Monday, August 31, 2009

12 @ 12:

There was a great Washington Post story published last week and it generated a lot of discussion in the .com recruiting world.

I’m glad it did.

I’ve long been on the side that believes the .com world is quickly becoming one of the most corrupt and disturbing arenas of new media. It is a growing industry with that has the same inviting welcome as car dealers. No credit(-ability)? No problem. We take all comers.

If you have a computer, welcome to the wide world of Internet recruiting coverage.

Because of that, we’ve seen an overabundance of information regarding teenage kids. The .com recruiting industry has exploded over the last ten years and because of that, we’ve seen changes for good and bad.

As the Washington Post story dictates, there are some “reporters” that toe the line between information providers and go between for college coaches and prospects.

Several programs have been affected by super fan reporters. Every school that is relevant has them. There are some team site guys that do it the right way. They know how to stay out of the story. In fact, there are more quality team site reporters out there than there are bad ones. The .com industry shouldn’t be pigeon holed because of the actions of a few.

Most basketball coaches aren’t cheating, adulterous drunks either. But we certainly hear about them more than the good guys. It’s the nature of the business, I suppose.

However, college coaches are usually behind the scenes working their persuasive magic on super fans.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a college coach say, “When you talk to John Smith, make sure you let him know that we love him.” Coach, truth be told, I don’t care that you love him. I really don’t. Why don’t you tell him that within the rules which you work by?

The truth of the matter is some college coaches feel like they can manipulate media members, or super fans or whatever you want to call a lot of .com reporters, into giving recruits sales pitches. It’s disturbing.

I understand why the NCAA tried to establish a rule this summer that basically said members of the media can not sit and/or talk with college coaches. The rule was to eliminate conversations that usually involved the coach asking a reporter something like this: “Can you find out what Joe Player is thinking for me? Can you let him know that we are interested? Can you ask him what he thinks of our player?”

I get the rule. I don’t like the proposed rule but I get it. The NCAA tried to stop the go betweens. The effort was noted but it will be hard to truly enforce.

If I were a parent, coach or a player that was in the position where interviews would happen, I would be very picky about who spoke to me, my son or one of the players on my team.

My short list of approved people to talk to include: Dave Telep (, Jerry Meyer (, Rob Harrington (Prep Stars), Evan Daniels (, Eric Bossi (, Patrick Stanwood (the best free-lancer in the business), Thom Jones (TJ Hoops), Brian Snow ( and Joel Francisco (ESPN).

That’s it. There are certainly plenty of other guys in the .com world that you can feel comfortable with to talk to but these guys have zero agenda. They have been covering the recruiting scene for quite some time. That’s the key. Sorry newbies. It’s just hard to trust you right now. I’ve seen guys come and go. I’ve seen the next .com sensation rise and fall in less than a season.

My background is in journalism. That’s what I went to school for. That’s what my educational training is for. I’ve been a beat reporter, a columnist, a sports editor and an editor-in-chief.

As someone that values the media much more than basketball, I hope that the .com industry can improve upon it’s reporting standards. I hope we see less fandom and more integrity and common sense.

With that being said, here are 12 words of advice for team site “reporters” and/or those new to the .com recruiting world.

1. Never say “We” when talking about the team you are lucky enough to cover.
2. If you are writing a story about a player named John Smith, never call him John in your story. Always call him Smith. Not only is it the proper way to write (and why don’t you own an AP style book) but it takes away the appearance of super fandom.
3. Don’t cheer from press row. But you probably knew that already.
4. Don’t take pictures with coaches and/or players.
5. Don’t wear any clothing related to the school that you cover for.
6. Think before you type.
7. It’s okay to admit when you are wrong.
8. If you are new to interviewing, use a recorder.
9. Don’t fix quotes to help make your story read the way you want it to read.
10. Read, read, read.
11. Learn to listen.
12. Understand you have one of the best jobs on the planet. Don’t do anything to remove yourself from that.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just a Minute with Aran Smith of

When it comes to the NBA Draft and projecting who goes where, no one does it better than Aran Smith of Smith is one of the pioneers in Internet based basketball coverage. He started in 2000 and has grown his site into a global sensation. Full disclaimer: I worked for Smith (pictured above with Dwight Howard in China) for two years on the site before joining the network.

