Monday, August 30, 2010

Abif decides on Drexel

The Team NJABC – Colonial connection is picking up steam.

Last week, Khaliad Lewis-El committed to Delaware, and on Monday, Kazembe Abif popped for Drexel.

His AAU coach, Matt Pauls, listed the reasons Abif picked the Philadelphia school.

“Location – he is from New Jersey so his parents can watch him; Education – Drexel is a great school; CAA is a great level for him; and Coach Bru[iser Flint] – his kind of coach,” Pauls said.

The 6-foot-6 forward from Lawrenceville Prep (N.J.) chose the Dragons over Delaware, St. Peter’s, Robert Morris, Rice and New Hampshire.

Williams trims list to 10; Robinson School updates

The Robinson School (N.J.) is a new entry to the prep school scene, but coach Vincent Robinson has stocked his roster with varying levels of Division-I players. Here is an update on several of them.

- 6-7 forward Isaiah Williams, from Shabazz (N.J.), has narrowed his list to 10 schools: Robert Morris, Iona, DePaul, Nebraska, Iowa State, Morgan State, Marshall, Maryland-Eastern Shore, UTEP and Manhattan.

He will take unofficial visits to Iona on Wednesday and Manhattan on Sept. 17, and trips to Iowa State, Marshall, Nebraska and Robert Morris are being planned for sometime in September.

Robinson said Williams wants to make a decision in October.

- Former Boston College and Fordham commit Danny Lawhorn, a 5-foot-10 point guard who played at South Kent Prep (Conn.) last season, listed Marshall, New Mexico State, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Charleston Southern.

- Former Niagara commit Shaq Duncan will take a visit to Marshall soon, while the Philadelphia native is also considering Toledo, South Alabama, Charlotte and the Purple Eagles.

- Forward Jakarri McCallop has heavy interest from Fairfield, St. Peter’s, Longwood, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Georgia State.

He will take a visit to St. Peter’s soon.

- 6-4 Mike John plans on visiting Manhattan with Williams on Sept. 17, and is working out a visit to Indiana State.

- Former Dartmouth commit Kyle Aiken has interest from Bucknell, Lafayette, Northeastern and Quinnipiac.

- Bronx native Rashawn Stores, a 6-2 scoring guard, is hearing from UNC-Central, Southern and Illinois-Chicago.

- Malcolm Brooks, a Queens native who played at Cardozo (N.Y.) last season, listed Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Siena, Morgan State, Radford and Charleston Southern.

- Omar Grier holds offers from Florida Atlantic and Marshall.

- Tshrad Oates will take a visit to Division-II Franklin Pierre.

Wood to Huntington Prep

With Progressive Christian (Md.) ending its athletic program at the end of last year, Darrick Wood knew he would have to go elsewhere for his junior year of high school.

On Monday, he decided to head to Huntington Prep (W. Va.) to play for head coach Rob Fulford.

“[I] just wanted to make sure I was in the best situation,” Wood said in a text message.

He chose the Express over St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.), Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) and others.

While Wood is at the West Virginia school, he plans on improving himself in a variety of areas.

 “Grades, weight room, individual skill work and helping my team become No. 1 in the country,” he said.

On the recruiting front, Wood saw his stock rise in the spring and summer playing on the Team Takeover U-16 team.

He is hearing heavily from Miami (Fl.), West Virginia, Texas and Georgetown, but two Big East schools are coming at him the most.

“Lately, Rutgers and Seton Hall have been going hard,” Wood said.

He added that no schools are favorites at this point, and his recruitment is wide-open. Wood is also unsure about possible visits in the fall.

“Maybe, I haven’t decided,” he said. “Me and Negus [Webster-Chan] might take an unofficial to Miami.”

Wood plans on committing to a school after his school season at Huntington.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coleman to prop at Marshall

There had been rumors swirling around for months that prized recruit Justin Coleman would not make it academically at Louisville. Those reports were verified Friday morning when head coach Rick Pitino announced on a local radio show that Coleman would not suit up for the Cardinals this upcoming season.

Coleman wasted no time moving on from the situation, though, as he decided to enroll at Marshall on Sunday.

“[The] details are getting worked out, but he is going to Prop,” said Rob Fulford, Coleman’s former coach at Huntington Prep (W. Va.).

Coleman will not be allowed to play or practice this season, and he will need to pay his own way into the school, but he will be able to join the Thundering Herd in 2011-12 if he remains in good academic standing.

Dilik’s future unclear

Huntington Prep’s Ozi Dilik was one of the top unsigned players remaining at the beginning of the summer – and it remains that way.

According to Fulford, Dilik’s plans for the upcoming season are still up in the air.

“[I] have no idea,” he said. “The ones he said were options, weren’t options. Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Oregon aren’t involved anymore. So I don’t know what they are doing.”

