Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Smith-Rivera tears meniscus, will miss July

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s stock was on the rise all spring – but that will be put on hold for up to a month, as the 6-foot-3 rising junior guard suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for July.

“In a school tourney,” Smith-Rivera said. “Doc says it’s a slight tear. I’m going to stay off for a few weeks so that I don’t hurt it worse.”

His doctor said it was a torn meniscus, but is not too bad. “I’m happy about that,” Smith-Rivera said.

The stocky Smith-Rivera, who hails from North Central High School (Ind.) and runs with Team Indiana Elite on the AAU circuit, holds offers from Wake Forest, Miami (Fl.), Xavier, Florida, Ohio State, Indiana, Cincinnati, Oregon State, Purdue and Tennessee, with interest from Georgetown.

His recruitment continues to increase as he gets more attention, but he is not worried about the missed time.

“I’ll be even stronger after this,” Smith-Rivera said.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chris Hill qualifies, taking visits

Amare Stoudemire is one of the most sought-after free agents in the NBA this summer, but he might not even have the most important destination decision in his own family.

That honor could go to his cousin, unsigned 2010 prospect Chris Hill, a 6-foot-8 swingman from Christian Faith Center Academy (N.C.).

Although Stoudemire went straight to the NBA and therefore never went through the recruitment process, he is consistently helping Hill.

To read out the rest of this article, check out the NBE Basketball Report.

Johnson trims list to four

With a busy summer coming up, Plainfield (N.J.) guard Tyrone Johnson has decided to move forward in his recruitment and cut his list to four teams – all of the Big East variety.

Johnson said his final four are Villanova, Georgetown, Rutgers and West Virginia.

Previous reports stated that Johnson was only considering Villanova, Georgetown and Rutgers, but he made it clear that West Virginia was still in the mix.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Noreen closes West Virginia's class

Former Boston College signee Kevin Noreen has ended his recruitment for a second time, signing with West Virginia on Monday night.

According to a source, Noreen visited the Morgantown campus and made his decision shortly after. The Mountaineers had one scholarship left for next season, and Noreen jumped at the opportunity to play in the Big East.

Noreen, a 6-foot-10 big man from Minnesota Transitions Charter, received his release from Boston College after head coach Al Skinner was fired. Noreen averaged 36.5 points during his final high school season.

He reportedly chose the Mountaineers over Washington State, Arkansas and dozens of other schools who became involved when he opened his recruitment.

"Que" score on the rise

When ESPN came out with its class of 2012 rankings early last week, there weren’t too many unknowns. One name, however, seemed to surprise several people: Demarquise Johnson.

“People were shocked when he was ranked by ESPN, even I was really surprised by that,” said Clint Parks, Johnson’s AAU coach with Team Eleate. “I mean, some of my friends in coaching texted me when the rankings came out; people were like, oh wow. We told them Que could play, but people would brush us off. A ranking doesn’t make you a player, but . . .”

Johnson, a 6-foot-5 ½, 175 lb. shooting guard from Westwind Prep (Ariz.), does not have much national publicity, but he is starting to garner attention after playing well at the NIKE Hoop Jamboree, Jayhawk Invitational and the Kansas Elite Camp this spring.

Known as “Que” by his teammates and coaches, Johnson transferred into Westwind from Avondale (Mich.) prior to last season. Now, he has separated himself as the top prospect in the state.

“He’s possibly [underrated] on a national level,” Parks said. “He’s in Arizona on an under-the-radar AAU team. I mean, we had the best freshman on the West Coast last year, Kawhi Leonard at San Diego State, but we’re not a shoe-sponsored team. If he was on Double Pump or Oakland Soldiers, he would be a household name.”

As he becomes more of a big-time prospect known across the country, his recruitment will surely heat up. For now, he has offers from San Diego State and Arizona State, with interest from Arizona, Oregon State, UCLA, Kansas, Saint Mary’s, Pepperdine and Georgetown.