Why is everyone so excited about Enes Kanter? And why is everyone making it such a big deal about his arrival to the American prep scene? Is he as good as advertised?

“He’s really advanced for a player his age. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that is age is not legit but I think it’s good. If that’s the case, he’s only 17. Regardless, he’s really advanced for a guy his age. He put up crazy stats in the European under 18s and he’s been doing that for a couple of years now. He’s really long. He’s really skilled. He has a high motor. He knows how to score and he knows how to play. It was surprising that he came over to the U.S. to play to play high school and likely college ball. He’s basically passing up getting paid good money for the next three years in a top European league. It’s surprising that he’s putting himself in a position where he could get exposed against more athletic players on U.S. soil. There is the thought that some would say, ‘Why not stay in Europe, stay away from that kind of exposure and get paid?’ I actually like the move. It’s smart. I think it makes the level of competition rise up a little. I think the Europeans that come over actually develop their skills better because they are playing against the best in the world. He’ll have good competition in practice and Findlay plays a good schedule. He’s a really skilled. I anticipate him getting to college and making an impact right away. He’s not particularly athletic or quick by NBA standards. He’s more of a finesse guy. He’s more in the mold of Mehmet Okur, a skilled big guy that can shoot. That’s how I see him. I think in this really weak high school class, I think he’s a top five, top ten level guy.”

Do you think we’ll see more of this – Europeans coming to the United States? We’ve seen Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler leave the U.S. and go to Europe but will we see more Europeans come here?

“I think so. I really do. You’ll always have some guys that struggle to get eligible. I think that is a flaw with the whole system. You see that now with Derrick Rose at Memphis. He wasn’t able to pass the SAT. Him going to school and playing that year was the best thing for him so you can argue that someone cheating and possibly taking that test was the best thing for Derrick Rose. It’s set up in the system that we live in for a player of Derrick Rose’s caliber that can’t pass the SAT his options are go over to Europe, cheat or sit out a year. It’s unfortunate in some ways with the system and the way it is set up. It forces a lot of shady stuff to go on…I think every year we’ll see a couple of players going over there. I don’t think it will get out of control but I also think it will continue with guys that are looking to get paid when they can’t get eligible. I just think there are some road blocks. Jeremy Tyler is only making about 150 thousand. That’s substantially less than what Brandon Jennings made. I think for the most part, European teams, unless it is a guy that can fill some seats which Jennings didn’t do, what does that player bring to the team? Jennings, as great as he is, he didn’t really bring that much to the table for the Italian team he played for. It’s just difficult for a player of that age to go to Europe and be that key player. On that level, European teams aren’t going to be paying for a kid to come over.”

Does anyone get you excited in the class of 2010 if you are a NBA team?

“I really like Harrison Barnes. He can basically go wherever he wants. He has a good head on his shoulders. I think he still has a lot of upside that he can develop and I think he’s a really smart player. You don’t really see a lot of guys at his age to have that cerebral of a game that he has. He has an unselfish game and he’s all about getting everyone else better. He makes all of the right plays. I think he is a guy that has a real chance to be a real nice NBA player. I think you can say right now that he’s a sure fire pro guy.

“Next, I think Perry Jones is the other guy that has a lot of upside in the class. He may have the most upside. He has a lot further to go. He has to develop his killer instinct and develop his skills a lot further. But his length, athleticism, quickness and raw potential, he’s a really intriguing prospect as well.

“I think that class has two players that can develop into superstar type of guys. There are a number of guys that are further away and have a nice upside to them.”

Here we are in 2010 and we have just two sure fire guys. Two, three, four years ago, that wasn’t the case. We were looking at a dozen sure fire guys. What happened? Did we just go through a run of just incredible players at the high school level?

“I think the class of 2007 was amazing. You look at all of the title game of the Reebok even in Vegas and you have Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Renardo Sidney, Brandon Jennings and so many guys. That’s ridiculous. You just don’t see that anymore to have that many sure fire pros in one game. It’s just not going to happen. It is sort of an anomaly. Then you look at this year there really isn’t much depth. Once you get to 10, it’ is an incredibly weak class. After I left the Pangos (All-American camp in June) camp and I saw Harrison Barnes, I kept asking myself if he was really the only sure fire pro in this class. You can’t expect a great class every year. This current senior class is just very weak.”