Dilik is a 6-foot-3 guard, originally from Turkey. 

Southern Illinois gets its man in Daniels

B.J. Young wasn’t the only member of St. Louis Gameface to make a name for himself on the AAU circuit this spring and summer.

Dantiel Daniels developed a reputation as an athletic forward with a non-stop motor; in 2011, Daniels will bring those skills to the Missouri Valley Conference, as he committed to Southern Illinois on Sunday.

“[It was] basically my relationship head coach [Chris] Lowery,” Daniels said. “I felt really comfortable. He didn’t sell me any BS and he didn’t promise fame and stuff, but he did promise me that I would graduate and get a great education. And he will make me a better player.”

Daniels, a 6-foot-5 power forward from Holt (Mo.), chose the Salukis over Oral Roberts, Western Kentucky, VCU and Colorado State.

“It wasn’t far from home and their coaching staff did a really good job recruiting me,” he said. “They were constantly mailing me stuff and called when they could.”

Daniels should be a perfect fit for Southern Illinois and Lowery, who preaches defense and hard work. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Lowery made Daniels a priority.

“He was really happy because he had been telling me I was their number one recruit for the longest so he was really excited that he had finally got me to commit,” Daniels said.

Although Southern Illinois has struggled somewhat over the past few seasons, Daniels feels he can help bring the Salukis back to where they were from 2004 to 2007 – the NCAA Tournament.

“I think I can make an impact right away because I play hard, I defend and I will push my team every game to get the W.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pullen returns to take next step

AKRON, Ohio – When looking back at Kansas State’s Elite Eight run last season, the lasting memory is not the loss to Butler in the regional final.

It is the epic double-overtime battle between the Wildcats and Xavier in the Sweet Sixteen and the duel that ensued between Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen and Xavier’s Jordan Crawford. The players traded clutch shots for 49 minutes before Pullen iced the game for the Wildcats with two three-pointers and two free throws in a 46-second span during the second overtime, as Kansas State won 101-96.

“I pride myself on big games,” Pullen said at the LeBron James Skills Academy in early July. “I saw [Crawford] try to challenge us, and I felt the same way. I had to step up.”

Pullen will have to step up again this season, as the Wildcats lose three starters, including second-leading scorer Denis Clemente, but return enough talent to be a Final Four contender.

Taking on a bigger role is not a new concept for Pullen, who has improved his numbers in scoring, rebound, assists, steals, free-throw shooting and three-point shooting every season he has been in Manhattan.

“I’m going to be more of a facilitator, getting other people shots,” he said. “There will be more of a focus on me, but I’m going to tell everyone: don’t worry about the double-teams.”

Pullen took his biggest step forward last season, going from an inconsistent shooter without a defined role to one of the best backcourt scorers in the country.

“My mentality changed,” he said. “After Mike [Beasley] left and Denis came in, I wasn’t sure what [head coach] Frank [Martin] wanted me to do. But then I knew I had to make plays, I had to get to the free-throw line. I had a transformation last season.”

With a clear-cut outlook on what he needed to do, Pullen had a monster season. Since he decided to bypass the NBA Draft in favor of returning to the Wildcats for his senior season, another outstanding campaign could be in store for the 6-foot guard from Chicago.

“I think I should be a preseason All-American, based on my numbers last year,” Pullen said. “And depending on how much we win, I should be a contender for Player of the Year.”

If success is indeed a primary criteria for Player of the Year honors, Pullen has a great shot to get consideration for the nod.

Kansas State returns forward Curtis Kelly to the starting lineup, while frontcourt holdovers Jamar Samuels and Wally Judge are prepared for a bigger role. Moreover, 7-foot returnee Jordan Henriquez-Roberts and 6-10 junior college transfer Freddy Asprilla, who averaged close to a double-double at Florida International two seasons ago, bring even more size to the equation.

Pullen is excited about the frontcourt’s potential.

“We have good chemistry and a good team coming in,” Pullen said. “We’re young, athletic. We have all the tools to be a national championship-type team. We have a lot of bigs, and they’ve gotten better this offseason. Freddy [Asprilla], Jamar [Samuels], Curtis [Kelly], they’ve just gotten better, and it’s going to make us hard to guard. We’re up-tempo and the bigs will be hard to defend.

“If I can get Curtis to be a 20-10 guy, have Jamar do what he did last year, that will be the difference between this season and last season. The depth we have this year is unreal. I mean, we can go 7-foot, 6-10, 6-10, so we can get in foul trouble. And we do foul.”

Because the Wildcats will be so young, Pullen expected to have rising senior Dominique Sutton alongside him as a leader. However, Sutton left the team earlier this summer due to family issues.

Although Sutton did not put up gaudy numbers, Pullen is not underestimating his departure.

“He was a three-year starter, he knew the ropes,” he said. “He’s been through the ups and downs.”