Since June 15, when coaches were officially allowed to contact rising juniors, Johnson has heard from Arizona State, Saint Mary’s, Pepperdine, Oregon State, Arizona and Georgetown.

“He’s wide-open, but I’d say Arizona State’s out in front,” Parks said. “They really came out and saw him. Arizona State took our word, and was the first to do it. Now everyone is a believer.”

Johnson attended the Arizona State Team Camp with his high school team and dominated, scoring 37 points and 38 points in separate outings.

“That’s what really sent them over the top,” said Parks, who added that San Diego State and Pepperdine are also coming at him hard. “He’s their No. 1 priority in 2012.”

Despite the Sun Devils being Johnson’s favorite, he’s nowhere near ready to make a decision, and plans on waiting for at least a year before choosing a college.

“He’s going to take his time,” Parks said. “There’s no reason to rush anything, so you’re second-guessing yourself. I told him, when you commit, that’s your word.”

Considering his recruitment is just starting to pick up, it makes sense for Johnson to wait it out and see what schools get into the mix after this summer.

“He’s for sure going to have his pick of schools,” Parks said, before naming some of Johnson’s criteria in a future destination. “Playing time is going to be very, very important. How the coach develops players, too, since he has aspirations to play at the highest level. Playing style, environment, how he gets along with the coach, those will all be factors.

“Location won’t be a huge factor, I don’t think, since his mother lives in Arizona and his father lives in Michigan.”

Whichever school gets Johnson will pick up a fantastic shooter who is developing a more well-rounded game. He has come from being a player who floated mostly along the perimeter to a guy who can hurt defenses in multiple ways.

What makes his rise to a top-50 player even more surprising is that Parks said Johnson isn’t cut out to be a standout in a camp setting.

“I mean, camp isn’t the best place to showcase his skills,” Parks said. “He’s not a shot-hunter, he’s more of a set-offense type of player. He’s a young Ray Allen, a young Rip Hamilton. He can shoot out to 23-24 feet, and he’s still developing. He needs to develop his handle a bit; it’s not that tight yet. But he’s come a long, long way. I think the mental aspect of learning [has improved the most]; he’s starting to see things on the court. He used to be a [former Florida guard] Lee Humphrey, a catch-and-shoot guy. Now he can get to the rim on two or three dribbles, and he can dunk on you. He’s pretty athletic.

“I’ve seen a lot of kids, and his upside is tremendous. He’s far from his peak, and he sees where he can go.”

Another reason many were surprised about Johnson’s lofty ranking was that he has not had many opportunities to compare himself to some of the top players in the country. However, Parks did say that he watched Johnson go against 2011 stud Branden Dawson and 2012 standout Kyle Anderson and play them to a standstill.

“He hasn’t had a chance to showcase his skills against Shabazz Muhammad and them, but he can hold his own with the best of the best,” Parks said.

For the rest of the summer, Johnson and Team Eleate are playing in tournaments in Tulsa, Minnesota, Las Vegas and the Best of the Summer event in Los Angeles. Individually, Johnson received no invites to the LeBron James camp or any of the Skills Academies, but Parks said he anticipates Johnson making a big enough leap next year to receive invites.

Despite the new top-50 ranking and invites to prestigious Elite Camps, Johnson is still vastly underrated on a national level. As a result, he is playing with a chip on his shoulder, eager to show that he can compete with anyone in the country.

“At the Kansas Camp, guys like Nino Jackson and Perry Ellis – they’re really good players – but Que felt the coaches were just shoving him off, not putting him in the group of guys they’re really interested in,” Parks said. “So he wants to play hard and go out and prove to people. He’s going to be a warrior, and leave it all out on the floor.

“He wants that respect.”

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Carey adds offers

Michael Carey has been very impressive along the AAU circuit this spring, and more and more colleges from across the country are beginning to notice.