Have you had a chance to dive into the underclassmen very much, particularly the class of 2011?

“I have a little bit. I think you have a lot of maybes there as well. There is nobody really standing out at the top. Michael Gilchrist has a lot of upside but he still has a long ways to go. You can’t really say anyone in that class is really a sure fire NBA superstar yet. It’s more like a class of guys with potential that have a lot of work to do. I like the class and it has more upside than the 2010 class. But there aren’t any sure fire bets. I like Rakeem Christmas a little bit. I like Gilchrist a little bit. I like Austin Rivers a little bit. But they have work to do. I think Harrison Barnes has developed into that. I think he’s put in the work to say that he’s a sure fire guy no matter what. With 2011, you just have to wait and see.”

Allow me to theorize here for a bit. Are we seeing a dumbing down of the high ceiling theory of prospects now that kids have to go to college for at least a year now? You look at a guy like Gerald Green. Was his upside considered higher because he was coming out of high school? But in today’s game where he has to go to college for at least one year, is he viewed differently as a prospect? Are players being viewed differently because they have to go to college for one year?

“That’s interesting. I think that players have a little bit longer to develop and the hype isn’t as big as it used to be because there is no pressure about being a preps to pros guy. I think maybe the excitement about the guys that would go straight to the pros, you may not see that hype around them as much anymore, sure. All the pro teams needed to know more about the high school guys much more back in the day when guys like LeBron James were coming up. I think now that they have a year to watch in college, you have that urgency is lessened to a degree. I don’t think the players aren’t trying as hard. There could be something to that though. These players aren’t playing for a contract in high school the way they once were. When guys like Tyson Chandler were in high school, they were essentially in a contract year as a senior in high school. I think that is one of the positives of the rule. Kids can now have a full high school experience. The one and done kids have positives and negatives to it. But the positives include spending one year, at least, in college.”

What is your take on the one year minimum in college rule?

“I kind of like the rule the way it is now. I know a lot of people feel like the rule needs to be two years. Some think the rule doesn’t need to exist. I was always of the opinion that if guys can serve our country at 18, they should be able to play basketball or whatever sport they want for a living. Then again, the NBA is a private league and you are better off having kids that can come in and contribute in games than you are having that kid filling a roster spot and learning on the fly as a practice dummy that is taking a veteran’s pay check. The NBA scouts have a little easier job now. There are no Ndudi Ebis anymore and come out of high school and are getting taken over Josh Howard. They are still projects after one year of college but at least they have that one year of college to get them better and figure them out. NBA teams are making better decisions and that is what needed to happen. It’s better for the league. But then you do have that drawback like I mentioned earlier with guys that are forced to go to college like Derrick Rose. It does create a strange environment for the colleges where you have kids there now that were forced to be there. I tend to think that the rule is a good one. You only have a few guys where the rule really affects them. For a lot of kids that think they are a one and done type of player, they get to college and realize that they have work to do.”

You seemed to be way ahead of the curve on spending resources and identifying international talent. It seems like the last couple of years that teams have scaled back on picking players from the international scene. What is your view where the international kids are being viewed at by the NBA guys right now and what made you have the foresight back in 2000 to really uncover the international prospect base?

“International scouting has been huge for our site. Of course, you may not have a Dirk Nowitzki out there anymore but you do have guys that come in and are big factors with teams every year. Basketball has become global and every team has an international player that is a factor. Tony Parker, Manu Ginoboli, Andreas Bargnani, the list goes on. I think to some degree that there was a big push for teams to go after foreign guys after Dirk. And a lot of players were overrated and overvalued like Darko Milicic. I think the real importance is being able to see both sides. You have a lot of scouts that just see the international players. If you can see both sides and compare and contrast you can say, ‘How will this guy fit into the NBA and how will he fit into this draft?’ A good example is Nic Batum. He falls to the 24th pick and then you have Danilo Gallinari going at six. It’s pretty clear that Batum should have gone that high and Gallinari, with all of his injury concerns, should have slipped into the later part of the first round. Getting over and seeing these guys and getting as much exposure as possible with them and talking to them is all part of getting a better grasp of what kind of player they can be at the NBA level. It’s tricky. The real challenge is plugging the players into the NBA after being so indoctrinated with the European style of play. It’s a matter of being able to figure out the jigsaw puzzle.”