With Sutton and Clemente gone, Pullen knows another perimeter player needs to increase his production and play a major role. When asked, he singled out Shane Southwell, a freshman from New York, as someone who impressed him in early workouts.

“He’s a legit 6-6, and defensively he knows how to use his length,” Pullen said. “Rodney McGruder, Martavious Irving – one of them has to step up. We need a strong guard to replace Denis. Last year, they were role players. Rodney is coming into his own, though; he can stretch the defense.”

Kansas State fell one round short of the Final Four last season, and although the Wildcats lose three starters, Pullen thinks they can take that next step and advance to Houston.

“I think so,” he said. “I came back to go to the Final Four.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blue Hens nab talented New Jersey guard

Khalid Lewis-El’s recruitment has spanned various conferences at different levels of the college basketball world. It went up-and-down, peaking when Trenton Catholic (N.J.) won the Tournament of Champions.

It came to a close on Wednesday, as the 6-foot-3 guard chose Delaware after visiting the Newark, Del. campus recently.

“Excellent fit for many reasons,” said Matt Pauls, Lewis-El’s AAU coach with Team NJABC.

He chose the Fightin’ Blue Hens over Manhattan, Wagner, Robert Morris, Drexel, Rider and others.

Ross-Miller transfers to FIU

A surprising bit of news came out last week when it was announced that LSU freshman K.C. Ross-Miller, along with senior guard Bo Spencer, would be ineligible to play for the Tigers in 2010-11 due to academics.

It now looks like Ross-Miller is moving on from the situation, as the 6-0 point guard will transfer to Florida International. He will sit out the upcoming season before becoming eligible in 2011-12.

When asked for the main reason Ross-Miller chose FIU, his father, Tim Miller, responded simply: “Isiah.”

According to Miller, his son chose the Golden Panthers over North Texas, UTEP, Tulane, Nevada and Louisiana Tech.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gilbert pops for Pitt

Pittsburgh’s recruits seem to know where they want to go well before they announce their decision.

Last week, Durand Johnson popped for the Panthers after making it clear that they were his favorite for the past year.

The trend continued on Monday, as 6-foot-11 center Malcolm Gilbert committed to Jamie Dixon’s program.

“The level of interest was the biggest thing,” Gilbert said over the phone Monday night. “They were always calling my dad and my AAU coach, and the interest was mutual.”

Gilbert, who attends Academy of the New Church (Pa.), chose the Panthers over Virginia, while also considering Ohio State, Clemson, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

He said he made his decision last night, and notified Dixon earlier this afternoon.

 “Virginia and Pitt were neck and neck,” he said. “My sister was saying Pitt, my mom was saying Pitt, but even with that, it was difficult. It was a difficult decision because Virginia was great, both athletically and academically. But I went with Pitt.”

Gilbert is a very long and athletic post player who is ready to make an immediate impact at the defensive end of the floor. He will fit in well with Pittsburgh’s emphasis on that side of the ball.

“I’m a big man, a five, who runs the floor and plays really great defense. I have touch around the basket,” said Gilbert, who also made it clear where he will make the most impact. “Definitely defense. I’m an aggressive shot-blocker and I love running the floor. Those are my strengths.”

Gilbert will take his official visit to Pittsburgh’s campus the first week of September, but said he is set on going to Pitt despite deciding before his trip.

He added that it was a very tough decision, but Dixon’s enthusiasm and interest clinched the decision.

“He was excited, I was excited,” Gilbert said. “The feeling was mutual. I mean, I couldn’t see his facial expressions, but he was excited.”

Bennett gets his man

At the NIKE Peach Jam in July, Malcolm Brogdon caught the eyes of most coaches and programs around the country.

One coach, in particular, who immediately was drawn to Brogdon was Virginia’s Tony Bennett.

Bennett has been hot on the trail of Brogdon since July, and on Monday, his hard work paid off when the 6-foot-4 guard from Greater Atlanta Christan School (Ga.) committed to the Cavaliers.

“The main reason was that it’s a program on the rise, and I had a great relationship with coach Bennett,” Brogdon said over the phone Monday. “I’m also developing one with the rest of the staff, so once I realized that, I [chose Virginia].”

Given Bennett’s interest level throughout the summer, it was not difficult for Brogdon to gauge his reaction when he broke the news to him of the commitment.

“He was super happy,” Brogdon said. “He told me they’ll need me, and I’ll have to play some minutes as a freshman.”

Brogdon’s reputation increased considerably at the Peach Jam event in North Augusta, S.C., when he stood out in the backcourt for the Georgia Stars. He is a strong offensive player who can create his own shot in the mid-range and knock down three-pointers with consistency.

He said he did not play any differently than usual at the Peach Jam; it was simply a matter of exposure.