On Sunday, Carey told the NBE Basketball Report that he has added two more offers: Baylor and Arkansas.

The 6-5 rising junior point guard from Trent High School (Tex.) said he is most interested in Baylor, Arkansas and Houston, but is not close to committing or narrowing a list.

“Nah I don’t, still keeping my options wide-open,” Carey said.

He plans on taking an unofficial visit to Arizona this summer, and attended the Oklahoma State and Kansas Elite Camps already.

Travis Ford and the Cowboys impressed Carey.

“It was good,” he said. “He is a great developer with players.”

With great size for his position and a wide-ranging skill set, expect Carey’s recruitment to heat up as the summer progresses.

Cosby commits to Seton Hall

After making an immediate impact in the class of 2010, new Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard picked up his first 2011 commitment on Sunday, as Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) guard Aaron Cosby chose the Pirates.

“They have been recruiting me the hardest over the past couple months,” Cosby said on Sunday. “My family and I had a stronger comfort level with the staff and the 2011 class will be a big class for that program, and they see me stepping in and playing right away.”

Cosby, a 6-foot-3 point guard originally from Kentucky, took a visit to the South Orange, N.J. campus this weekend and came away impressed.

“Every coach on staff has been with me and my family throughout the entire visit,” he said.

Cosby chose Seton Hall over Providence, Boston College, Northwestern, Saint Louis, Marshall and Western Kentucky.

“I’m just going to be ready to contribute for my team as soon as I get there,” he said.

Davis expands recruitment

A week ago, Lakewood (N.J.) swingman Jarrod Davis announced that he had trimmed his list to three schools: Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Seton Hall.

After thinking it over, though, Davis has decided to completely open up his recruitment and welcome advances from all schools.

“Those schools are even with everyone else again,” he said. “I am hearing from a lot of schools since that last interview, and I want to do the last live period with my options and list open as a player to all schools.

“I spoke with my parents and high school coach, Randy Holmes, and they think it’s the best decision for me to stay open and see everything I can to weigh my options and really be 100 percent when I cut my list and pick my school.”

The schools currently coming after the 6-foot-6 Davis include Georgetown, St. John’s, Fordham, Virginia Tech, Marquette, Kentucky, Rutgers, Rice, Miami (Fl.), Penn State, Iowa, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Temple, Saint Joseph’s, Xavier, Marshall and Robert Morris, in addition to the previous three favorites.

“I know I won’t see all those schools but I will try to stay in contact with most and see who does the best job recruiting me, and who I like the most, until maybe midway in August,” he said.

One visit Davis does have lined up is a trip to Seton Hall on Tuesday – and he already has a strong opinion about the Pirates.

“[I’m looking for a] nice campus, of course, where I’m going to play right away,” he said. “A good coaching staff that can get me to the next level, and a place to prepare me for life after basketball.

“Seton Hall is going to be in my top five or three for sure.”

Davis will be on the AAU circuit with the NJ Playaz in July, participating in the Hoop Group Elite Camp, NIKE Peach Jam, a Las Vegas tournament and the Big Shots tournament in Arizona.

Friday, June 25, 2010

AAU coach: Gilchrist NOT leaving St. Pat's

A report at early Friday afternoon claimed that Michael Gilchrist, the top-ranked player in the class of 2011, would be leaving St. Patrick (N.J.) and transferring to Camden Catholic (N.J.).

Rob Brown, Gilchrist’s AAU coach with Team Final, denied the report in a text message.

“No,” Brown said when asked if the report was true.

Aside from Camden being closer to Gilchrist’s home, it seems strange that he would leave one of the perennial powers in high school basketball.

Gilchrist, a 6-foot-7 forward, is committed to Kentucky. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tyler Harris more than Tobias' brother

When former top-10 recruit and Tennessee signee Tobias Harris is your older brother, it is often difficult to follow in his footsteps. As a result, 2011 prospect Tyler Harris was often simply known as “Tobias’ brother.”