Who are the five guys that are at the top of your board as we enter the college basketball season?

“John Wall is not a sure fire first overall pick by any stretch of the imagination but I think at this point he is the odds on favorite because of what he brings to the table – his dynamic athleticism, his quickness, his ability to become a better point guard. If you look at the success Derrick Rose had in that system and the similarity with their two games only helps Wall. I think when you look at the returning NCAA guys, there are a lot of guys that have some intrigue.

“I really like Ed Davis. I’d like to see how his body has developed over the summer. I think playing behind Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson last year was good for him. Davis was just an energy guy and wasn’t really asked to do too much. Having seen him in high school, I think he has a lot of offensive skill that people don’t know about yet. I think he has a real chance to break out offensively and score 18 to 20 points a game. I could be wrong. Maybe he isn’t there yet. Maybe he needs more time. I really anticipate a big year from him. His defense, his athleticism, his length and his potential makes him a guy that could be the number one pick as well.

“You look at guys like Derrick Favors, who has a ton of length and athleticism, is another guy that you’d have to look at for the number one pick. I think he is further away than the other two. His offensive game needs some work. We’ll see what happens when the season comes along.

“Cole Aldrich is another guy that you’ll have to watch. Then there is a guy from Lithuania that people are going to need to watch named Donatas Motiejunas. I really like him, too. He has a nice combination of offensive game, size and agility and quickness. Those are the guys you’ll want to watch for the top five. And there will certainly be some guys that creep up and blow up that have big years.”

Speaking of guys that can blow up, who are some of those guys that you feel like you beat the curve on. Looking back, who are some of the guys that you feel like you beat everyone to the punch?

“Every year man! (laughing) We were on top of Derrick Rose way back when. We were in Vegas and a lot of the competition was there, too, and a lot of people had him around seven or eight. We had Rose and Michael Beasley right there at one and two. That’s where they ended up going and we had that two years before they were drafted. Nobody really knew about Nene and we put him into the top ten after seeing him in international competition. A year and a half before Blake Griffin was the number one pick, I can remember some of the draft experts had him in the 30-40 range on their big board. In the first year I did this in 2000, Kenyon Martin sustained his leg injury and was out the whole season and we had him number one even after that. People dropped him but we stuck with him. Let’s see, who else? Russell Westbrook. Not too many people saw him as a high level pick and we put him up there really high. We had Yao Ming number one all along. There were a lot of coaches and scouts that raved about him and we went on their good word. A lot of people wondered aloud about how good a Chinese player could be in the NBA. We saw him, we liked him and we were blown away. I thought he was the real deal.”

Archived Just a Minutes:

Jody Demling, Louisville Courier-Journal
Jeff Goodman, Fox Sports
Rob Harrington, Prep Stars
Jerry Meyer,
Dave Telep,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Incoming: ACC reloads with stars

The ACC is reloading with top tier talent. The incoming freshman class boasts nine McDonald’s All-Americans, the most of all of the conferences. In the first of our conference preview of the newcomers, we break down the classes, the top players, the superlatives and much more.


1. Georgia Tech – Big time class led by big time player in Derrick Favors. Interior depth was addressed and point guard Mfon Udofia should play a major role early.

2. North Carolina – The Tar Heels have long term depth coming to Chapel Hill and one of the most intriguing prospects in the nation in John Henson.

3. Duke – Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee give the team size and versatility while Andre Dawkins could be a star sooner than later.

4. Clemson – Milton Jennings and Noel Johnson are starter-ready players that should help out considerably.

5. N.C. State – Richard Howell should see plenty of playing time because of his versatility. Scott Wood’s shooting will be a much needed facet to the team, too.

6. Miami – Guard Durand Scott has star potential for the ‘Canes while Garrius Adams could be the top incoming sleeper in the ACC.

7. Florida State – Don’t be surprised if Michael Snaer leads the ACC in scoring before he leaves college. The California kid can flat out score.