“People just got to see me play, and that’s why my stock rose,” Brogdon said.

Brodgon, who chose Virginia over Vanderbilt, Harvard, Minnesota, Georgia and Clemson, is confident he will be able to contribute right off the bat.

“If I work hard, I can make a big impact,” he said. “I can help in a lot of areas, shooting, going off the dribble, rebounding the ball.”

In this day of decommitments and reopening recruitments, Brogdon seems set on playing in Charlottesville.

“I know what I wanted, Virginia is what I wanted,” he said. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Carson commits to Sun Devils

The in-state rivalry between Arizona and Arizona State picked up a little steam this week.

Arizona struck first on Wednesday, picking up a commitment from Nick Johnson.

Arizona State came back on Saturday, though, when Jahii Carson pledged to the Sun Devils.

"Hometown school," Carson said in a text message. "A great opportunity to come in right away and get great minutes as a freshman."

The commitment could mean more than just the usual recruiting coup, as Carson resides only a few miles from Arizona State’s Tempe campus.

Not surprisingly, head coach Herb Sendek was ecstatic about the news.

“He was happy,” Carson said. “Him and all the coaches were all hugging each other.”

Carson, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Mesa (Ariz.), is a quick and confident player who can get by his defender and finish at the rim. He can also knock down shots and find teammates.

“I think I can make a huge impact,” Carson said. “I think I’ll bring a nice type of energy to ASU.”

He picked Arizona State over Arizona, Washington, St. John's, Oregon State and UNLV.

“I trust Coach Sendek and I think I can have a great career at ASU,” Carson said.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No commitment yet for Canty

Kareem Canty did not commit to Rutgers on Friday afternoon, on the contrary to a report by Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop earlier today.

“[It was a] big misunderstanding. They offered, but no commitment,” Canty said in a text message. “My recruitment is wide-open.”

He said he is currently considering St. Bonaventure, Rutgers, West Virginia, Boston College and George Mason. The 6-foot-1 Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) point guard said he will not commit until November.

Sources close to Rutgers confirmed the lack of a commitment.

“No, Canty did not commit,” one source said.

Multiple sources have stated Canty did indeed try to commit to the Scarlet Knights, but the coaching staff is holding off on accepting the commitment.

Either way, Canty is not happy the story became such a big deal.

"I don't know [how it happened], but I'm mad that somebody really put that up there," he said.

Allen to enroll at Iowa State

Iowa State has done it again with a big-time transfer.

First it was Royce White, now it’s former Michigan State guard Chris Allen.

“Yup, done,” a source said.

Allen, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, averaged 8.2 points and shot nearly 40 percent from three-point range last season. Head coach Tom Izzo announced in early August that Allen would not be returning to the Spartans.

Allen chose the Cyclones over interest from Connecticut, Notre Dame, St. John's, UTEP, South Florida, Baylor and others. He will sit out this season, and will be eligible to play in 2011-12. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

North Florida gets a steal in Davis

North Florida head coach Matthew Driscoll has his team on the rise in the Atlantic Sun, but he had a prayer answered on Wednesday: Jacoby Davis committed to the Ospreys.

“He called, yelled and said ‘Thank you Jesus’ and [then] coach conference [called] the entire staff on the phone and we talked, then we prayed because his prayer came through,” Davis said on Thursday.

Davis, a 6-foot-1 point guard from West Charlotte (N.C.), chose North Florida over Charleston, UNC-Asheville, Western Carolina, Northeastern and Georgia State. He also held offers from schools such as South Carolina, Ole Miss, South Florida, VCU, George Mason and Charlotte.

“I chose North Florida because I just got along with the staff real well,” Davis said. “I loved the campus and I have a chance, if I come in and work hard, I will get a lot of minutes.”

When I saw Davis play alongside incoming Wake Forest scorer J.T. Terrell at the National High School Hoops Festival in December, he was very impressive with his offensive ability. He is an excellent shooter with deep three-point range who seems like he can knock down shots from anywhere. Davis also demonstrated great ball-handling skills and beat his defender off the dribble to create plays for himself and teammates around the basket.

What impressed him most about North Florida, though, was not how his basketball prowess translated to the Ospreys’ system.

“The one thing was their academic advisor. He really stood out to me and my family,” Davis said. “Me and him stayed in contact about my academics and how to pass that SAT, and just giving me majors that I could fall back on if basketball wasn’t a choice for me.”

North Florida had a five-win increase last season, even winning five games in a row and seven of eight during one stretch. With three of its top four scorers from last season either freshmen or sophomores, the Ospreys could continue to improve in the Atlantic Sun.

Davis hopes he is part of the continued success within the program.

“I think I can come in, help with defense and just playing my game by being aggressive on offense and being a team player,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever we have to do to win and get to the Big Dance.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Johnson commits to Arizona

Nick Johnson, one of the most athletic and exciting guards in the country, committed to Arizona late Wednesday night.