However, with his play on the AAU circuit so far this season, he is starting to build his own reputation.

“He’s right on schedule like Tobias,” said their father, Torrel Harris. “The difference between Tobias and Tyler is that Tobias is physically stronger. Tyler is growing so fast and his eating habits are starting to get better. Tobias, for two years, ate no junk, just good food. For Tyler, six months ago, his dinner was cookies and milk.

“Within the last three months, he’s realizing ‘this is my time now,’ and he’s eating three good meals, taking vitamins, working out three times a day. Once Tyler gets his strength, he’s going to be a major, major problem.”

To read the rest of the article, check out the NBE Basketball Report

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Plumlee denies report, has not narrowed list

A report on the Asheville Citizen-Times website on Tuesday stated that 2011 prospect Marshall Plumlee had narrowed his list to three schools: Duke, North Carolina and Virginia.

However, Plumlee denied the report, saying he is still open and has not trimmed his possible destinations.

“At this time, I’m still evaluating schools with my family, no narrowed list yet,” Plumlee told me Tuesday afternoon.

Christ School (N.C.) head coach David Gaines was the one who gave the quote to the paper.

“I’m a little concerned about that report because, at this point, I haven’t made a public statement about my list nor authorized a statement by my coach,” Plumlee said. “As of right now, that report is false.”

When I spoke with Plumlee at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in late May, he listed Notre Dame, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan, Northwestern, Duke, Virginia, Florida and LSU. Reports indicate that North Carolina could offer him before the end of the summer.

Plumlee, a 7-foot forward who runs with Team Indiana Elite on the AAU circuit, is the younger brother of Mason and Miles Plumlee, who both play at Duke.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Harkless decommits from UConn

Ever since Connecticut was accused of several violations in late May by the NCAA, questions have swirled around regarding Maurice Harkless’ commitment to the Huskies.

On Monday, the 6-foot-6 rising senior from Queens, N.Y., officially decided to decommit and open up his recruitment.

“He really saw that he didn’t get a chance to explore all his options,” said Nate Blue, an advisor to Harkless. “We believe the investigation is bogus, so that had no bearing. He just wanted to open up some options.”

As recently as a week ago, Blue told me he still expected Harkless to end up in Storrs, but the forward’s plans clearly changed.

Since Harkless announced his decommitment, Blue said he has received about 16 phone calls from schools in the Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Conference-USA and Pac-10. Blue added that Connecticut is still under consideration.

Don’t expect a quick decision the second time around from Harkless, either; the future South Kent Prep (Conn.) product is going to take his time.

“He just turned 17 years old,” Blue said. “He could be 6-10 in a month; who knows? But he’s going to play hard like he’s been doing this spring, and he’s going to take his visits.”

Friday, June 18, 2010

Junior Lomomba on the rise

6-foot-4 guard Junior Lomomba is at a training camp for the Canadian national team, but he is still picking up offers and interest from various schools around the country.

The Madison (WI) Memorial High School student is another of the extremely talented young Canadians playing basketball in the United States, following in the recent footsteps of players like Syracuse forward Kris Joseph and incoming Texas freshmen Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson.

A successful run this spring on the AAU circuit has only heightened the interest in the versatile backcourt performer who can play all three positions on the perimeter. That interest will no doubt continue into July as he runs with The Family on the AAU scene.

To read the rest of this article, check out the NBE Basketball Report.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Recruiting Coverage Roundup

Over the past week, I have been busy covering the Rumble in the Bronx at Fordham University, and then working the phones non-stop to stay on top of all the recruiting updates that resulted from the arrival of June 15. As recruitniks know, June 15 is the first day college coaches can officially talk to rising juniors. Offers come from across the country, and the recruiting targets start to become clearer. Here’s a look at all the articles I’ve written over the past several days.

Rumble in the Bronx, Day One

Rumble in the Bronx, Day Two

Rumble in the Bronx, Day Three

Myles Davis reclassifying?