8. Wake Forest – Athletic wing Ari Stewart has star potential while local product C.J. Harris could develop into a solid four-year contributor.

9. Maryland – Jordan Williams and James Padgett are ideal Gary Williams power forwards. Williams is a skilled post while Padgett brings high-energy to the rotation.

10. Virginia – Tony Bennett will love the versatility of Tristan Spurlock and the speed and defense of point guard Jontel Evans.

11. Virginia Tech – Cadarian Raines has the tools to develop into a major contributor while the rest of the class adds to the backcourt depth.

12. Boston College - The Eagles did not sign a player in 2009.

Best perimeter scorer: Michael Snaer, Florida State
Best low post scorer: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Best passer: Richard Howell, NC State
Best shooter: Scott Wood, NC State
Best rebounder: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Best shot-blocker: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Best defender: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Most versatile: Glen Rice, Georgia Tech
Best basketball IQ: Ryan Kelly, Duke
Best pro prospect: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Best speed: Jontel Evans, Virginia
Best motor: Terrence Shannon, Florida State
Best strength: Devin Booker, Clemson
Best leaper: Ari Stewart, Wake Forest
Best toughness: Durand Scott, Miami
Best leader: Mfon Udofia, Georgia Tech
Impact player: Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech
Biggest sleeper: Cadarian Raines, Virginia Tech
Sleeper class: Miami


1. Derrick Favors matters to Georgia Tech. No question about that. He’s the premiere player coming into the conference and the Jackets need a player to go to. But with Gani Lawal returning and Zach Peacock back for his senior season, Favors won’t have to be the go-to guy. Keep an eye on Mfon Udofia, the incoming point guard. He’s the one that will change the mindset of the team. His toughness, his approach, his leadership and his ability to run a team is what lacked from last year’s dismal season. Udofia will be the freshman that means the most to Georgia Tech this year.

2. North Carolina’s incoming freshman class is a lot like Duke recruiting classes that have doomed the Blue Devils of late. Sure, John Henson is a star. He’s a superstar in the making. His approach is like Kevin Durant’s and so is his upside. But outside of Henson, the cupboards are looking bare in the long term. Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald and the Wear twins – David and Travis – are all great four-year players. However, individually speaking, the new Tar Heels don’t have the star power that most UNC faithful are used to. This class won’t keep Roy Williams in the Final Four but with other classes, the team should remain in the hunt for conference titles.

3. Clemson’s class is overlooked in 2009. Both Noel Johnson and Milton Jennings will play large roles in the Tigers’ run back to the NCAA tournament. The duo fit the mold of player that has shined under the direction of Oliver Purnell. Don’t be surprised to see the two average double digit points as rookies. Devin Booker, the younger brother of senior star Trevor Booker, gives the frontline some muscle and toughness down low. Donte Hill, a versatile guard, will play a role during his career much like other guards have in the past for the Tigers.


Noel Johnson was all set to make the move across the country from Atlanta to Los Angeles to play for Tim Floyd at Southern Cal. Johnson, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard, was signed, sealed and ready to deliver for the Trojans.

Then came the O.J. Mayo scandal. Floyd was out and Johnson was looking for a new college home. Bye-bye tacos and hello smoked barbecue. Johnson is now headed to Clemson.

Duke was in desperate need of backcourt help in the 2009 recruiting class. And in June, the Blue Devils didn’t look like they would have the answers. That meant Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer would log big time minutes this season. The duo will still play all the time but they’ll have help.

Enter Andre Dawkins. Originally slotted for the class of 2010, the Virginia native finished his class work early much like Daniel Hackett did two summers ago to enroll at Southern Cal early. Dawkins gives Duke an athletic wing that can flat out shoot. The team’s backcourt needed that in a big way.


It seems like N.C. State has been searching for a solution at the point guard position since the turn of the century. Several players have assumed the role but few have been able to deliver results.

Wolfpack head coach Sidney Lowe was hoping to rely on the services of Lorenzo Brown, a 6-foot-4 scoring point guard from Roswell (Ga.) Centennial High School, this fall. Not so much. Brown failed to obtain the necessary scores to be admitted into N.C. State. Instead he will spend the 2009-2010 year at Hargrave Military Academy.