 “I just felt that it was the right time,” Johnson said shortly after leaving the Wildcats’ campus and meeting with the coaches. “And my dad reassured me today that they would be behind me all the way in whatever I chose.”

He was long-thought to be an Arizona lean because of its proximity to his hometown, as well as the attention Wildcats’ coach Sean Miller showed him throughout the summer.

Despite those factors, Miller was still caught off-guard when Johnson gave him the news on Wednesday night.

“Coach Miller was so surprised,” Johnson said. “He jumped up and gave me a big hug and said this is the best surprise ever.”

Johnson is a guard from Mesa (Ariz.) who attends Findlay Prep (Nev.) and ran with the ultra-talented Oakland Soldiers on the AAU circuit.

He chose Arizona over finalists Kansas, Louisville and Arizona State.

“The relationship and how they recruited was a big thing,” Johnson said. “And just the past success with the guards.”

With Mesa being close to Tucson, one might think that location played a major factor in Johnson’s decision. However, he insists it did not make a difference.

“I mean, it really didn’t,” Johnson said. “If it was across the country with the program and same coaches, I’d be going there.”

He has the ability to be a factor at both ends of the floor, with the athleticism and aggressiveness to get to the basket and create plays for himself and his teammates. Furthermore, Johnson is one of the better defensive guards in the country, capable of being a lockdown defender in the half-court.

“I think I can make an immediate impact in my freshman year,” he said.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seagears names top four, sets visits

Although Quinn Cook’s recruitment is getting more attention nationally, his DC Assault backcourt mate is beginning to cash in on his own excellent spring and summer.

Jerome Seagears, a 6-foot-2 guard from Washington D.C. who plays at Flora McDonald Academy (N.C.), turned heads quite often at various tournaments on the AAU circuit, elevating his recruitment to new levels.

Seagears took the first step towards making a decision this past weekend, making a pair of unofficial visits to Big East campuses in New Jersey.

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

Monday, August 16, 2010

Durand Johnson commits to Pitt

When Durand Johnson announced that he trimmed his list recently, it appeared that it would only be a matter of time before he made his commitment.

Not surprisingly, Johnson committed to Pittsburgh on Monday – a school he had named as his favorite for almost one year.

“It was just a great fit for me, all-around,” Johnson said in a text message.

Johnson, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Baltimore who will play at Brewster Academy (N.H.) next season, chose the Panthers over Louisville, St. John’s, Marquette, Cincinnati and UNC-Wilmington.

“I can bring a major impact in scoring the ball,” said Johnson, who also mentioned that head coach Jamie Dixon and assistant Pat Skerry were excited about the commitment news.

Ross chooses Ohio State

LaQuinton Ross saw his stock dip somewhat in recent years, but his performance over the summer brought him back into the national picture.

On Monday, the 6-foot-7 small forward from Life Center Academy (N.J.) ended his recruitment, choosing Ohio State.

A source close to the situation informed March Madness All Season of the news, which was later confirmed by Ross via text.

He chose the Buckeyes over offers from West Virginia, Syracuse, Baylor, Connecticut, Maryland, Mississippi and Memphis.

Brown trims list to seven

Jabari Brown, one of the top unsigned guards in the country, trimmed his list to seven on Monday.

The lucky seven include Washington, California, DePaul, St. John’s, Georgia Tech, Oregon and Connecticut.

“All of them are places I think I’d fit in and have a chance to get to the NBA from,” Brown said in a text message.

Some schools that did not make the cut for Brown include Kansas, Wake Forest, Maryland, Arizona and Arizona State.

The 6-foot-5 guard from Oakland Senior (Calif.) has planned a visit to Washington for mid-September.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jack cuts list to four

Kadeem Jack’s recruitment has been widely-covered in the basketball world, dating back to his on-again, off-again decision to go to prep school.

The 6-foot-8 forward from New York eventually chose South Kent Prep (Conn.), reclassifying to the class of 2011 despite late interest from Kentucky and North Carolina.

On Sunday, he trimmed his college list to four schools: Arkansas, Miami (Fl.), Rutgers and West Virginia.

“I feel like all four schools can five me an opportunity to play right away,” Jack said in a text message.

Other schools that he left off his final list include Pittsburgh, Texas, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Kansas State and St. John’s.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Suarez goes to Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern head coach Charlton Young continues to make an impact in the Southern Conference with his recruiting.

On Thursday, Young added Rasham Suarez, a 6-foot-2 guard from Jonesboro (Ga.) who choose the Eagles over Wichita State, Northeastern, Mercer and Western Kentucky.

“I like their coaching staff and I feel like it’s going to go in the right direction and I wanna make Georgia Southern a basketball school again,” Suarez said. “And I want to put Georgia Southern on the map like [Stephen] Curry did for Davidson.”