Jordan Goodman commits to Rutgers

June 15 Notebook

June 16 Notebook

June 17 Notebook

Shabazz Muhammad picks up UNC offer

Domonique Bull sees recruitment heat up

Jarrod Davis trims list to three

Jarrod Davis trims list

Although most of the top players in New Jersey are consolidated in the northern part of the state, junior forward Jarrod Davis has garnered plenty of high-major looks playing for Lakewood (N.J.).

On Thursday, he informed the NBE Basketball Report that he has trimmed his final list to Seton Hall, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.

“Those are my final three,” Davis said, before adding that Georgia Tech and Seton Hall have a lead right now.

He will visit Seton Hall this weekend, and also plans on seeing Georgia Tech before the July recruiting period and Tennessee before he makes a decision. With that said, though, he’s not afraid to pull the trigger on making up his mind.

“If I like one of the three while I’m there, I’m letting it be known I’ll commit,” he said. “Playing time as soon as I get there is a definitely a major factor. Also academics. Somewhere that can help and prepare me for life after basketball is over.”

Davis broke down what he likes about each school.

“Just all the staffs have great coaching staffs,” he said. “Georgia Tech coach [Paul] Hewitt has been recruiting me since last summer. He was at all my games; that meant a lot.

“And Seton Hall, another good coach in coach [Ralph] Willard, who was under coach [Rick] Pitino at Louisville and has a great staff alongside him with coach [Dan] McHale and Shaheem Holloway. I have been hearing from them a lot since they have gotten there and it’s close to home.

“And Tennessee coach [Bruce] Pearl contacted me himself; that meant a lot to me and they were one of the first schools to send me my first recruiting letters and stayed with me.”

Davis is looking to play in a fast-paced system where he can utilize his skills to their potential.

“The thing I like about all three, they play an up-tempo game, getting up-and-down and that fits me,” he said. “I love to run and I’m very athletic.”

Nonetheless, Davis is not positive when he will end his recruitment.

“No timetable,” he said. “Whenever I feel the time is right and I’m exact on my decision.”

Monday, June 14, 2010

Goodman commits to Rutgers

When Jordan Goodman decommitted from Georgetown last month, all signs pointed to the 6-foot-8 forward from Progressive Christian Academy (Md.) following former Hoyas’ assistant coach David Cox to Rutgers.

At the time, a source said, “The kid is close to Dave Cox. He’s going to Rutgers.”

Therefore, it came as no surprise when Goodman ended his recruitment on Monday, committing to the Scarlet Knights. He had visited the New Jersey campus in early June, and enjoyed his trip.

DC Assault coach Bruce Handon confirmed the news to me via text.

“Their relationship was the main reason,” Handon said of the connection between Goodman and Cox.

Cox was a former coach for the DC Assault AAU program, which Goodman plays for on the spring and summer circuit.

“That was Jordan’s guy, you know, Jordan was his recruit,” DC Assault coach Bruce Shingler said at the time of the decommitment. “He just liked coach Cox, wanted to play for coach Cox. He made a commitment to Dave Cox.”

And now it looks like Goodman has made another commitment to Cox, deciding to join him at Rutgers.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finney-Smith trims list

Dorian Finney-Smith, one of the fastest-rising players in the class of 2011, has trimmed his list to six schools.

The lucky half-dozen include Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Florida and Old Dominion.

“I decided that I ain’t want to go far,” Finney-Smith said in a text message Wednesday.

Of course, one of the six schools is clearly not in the same region as the others, but Florida and Finney-Smith have a special connection.

“Vernon Macklin,” he said, referring to the Gators’ junior big man. “[He’s] my brother’s best friend; I knew him my whole life.”

Finney-Smith’s brother, Ben Finney, was an all-conference performer at Old Dominion last season, but he insists that the family connection will not be a huge factor.