Brown’s loss is a huge blow to N.C. State not only this year but next year as well. Brown and fellow Georgian Ryan Harrow will join the team. Both are certainly talented enough but Lowe would certainly like some experience at the point instead of using two unproven ACC rookies.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

12 @ 12: Randomness

There is no rhyme or reason for today’s 12 at 12. If you are looking for a theme or a countdown of the top players in North Dakota, isn’t happening. Not today. It’s a mish-mash of items. Enjoy.

1. The Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase is back. Mark the date down – October 17. This year’s star-studded event will be held at New Birth Missionary Church once again in Lithonia, Georgia.

We’ve had over 80 players participate in the camp that have gone on to play Division I basketball. Some of the notable players that have participated include: J.J. Hickson (N.C. State/Cleveland Cavaliers), Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech), Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech), Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest), Chris Allen (Michigan State), Chris Singleton (Florida State) and many more.

This year’s event should be our best one to date. Former University of Georgia interim head coach Pete Hermann is our lead instructor for this year’s camp. With nearly 30 years of experience, Hermann is considered one of the premiere teachers of the game in the college ranks.

Our staff also includes current NBDL coaches, former Division I coaches, former NBA players and the top high school basketball coaches in Georgia.

If you would like to be considered for an invitation to the camp, please email me at

2. I’ve fallen in love with the new database and player profiles. Very classy stuff from the guys in Sunnyvale, California and Brentwood, Tennessee. Check out the “View results on map” feature. There isn’t a better search feature for players on the Internet than the updated version of the database.

3. So Memphis had it’s Final Four erased from the history books. Whoop-dee-do. The NCAA continues to miss the boat with punishments of transgressions in the past.

Andy Katz documented the "banner ban" in a recent article on According to the article, UMass still has the Final Four banner and trophy displayed on campus. Of course they do.

What should happen, but never will, is this: replace Final Four banners, conference banners, etc. with banners that read “WE CHEATED – 2008.” If you want to erase history, explain why. Hold the school accountable.

Or hit the coaches where it hurts ‘em. Make the punishment follow them wherever they go. Kelvin Sampson will likely be left on the outside looking in as a NBA coach. All he did was make too many phone calls. Worse things happen. Just ask Derrick Rose. Or the guy that took his SAT test.

It took Todd Bozeman over 10 years to get back in the game, going from the limelight of Cal to the no light of Morgan State.

John Calipari won’t be punished. You see the NCAA, the biggest hypocrites in all of sport, need Calipari. He’s the head coach at the biggest cash cow in of college basketball. That’s what makes the Memphis-Derrick Rose story so sickening. Calipari will have to answer some tough questions in the here and the now but come November, he’ll field questions about whether or not he can get back to the Final Four. And he’ll bring in millions of dollars into the college game. Think the NCAA wants to keep him away from that when all they have to do is say, “We’ll just take away his history.”

That’s the easy route.

4. I’m writing a column regarding the Washington Post story that came out earlier in the week. Good chance I don’t make many friends with it.

5. Get better Michael Beasley.

6. I’m looking forward to reading the reports from the Louisiana Select Fall Workout. Event organizer Mike Theus is one of the best guys in the grassroots world and Louisiana is one of the best states in the country for undiscovered national prospects. Suffice it to say, at least two players will go from “must see” players for low-major schools to “must see this fall” players for high-major schools.

7. My mother always said never trust a man that has three first names. St. John’s doesn’t know my mother. That’s why they are issuing a media credential to Peter Robert Casey.

And he won’t even be writing a story. He’ll be tweeting at St. John’s basketball games. It’s a fascinating first step in New Media. Casey has been invited to come to every Johnnies game and say basically whatever he wants from media row. I wonder how the NYC hoops media will treat him at games.

If any school wants me to “tweet” from their games this year, let me know. Move over mysterious Peter Robert Casey.

8. How about a little self-promotion? I’d like to get to 500 followers by Sunday night. Help me out? Follow me on Twitter.

9. I’m still confused about Austin Rivers being committed to Florida but still wanting to visit other schools. Either you are committed or not. Either you are married or you aren’t. You can’t have the best of both worlds. If you are committed, why visit other schools? If you want to visit other schools, publicly state you would like to visit other schools as a recruitable athlete and include Florida in your visit plans. Or just cancel the non Florida visits all together.