Suarez played with the Georgia Stars on the AAU circuit, providing a consistent scoring option on the perimeter alongside Kedren Johnson and Malcolm Brogdon.

He said that his relationship with Young and his ability to be the go-to-guy for Georgia Southern were the key factors in his decision.

“I would make a lot of impact just putting all the work in the court and out of the court,” Suarez said. “And make my teammates better like I did this past season on AAU.”

Suarez is confident that the Eagles could soon be the next mid-major to be a factor on the national level.

“It’s a new era for Georgia Southern. If Butler and Davidson did it, Rasham, coach Young and Georgia Southern can do it.”

Wiltjer trims list to seven

Kyle Wiltjer has been busy this summer, but he took the first step towards advancing his recruitment on Thursday, trimming his list to seven schools.

“In no order: Gonzaga, California, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech,” Wiltjer said in a text message.

Some of the schools that he took off his list included Washington, UCLA, Virginia, Connecticut and Oregon.

The 6-foot-9 forward from Jesuit (Ore.) said style of play, recruiting class and coaching staffs were the main things that he looked to when narrowing his schools.

As for a timeline or visit schedule, Wiltjer has not made one yet.

“Don’t really have one, to be honest,” he said. “I don’t know yet.”

Wiltjer is one of the better face-up power forwards in the country, owning a solid inside-outside game that he honed while playing with the talented Oakland Soldiers on the AAU circuit this spring and summer.

Some of those Soldiers’ teammates – namely Jabari Brown and Josiah Turner – have several of the same schools as Wiltjer on their lists, but Wiltjer said it would not be much of a factor.

“It would be nice [to play with them], but we are all looking out for ourselves,” he said.

When Wiljter makes his final decision, he said that comfort with the coaches and players will be most important.

“Where I feel most comfortable,” he said. “Coaching staff, recruiting class.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

O'Bryant cuts list to seven

Johnny O’ Bryant is beginning to makes moves in his recruitment.

On Tuesday, he trimmed his list to seven schools: Alabama, Georgia Tech, LSU, Maryland, Miami (Fl.), Mississippi and Mississippi State.

The 6-foot-8 power forward from East Side (Miss.) left schools like Kansas, Kentucky and Georgetown off his list.

“Me and my people felt like they were better for me,” he said. “That’s all.”

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chris Allen visiting Iowa State

Iowa State picked up highly-touted transfer Royce White from Minnesota in July, and the Cyclones could be on their way to getting another big-time transfer.

Michigan State guard Chris Allen, who was dismissed by head coach Tom Izzo in early August, took a visit to the Ames campus Monday, according to a source.

The source also indicated that Connecticut and Notre Dame were also in the mix, while reports have stated that Allen is looking at St. John’s, UTEP, South Florida, Baylor and others.

The 6-foot-3 Allen averaged 8.3 points last season at Michigan State, shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jurkin to announce tomorrow

Rumors began swirling this afternoon about a potential announcement coming from the Team Indiana Elite duo of Hanner Parea and Peter Jurkin.

Coach Mark Adams said only Jurkin would be making his decision on Monday.

“False rumors,” Adams said regarding the Parea story. “I don’t know where it came from.”

He said the 7-foot Jurkin, from United Faith Christian Academy (N.C.), would be choosing between Indiana, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Clemson.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Top-10 Updates

With Jeff Goodman of tweeting late Thursday night that a top-10 recruit would be announcing his college decision at noon on Friday, I was forced to investigate the five uncommitted top-10 guys remaining in’s rankings: Quincy Miller, Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Adonis Thomas and Rakeem Christmas. Here is what I found:

- 6-foot-9 Rakeem Christmas was the one to announce his intentions to Goodman, as the Academy of the New Church (Pa.) big man committed to Syracuse via Skype.

“It’s a very comfortable situation for Rakeem,” said Rob Brown, Christmas’ AAU coach with Team Final.

Christmas is Syracuse’s third commit of the 2011, joining Michael Carter-Williams and Team Final teammate Trevor Cooney.

Brown said the fact that former Team Final guard Dion Waiters is joining the Orange this fall was a factor, but Cooney’s presence meant more.

“He’s best friends with Trevor Cooney,” Brown said.

Christmas, who visited the Syracuse campus last weekend, chose the Orange over Florida International, Georgetown, Florida, Oklahoma, Rutgers and Texas.

- Adonis Thomas plans to trim his list in the near future, and then plan his visits.

“We will be knocking the list down to five schools sometime this month. Probably before or after the Boost Mobile Game,” Eric Thomas, Adonis’ father, said.

Right now, the 6-foot-6 small forward from Melrose (Tenn.) has a long list of schools that includes Memphis, Tennessee, Florida, UCLA, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgetown, Florida State and Cincinnati, according to his father.