“No I told him it’s my decision,” Finney-Smith said.

He has not yet planned any visits, nor does he have a deadline for a final decision.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Perry Ellis shines on and off the court

Whenever Bill Self, John Calipari and Rick Pitino show up to watch one player perform in an open gym, you know you are dealing with someone special.

Special is just one word to describe Perry Ellis, a 6-foot-8 forward from Wichita Heights (Kan.). One of the top players in the class of 2012, Ellis is one of the most highly-recruited prospects in the country. He was named the ESPN Rise National Sophomore of the Year, and has been the Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas for the past two seasons. Moreover, Ellis averaged 22.2 points and 10.4 rebounds en route to leading Wichita Heights to its second consecutive state championship – the first back-to-back 6A state champ in 16 years.

The aforementioned open gym workout that Ellis had in mid-April drew Kansas State’s Frank Martin, Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and assistants from Missouri, Texas A&M and Memphis, in addition to Self, Calipari and Pitino.

“It was really impressive to have that many coaches there at one time,” said Perry’s mother, Fonda Ellis.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Ellis has offers or interest from nearly every big-time school in the nation.

To read the rest of this story, check out the NBE Basketball Report.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Desmond Wade to Fairfield

After picking up high-major recruit Majok Majok last month, Fairfield head coach Ed Cooley continued his trend of poaching big-time prospects with another addition this week.

Houston transfer Desmond Wade announced his decision to play for the Stags, a source close to the program told me Monday morning.

According to the source, Wade visited last week on June 2-3 and made his decision today.

“He had over 160 assists at Houston this year,” the source said. “He will be a ball-handling, decision-making guard for us. [He will] contribute immediately after he sits out.”

Wade, a native of Linden, N.J., averaged 5.7 points and 4.8 assists last season, starting 31 games and helping lead Houston to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 years.

Boston College, Rutgers and La Salle were among the many schools that expressed interest in Wade since his transfer in early May.

McAdoo withdraws from school; is UNC next?

It was first reported last week that top-five 2011 recruit James McAdoo was considering graduating high school a year early in order to enroll at North Carolina in the fall.

Now it appears that McAdoo and his family are clearly leaning in one direction, as a source at Norfolk Christian (Va.) informed me Monday morning that McAdoo had withdrawn from the school.

“That’s why it doesn’t make sense that coming back would be an option,” the source said. “If so, you would simply leave him enrolled and then if things change for him to leave early for UNC, withdraw him at that time. Now as it stands, he isn’t enrolled anywhere.”

McAdoo, a 6-foot-8 forward who has been running with Boo Williams on the AAU circuit this spring, is still not able to enroll at North Carolina, as he has classes to complete in order to be eligible.

As far as I know, he needs only an English class to be eligible for a GED to enroll at UNC,” a school administrator said. “He still would need English and Government to graduate from Norfolk Christian.”

With Ed Davis leaving early for the NBA Draft and Travis and David Wear transferring to UCLA, the Tar Heels obviously need help down low. Alabama transfer Justin Knox will help, but McAdoo’s athleticism and length would give North Carolina a difficult match-up up front.

For now, though, McAdoo’s future is up in the air – or is it?

No final decision will be made until the end of this month or early July,” a source at Norfolk Christian said. “We are moving forward as if James will not be back next year due to them withdrawing him from NCH.”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jarvis Webster: A sleeper from Tennessee

Last season, the Tennessee Tigers featured Connecticut-signee Michael Bradley and Clemson-bound Cory Stanton. With those two moving on, it seems the next player from the Tigers to make an impact at the next level will be Jarvis Webster.

Webster, a 6-foot-4 wing from Columbia Central (Tenn.) is one of the top 2012 recruits in the state of Tennessee, and has been playing well on the spring AAU circuit after an impressive high school season. He helped lead Columbia Central to the playoffs for the first time in seven years, and then led the Tigers to the finals of the AAU Super Regional in Atlanta.

