhaps more importantly, Bledsoe is also arguably the best defensive point guard in the country.

The Birmingham, Ala. product will join five-star centers DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton, as well as four-star forwards Jon Hood and Darnell Dodson, in the incoming Kentucky recruiting class. The Wildcats also remain involved with the nation's top-ranked player, John Wall, who still has several schools on his list.

Full-Court Press, May 5

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone. For anyone looking to kill a little time before celebrating the holiday tonight, here is an assortment of links and news items from the past few days.

- The Lance Stephenson saga continues. The New York Daily News reported on Friday that the nation's top-ranked player according to Hoop Scoop was eliminating long-time candidates St. John's and Maryland from consideration, leaving Arizona and Memphis as the most likely destinations for the 6-5 guard. However, Jeff Goodman of said that Arizona is not likely to offer him a scholarship due to off-court concerns. Adam Zagoria has sources refuting that report. Lance, end this soon, please.

- One player who will be ending his recruitment soon is point guard Eric Bledsoe, who will be making his announcement tomorrow morning. The nation's third-ranked point guard according to will choose between Kentucky and Memphis, his high school coach told the Birmingham News.

- The story of Sonny Vaccaro is essential to knowing the background behind the decision by Jeremy Tyler to skip his final year of high school and head to Europe, writes Ray Mernagh of the NBE Basketball Report.

- What is Mississippi State getting itself into by signing Renardo Sidney? The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that both UCLA and USC rescinded their scholarship offers in the past after concerns regarding Sidney's eligibility and family affiliations outweighed the positives Sidney brings to the basketball court.

- Highly-touted 2009 recruit Latavious Williams was expected to announce his commitment to Memphis yesterday, but a surprise visit to Florida International and new head coach Isiah Thomas has pushed his decision back.

- Top-10 2010 recruit Will Barton has dozens of scholarship offers, but two of his favorites are Kentucky and Maryland. He tells that his decision could come anytime soon.

- Former Florida transfer Allan Chaney will be visiting Temple, Virginia Tech, Providence, Xavier and then possibly Seton Hall or Rutgers.

- As first reported by Jeff Goodman of, former Cincinnati commit John Riek has signed with Mississippi State. The 7-2 center blew up two summers ago, but has since struggled with injuries and consistency.

- As first reported by Five Boro Sports, New York City product Sean Johnson has announced his commitment to Duquesne for next season.

-'s Jeff Goodman updates his pre-preseason Top 25 after seeing who entered their name into the NBA Draft and who returned to school.

- Jason King of Yahoo! Sports discusses 10 teams who are set to improve drastically next season. At least two of them, Purdue and Texas, could be Final Four threats.

- If Florida lands John Wall and sophomore Nick Calathes withdraws his name from the NBA Draft, the Gators could contend for a Final Four appearance, after not reaching the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons.

- The official list of NBA early-entries came out late last week and, as usual, there were a few late surprises. Names that were not reported on here before the list was released include: Northern Illinois' Darion Anderson, Nebraska's Ryan Anderson, UTEP's Kareem Cooper, Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Cooper, New Mexico State's Jonathan Gibson, Louisiana Tech's Kyle Gibson, Texas-Arlington's Rog'er Guignard, Tennessee Tech's Darnell Lindsay, San Francisco's Dior Lowhorn, Binghamton's D.J. Rivera, UAB's Terrence Roderick, Louisiana Tech's Magnum Rolle and Wofford's Junior Salters. For a complete list of all the players who entered their name into the NBA Draft, click here. Players who did not sign with an agent have until June 15 to withdraw their name from the draft. The draft is June 25.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wall Charged With Crime

According to, John Wall, the nation's top unsigned recruit, has been charged with breaking and entering in relation to an incident that occurred on April 27.

The Raleigh-area news station reports that Wall was charged with a misdemeanor after he and at least two other people entered an unoccupied home in Raleigh. Wall was detained by police as he was leaving the house, while two other people were also charged in connection to the crime. Officers tell WRAL that there was nothing taken from the house, and there was no sign of forced entry.

Wall is the No. 1 player in the country by, and has yet to decide on his future college. He is deciding between Duke, Memphis, Kentucky, Miami, Florida and a few others.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Parrom Picks Arizona

Fresh off his visit to Arizona, Kevin Parrom made it official: he will play for the Wildcats next season.

“I committed today,” Parrom said in a text message Sunday evening.

Parrom, a 6-6 swingman from New York who played at South Kent Prep (Conn.) this past year, was released from his letter of intent to Xavier in April after Musketeers’ head coach Sean Miller accepted the job at Arizona.

However, he decided to follow Miller across the country to Tucson and suit up in the Pac-10. He chose Arizona over Pittsburgh.

“The people there,” Parrom said when asked why he signed with the Wildcats. “The surroundings. The coaching staff. Great academic support. And the campus is wonderful.”

After his visit to Pittsburgh last week, Parrom said he would go see Arizona and then likely choose by the end of the upcoming week. However, he was so impressed by his trip to UA that he committed on the spot.

“My trip was great,” Parrom said. “Just getting out there in Arizona and being myself at all times with the people and the players on campus.”

Over the summer, I had a chance to watch Parrom at the Reebok All-American camp in Philadelphis. He was one of the best all-around players at the camp, and showed the ability to do nearly everything on the court. Parrom has good shooting form, which enables him to knock down outside shots, meaning defenders can’t leave him open for jumpshots. As a result, Parrom also drives to the basket well and finishes creatively at the rim.

He also has an effective back-to-the-basket game and posted up smaller defenders on several occasions. He is an extremely difficult match-up for most defenders. Parrom is also a very good passer with good vision who looks for his teammates as soon as he touches the ball. He can shoot the ball either in transition or in the half-court, and also runs the floor well. Parrom rebounds well at both ends of the court due to his athleticism, and is a very good defender, both on-and-off the ball.

Parrom transferred to South Kent after an off-the-court problem at St. Raymond’s (N.Y.), in which he allegedly hit a coach. He originally chose Xavier in September, picking the Musketeers over St. John’s, where high school teammate and close friend Omari Lawrence will attend next season.

However, once Miller left Xavier to replace interim head coach Russ Pennell at Arizona, Parrom wanted to re-evaluate his recruitment. Miller brought two of his assistants with him to Arizona, including Emmanuel “Book” Richardson, who was the former head of the New York Gauchos AAU program and with whom Parrom has a close relationship.

Parrom is the third recruit of Miller’s tenure at Arizona, following Kyryl Natyazhko and Solomon Hill.