There are no plans to commit anytime soon.

“I don’t think so,” Adonis Thomas said.

- Quincy Miller has a long way to go before making a commitment, according to sources.

“No time soon, family decision along with Brian Clifton,” a source said. “He will decide either November or April.”

The 6-foot-9 forward is rumored to be leaning towards Louisville, although Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, Ohio State, Baylor and others are also in the mix.

- Anthony Davis was in the news often this week, as the Chicago Sun-Times published a report linking Davis to Kentucky and a six-figure payday from the Wildcats.

His official decision will come towards the end of the month, though.

“His decision will be made public in the next 2-3 weeks,” said Jevon Mamon, a coach with Davis’ Meanstreets AAU team.

Mamon added that they are not sure how Davis will announce his decision just yet. The 6-foot-10 forward is choosing between Kentucky, DePaul, Syracuse and Ohio State.

- Austin Rivers is likely headed to Duke, but we will have a complete story on him next week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tebbutt's injury slows recruitment

One of the most impressive players we watched at the Tournament of Champions in North Carolina at the end of May was Jordan Tebbutt.

The 6-foot-5 small forward from Tualatin (Ore.) was quickly rising up the rankings, before suffering a thumb injury that kept him out for most of the July live period.

Unfortunately, he will now be out an additional eight weeks, as his father informed me on Thursday that Tebbutt will have surgery on his hand tomorrow to repair a Bennett’s Fracture in his right hand.

“He’s already talking about left-hand drills and general conditioning,” Brad Tebbutt said. “I’m just glad he has a positive attitude on it.”

Despite teams not being able to see Jordan on the AAU circuit during the second half of July, his recruiting has nonetheless cast a wide net. He currently holds offers from USC, UCLA, Arizona, San Francisco, Portland, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State and Virginia, with strong interest from Maryland, Texas, California, Arizona State and Colorado.

Furthermore, two national powers are beginning to inquire about the powerful West Coast scorer.

“North Carolina and Kansas came to watch this summer, but got to see him injured on the bench,” Brad Tebbutt said. “But they are showing interest.”

St. Joe's picks up first 2011 recruit

When watching the CP3 All-Stars on the AAU circuit this past spring and summer, the multitude of high-major players stand out.

Dezmine Wells (Richmond) and P.J. Hairston (North Carolina) are top-50 players, Bishop Daniels and Jacob Lawson are two more top-125 guys, while Joseph Uchebo (North Carolina State) and Marquis Rankin (Virginia Tech) are also going to ACC schools. Throw in Rodney Purvis, a top-three prospect in 2013, and you had one of the most explosive club teams around.

The player who made the team run like clockwork, however, was a less-heralded prospect – point guard Chris Wilson. The 6-foot-3 Terry Sanford (N.C.) product is a strong lefty who ran the offense, controlled the tempo and facilitated fast breaks. He is also a tough defender who can get into the lane against opponents. Without him leading the way, CP3 would not have played to its potential.

On Wednesday, Wilson ended his recruitment by choosing Saint Joseph’s over Old Dominion, Stanford, Winthrop, Tennessee and Davidson.

“I loved the academics, the smaller campus environment,” he told me Thursday. “[I have] an opportunity to come in and lead a team in a great league. And really the chance to compete for A-10 championships year in and year out while playing for a great coach.”

Wilson is the first 2011 recruit for head coach Phil Martelli, who is welcoming an outstanding recruiting class this fall. C.J. Aiken, Langston Galloway, Daryus Quarles and Ronald Roberts are all high-level players who could play in most leagues around the country.

For Wilson, leading his CP3 team will help him mesh with the talent he will be surrounded with in Philadelphia.

““It greatly prepared me,” he said. “To play with D-1 talent every game really gets you ready.”

Moreover, the same humble attitude he had with his AAU team will be needed in the Atlantic-10. While he might not get as many points or highlights as some other players, his unselfishness will be a key for the Hawks.

Wilson knows he will have to defer to others in order to be successful at Saint Joseph’s; he is only concerned with winning.

“I think I have the chance to make a big impact,” he said. “But I’m not really focused on my individual impact; I’m focusing on helping St. Joe’s get back to the top and compete for A-10 championships and make tournament runs.”

Wilson said that his relationship with Martelli and the way he fit into the Hawks’ system put them over the edge. Not surprisingly, the head coach is looking forward to having Wilson on his team.

“[He was] excited, I guess you could say,” Wilson said. “He told me that I brought leadership and presence at the point guard position he needs. And that he’s excited to coach me.”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Durand Johnson trims list, has Pitt on top

Durand Johnson is making moves in his recruitment and on the move for his final year in high school.