“He has a shot to be really good,” Tigers head coach Chip Smith said. “But he has to want it. Right now, he is taking off too many plays. At times, he is really good but other times he disappears.

“[He is a] great kid and we are going to push him to achieve his best. I hope that it works.”

Smith said Webster has to play his hardest every time out in order to reach his potential. Once he does that, Webster will be a legitimate high-major player.

“Consistency is the key,” he said. “He must understand that to whom much is given, much is required. If he complements his talent with the appropriate commitment, he has a shot. We will do all that we can to assist him.”

According to a source close to Webster, the recruiting picture is completely unclear. Several schools have inquired about him, but they want to see if he performs on a consistent basis this summer.

“He is mainly mid-major right now,” the source said. “However, we have started some discussions with some bigger schools to get him on their radar to look at in July.”

At this point, VCU and Belmont are two of the schools showing the most interest in Webster.

“We hope to add many more as we head through the summer,” the source said.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hunter chooses junior college

With the summer fast approaching, the last few remaining 2010 players need to make their college decisions in the coming weeks.

One of them, Neiko Hunter, a former top-150 player, has chosen the junior college route. The 6-foot-5 Hunter will attend Northwest Florida in Fort Walton, Fla.

“He didn’t get the score he needed,” said Rodney Wesley, Hunter’s high school coach at Greene County High School (Ala.).

Hunter chose Northwest Florida over John Logan (Ill.), Odessa (Tex.) and several other junior colleges that were interested in his services.

“He’s more of a guy that can play the two, but plays like a three,” Wesley said. “He crashes the offensive boards, the defensive boards. He can take the ball to the basket, and hit the outside shot.”

In terms of Division-I NCAA schools, Hunter held offers from Missouri State, Southern Miss, UTEP and Utah State in the past couple of months.

Prior to the academic troubles, he held interest from Maryland, Wake Forest, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Auburn and Arkansas.

“I think he will make an impact [at the NCAA level],” Wesley said when asked what sort of effect Hunter will have in two years. “He would have had one out of high school, and I think after two years in junior college, he will make more than that.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tharpe decommits from Providence

Everyone knew there would be fallout from Pat Skerry’s decision to leave Providence for an assistant coaching position at Pittsburgh.

Well, the first domino fell last night, as 2011 commit Naadir Tharpe decided to decommit and reopen his recruitment.

“Yes, he did,” Brewster Academy head coach Jason Smith confirmed via text message Wednesday night.

Tharpe, a 5-11 point guard who runs with the New England Playaz for AAU ball and attends Brewster Academy (N.H.), committed to Providence in March, choosing the Friars over Boston College, UNLV, Wake Forest and others.

However, once Skerry left, Tharpe decided to reevaluate the situation.

“That had a part in his decision,” Smith said.

Expect plenty of schools to get involved in his recruitment this time around, as he will become the leader and veteran for Brewster next season.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Finney-Smith plans visit, picks up offers

Despite averaging around 20 points per game with his high school team and having a brother who was an all-conference performer in the Colonial last season, Dorian Finney-Smith was an under-the-radar recruit for most of his high school career.

This spring, however, Finney-Smith’s recruitment has skyrocketed and his reputation around the country has increased tremendously. He is even ranked in the top 25 by one major scouting outlet.

Finney-Smith, a 6-7 forward from I.C. Norcom High School (Va.) who runs with Boo Williams for AAU, is not concerned or paying attention to the recent rise in attention, though.

“My momma always said, ‘Don’t pay no mind to that,’” he said on Tuesday.

While Finney-Smith is not focused on his ranking or stature when compared to other players, he is excited about people noticing his talent.

“It’s because I play hard and work hard,” he said. “It’s finally paying off. I was always good, I was just worked on my game more. Like the saying goes, people are going to find good players.”

The determination is certainly paying off, especially when it comes to college interest.