10. Nevada freshman-to-be Devonte Elliot did not receive the necessary test score to enroll this fall. That's important to note because the 6-foot-9 forward has the tools to be the next player from the Reno school to go under-recruited to potentially a big-time college career. New Nevada head coach David Carter said he hopes Elliot and freshman Jerry Evans will be eligible by the spring semester.

11. I could use some help with a Fantasy Football team name. Any suggestions?

12. This kid never had a chance. And his parents shouldn't be crying about their son's future in the slammer. His destiny is close to being fulfilled.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

12 @ 12: Top dozen in California


1. Michael Snaer, SG, Rancho Verde FLORIDA STATE (pictured)
2. Renardo Sidney, PF, Fairfax MISSISSIPPI STATE
3. Jordan Hamilton, SF, Dominguez TEXAS
4. Solomon Hill, Fairfax ARIZONA
5. Kawhi Leonard, SF, Martin Luther King SAN DIEGO STATE
6. Tyler Honeycutt, SF, Sylmar UCLA
7. Hollis Thompson, SF, De La Salle GEORGETOWN
8. Brendan Lane, PF, Rocklin UCLA
9. David Wear, PF, Mater Dei NORTH CAROLINA
10. Roberto Nelson, SG, Santa Barbara OREGON STATE
11. Jared Cunningham, PG, San Leandro OREGON STATE
12. Travis Wear, PF, Mater Dei NORTH CAROLINA


1. Angelo Chol, PF San Diego Hoover, 2011
2. Keala King, PG, Compton Dominguez, 2010
3. Gary Franklin, Jr., SG, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 2010
4. Tyler Lamb, SG, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 2010 UCLA
5. DeAndre Daniels, PF, Woodland Hills Taft, 2011 TEXAS
6. Anthony Brown, SF, Huntington Beach Ocean View, 2010
7. Norvell Pelle, PF, Compton Dominguez, 2011
8. Xavier Johnson, SF, Temecula Chaparral, 2012
9. Bryce Jones, SG, Woodland Hills Taft, 2010
10. Desmond Simmons, SF, Richmond Salesian, 2010 WASHINGTON
11. James Johnson, PF, Wildomar Elsinore, 2010
12. Richard Solomon, PF, Torrance Bishop Montgomery, 2010 CAL

Monday, August 24, 2009

12 @ 12: Top dozen in Texas


1. Tommy Mason-Griffin, PG, Madison OKLAHOMA (pictured)
2. Ray Penn, SG, Bush OKLAHOMA STATE
3. Nolan Dennis, SG, Richland BAYLOR
4. Cory Jefferson, C, Killeen BAYLOR
5. Shawn Williams, PF, Duncanville TEXAS
6. Junior Cadougan, PG, Christian Life MARQUETTE
7. Roger Franklin, SF, Duncanville OKLAHOMA STATE
8. Ray Turner, PF, Houston Jesse Jones TEXAS A&M
9. Erik Williams, SF, Cypress Springs MARQUETTE
10. Nick Russell, PG, Arlington Grace Prep KANSAS STATE
11. Jamaal Fenton, PG, Houston Chavez NEW MEXICO
12. Tim Frazier, PG, Houston Strake Jesuit PENN STATE


1. Perry Jones, PF, Duncanville, 2010 BAYLOR
2. Tony Mitchell, PF, Dallas Pinkston, 2010
3. LeBryan Nash, SF, Dallas Lincoln, 2011
4. Cameron Clark, SF, Sherman, 2010
5. Isaiah Austin, C, Arlington Grace Prep, 2012
6. L.J. Rose, PG, Houston Second Baptist, 2012
7. J-Mychael Reese, PG, Bryan, 2012
8. Sheldon McClellan, SG, Houston Bellaire, 2011 TEXAS
9. Winston Sheppard, SF, Missouri City Hightower, 2012
10. Phil Pressey, PG, Episcopal School Of Dallas, 2010
11. Michael Cobbins, PF, Amarillo Palo Duro, 2010
12. Jamal Branch, PG, Arlington Grace Prep, 2011 TEXAS A&M

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nation's number one down to six

The nation’s top player has moved his recruitment to the next level.