The 6-foot-7 swingman from Baltimore announced Wednesday that he would be attending Brewster Academy (N.H.) after playing at Lake Clifton (Md.) last season.

Also on Wednesday, Johnson trimmed his college list to five – with an asterisk, though.

“It’s Pitt, Marquette, Louisville, St. John’s and Seton Hall, but my fifth is still in the air,” he said.

Johnson, who ran on the AAU circuit with Cecil Kirk, said Florida State, Cincinnati, DePaul, South Florida, Providence and Virginia are also in the mix for the final spot on his top-five list.

While he does not have any visits set just yet, there is one school that is currently standing out to Johnson.

“Pittsburgh,” he said. “It’s a perfect fit!”

This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Johnson’s recruitment, as he has kept the Panthers at the top of his list since visiting their campus last October.

Top-five recruit Josh Selby overshadowed Johnson at Lake Clifton last season, but he has turned some heads with his performance on the AAU and camp circuit this summer.

Johnson is not content to rest on his laurels, though.

“[My stock] should rise more,” he said. “I should be a top 50 kid.

“I’m a 6-7 scorer. I can do it all. I can play all three positions and get my teammates involved. I’m a threat; every time I played this summer, I made things happen for my team – and teams played me in a box-and-one.”

Johnson points specifically to a time last summer when he went up against incoming North Carolina freshman Reggie Bullock. According to Johnson, he scored 28, while holding Bullock to no more than 16 points.

This year, he feels he has outplayed nearly everyone he has faced.

“I killed a lot of guys, I can’t really remember names.”

Sampson favoring St. John's?

LeBron James was not the only the St. Vincent-St. Mary product with a big decision on his hands lately.

Rising senior Jakarr Sampson, from the same high school as James, has seen his recruitment expand as he shoots up the national rankings, but he could be closer to narrowing his school list.

Despite that, a report Monday morning claiming that Sampson had named three favorites is false, according to Sampson and his AAU coach with the King James Shooting Stars, Donald Anderson.

“No I don’t have a top three yet,” Sampson told me Monday.

With that said, he is indeed mapping out which schools to visit in the fall.

“He plans on visiting Baylor, St. John’s, Kansas, Louisville . . . and [we] haven’t chosen the fifth school yet,” Anderson said Wednesday morning.

In the mix for that final trip are Michigan State, Tennessee and Miami (Fl.).

Although both claim that there is not a top three, Sampson gave a hint as to who might be the frontrunner right now.

“If I did have a top 3, St. John’s would be number one,” he said.

Added Anderson: “St. John’s is up there.”

One issue surrounding the 6-foot-7 swingman is his academic situation; many people on the recruiting circuit have questioned whether he will be eligible as a college freshman in 2011.

Anderson attempted to put those rumors to rest.

“He is good academically,” he said. “That’s why some of the bigger schools jumped in.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hinds narrows list to 7

Although it is a down year for basketball in the Big Apple, being the best player in New York is still an honor. This year, the honor belongs to Jabarie Hinds.

The 5-foot-11 point guard from Mount Vernon (N.Y.) has seen a host of schools get involved in his recruitment over the past few months, and he decided to take the first step towards reaching a decision by trimming his list to seven on Tuesday.

Hinds has narrowed it down to Oklahoma State, UNLV, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Connecticut, Cincinnati and Miami (Fl.).

“I felt those schools were giving me the most interest and they are good schools,” he told me on Tuesday. “I decided now because I’m planning on signing before the season.”

At this point, the only schools that are locks to get visits are Oklahoma State and UNLV, but he insists they are not the frontrunners.

“Nah, not favorites,” Hinds said.

Jack not ready to trim list

Rumors surfaced Monday night that reclassed 2011 forward Kadeem Jack would be cutting his list on Tuesday.

However, Jack told me via text that it was not happening just yet.

“No I have no idea who said that, but I’m doing it August 15,” he said.

Jack is a 6-foot-8 New York native who will attend South Kent (Conn.) next season. He currently holds offers from Arkansas, Miami (Fl.), Cincinnati, Xavier, Rutgers, Connecticut, St. John’s, Kansas State and Pittsburgh, with interest from Texas, Kansas, Florida, North Carolina and Kentucky. 

Mbargorba making a move?

Although 7-footer Blaise Mbargorba is not close to making a college choice, he is on the verge of reaching a decision regarding his desination next season.

“I think I’m gonna reclassify to 2012,” Mbargorba said in a text on Tuesday. “Just to have one more year to really develop my game and be ready for college.”

He attended St. Benedict’s (N.J.) last season but is looking elsewhere for 2010-11. He is not ready to reveal it just yet.

“I’m waiting to hear back from the school and I’ll let you know,” Mbargorba said.

In terms of colleges, he told me in June that Virginia Tech is his favorite, but Boston College, Georgetown, Providence and Columbia are also showing interest.