To read the rest of this story, check out the NBE Basketball Report.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Notebook: Ozi Dilik considering three

Huntington Prep (W.Va.) had several players worth watching this past season, namely Louisville recruits Justin Coleman and Gorgui Dieng. One player who didn’t get the same publicity as the other two was Ozi Dilik, a 6-foot-3 point guard.

Now, though, Dilik is getting plenty of attention as one of the top remaining unsigned seniors in the country.

According to Huntington Prep head coach Rob Fulford, Dilik is considering Cincinnati, Seton Hall and Rutgers at this point.

“[He’s visited] Seton Hall and Cincy,” Fulford said. “Rutgers, I think, this week. Not 100 percent when.”

He wasn’t sure when Dilik was planning to make a decision, only saying that it would be soon.

As for Coleman, who is not yet qualified to play with the Cardinals next season, Fulford said he will take his test June 12.

“Should be fine,” Fulford said.

Jayon James to Brewster?

Reports have surfaced in the past couple of weeks stating that Paterson Catholic (N.J.) forward Jayon James will do a prep year at Brewster Academy next season instead of attending Fordham, where he committed in January.

According to Brewster head coach Jason Smith, it is not a done deal just yet.

“He has expressed interest,” Smith said.  “At this point, he has not completed the application process.”

Brewster was loaded last season, but will lose five high-major players, including Will Barton (Memphis), C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Maurice Walker (Minnesota), Austin Carroll (Rutgers) and Melvin Ejim (Iowa State).

Only Providence-commit Naadir Tharpe will return from last year's team. As of now, Ge-Lawn Guyn is the primary player known to be entering the school next season.

“There are a number of kids still in the process who haven’t been reviewed by admissions committee,” Smith said. “When a candidate completes the admissions process, [we make a decision]. At this point in [the] calendar, it’s rolling admissions.”

Tyshawn Bell waiting on test scores

Speaking of prep schools, Maine Central Institute forward Tyshawn Bell is another senior that hasn’t made his college decision just yet.

Bell is awaiting word on his NCAA clearance for now.

“[I’m] not sure yet,” he said. “Waiting on my SAT scores from May still.”

He added that he will better know about his future in the next week.

In the past, Bell has listed South Florida, Oklahoma State, Georgetown and others among the schools he was considering.

Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions Coverage

Over the weekend, I headed down to North Carolina for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, annually one of the best tournaments in the spring. While the third session of the NIKE EYBL in Los Angeles took some of the competition, there was still plenty of talent on hand in the Triangle. Games were held at Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and a variety of high schools in the area. In case you missed it over at the NBE Basketball Report, he is a look at the reports I filed from the TOC.

Day One Recap: Player evaluations and recruiting notes : Features scouting reports on J.P. Tokoto, B.J. Young, Montrezl Harrell, Jeremiah Davis, Damion Leonard and many more, as well as recruiting updates on Nick Jacobs, Damion Leonard, Kaleb Tarczewski, Adjehi Baru and more.

Day One Recruiting Notes : Features updates from J.P. Tokoto, Montrezl Harrell, Marshall Plumlee, Cody Zeller, Jeremiah Davis and more.

Day Two Recap: Player evaluations and recruiting notes : Jam-packed article has scouting reports and recruiting updates on Ryan Arcidiancono, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Hanner Parea, Shabazz Muhammad, Angelo Chol, Cezar Guerrero, Adonis Thomas, Andre Drummond, Norvel Pelle, Chane Behanan and plenty more. 

Day Three Recap: Player evaluations and recruiting notes : Features evaluations and recruiting updates for Chasson Randle, Quinn Cook, Jordan Tebbutt, Xavier Johnson, Peter Jurkin and more.

Final Recruiting Notebook : Nothing but updates from the likes of Amile Jefferson, Savon Goodman, Madison Jones, Jeremy Hollowell, Ge-Lawn Guyn, Trashon Burrell, Kamari Murphy and many more.