Harrison Barnes trimmed his school list to six programs. Now the Ames (Iowa) High School star hopes to find the one that fits him the best.

Barnes said he is considering North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma, UCLA and Iowa State.

“I have contacted schools not on this list to thank them for recruiting me,” Barnes said in email to the National Hoops Report.

Barnes also said he will visit every school expect Iowa State officially. The Cyclones will host the local star unofficially. The only official visit that he is locked up is a trip to Chapel Hill to see the Tar Heels on Sept. 4. Duke, he says, will get a visit on either Oct. 16 or Oct. 23.

“The other visits are to be determined,” he said.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a Minute with Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier-Journal

Jody Demling started with the Louisville Courier-Journal a couple months out of high school as a part-time employee. Nineteen years later, he’s still there and serves as the source for all things recruiting for Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville. His blog is one of the best in the online hoops recruiting world.

Your blog is one the very best in the .com recruiting world but also a rarity – a newspaper that is dedicated to that genre. How did the blog get started and what’s the premise of it?

“About four years ago one of my bosses said hey why don’t we get into this (recruiting) stuff. I’ve always enjoyed reading the stuff and talking to kids about it. I did that already when I covered the high school kids in Kentucky anyways. He said, ‘Hey why don’t we try to pitch this to our bosses to do this full-time.’ I thought there was no way possible until we tried it. We really used the Internet and tracked our hits on the Internet. Now all papers are looking how they can get more readers and more hits on the Internet and things like that. I figured it was time to try it. This is the third year that I’ve been out (to the national basketball events). October will be our fourth year since they bought it and said, ‘Let’s go for it and let’s try it.’…It’s been fun but it’s also challenging. We cover three schools (Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville)…and with all of the kids in the state, it’s tough but it’s also very fun.”

How much is your success with the blog tied in with the fact three very passionate programs is your focus? How much has that established your blog as a national branded site in the .com world?

“It’s huge. When I first started out doing this, I didn’t know where it was going to evolve. All of the sudden, I look up Rick Pitino is there. Then Billy Gillispie is there. Then you throw in Tom Crean. And then within the last year with John Calipari coming in, it’s taken my blog to the next level. It’s almost become, and I don’t want to say it’s a beast because I still love doing this, but there is a lot there for me to do. Sometimes I have to step back and remind myself about this Kentucky kid or that Kentucky kid. There is just so much that goes on with the three schools now that it’s taken on a whole new brand of it’s own. I think it’s totally the reason why the blog has grown as well as it has.”

I’ve noticed in my daily readings of your blog that you’ll throw in a national nugget here and there. How much have you made that mental note to maybe extend outside of the three – IU, UK, UL – to appease this new national reader that may stop by your site?

“We get to look and see where our views are coming from and what not and we noticed that things started to really branch out and you see more and more people coming to the site. So, I’ll throw some things in there that maybe outside of the norm. Plus, the fan bases at Kentucky, Indiana and Louisville are so advanced and so into the recruiting scene that they want to know what’s going on outside of their own school. They said, ‘Hey, we come here everyday and we get this stuff for free.’ You know, they may appreciate the national stuff maybe even more. They want to know whatever is going on no matter the school so I try to address that. I’ll try to focus mainly on the Big East, the SEC and the Big Ten schools if I go outside of the three. It is amazing to me the emails I get from random fans from random schools. There was one day we looked who had read it and our Internet guys were excited about our numbers. We had people coming to the site from Hawaii. You don’t even think people all the way out there think about recruiting. It was something obscure or to do with football. It really has evolved. I didn’t know where all of this was going to go but I’m very pleased with where it has gone so far. There are still things that we want to do each day and everyday but this is a pretty unique thing and I like it.”

As a newspaper man for nearly 20 years, talk about the evolution of that industry and how much do you think blogs enter into the newspaper world.

“As far as our newspaper goes, every writer that has a beat, has a blog. They want us to post as much as possible. The Internet has become a huge vehicle for newspapers. You read a lot of things and you hear people say this but I don’t tend to believe that all newspapers are going to die in five years. I believe there is always a place for newspapers and I’ll always believe that. I do think that the Internet and blogs and other vehicles will become more and more focal points. A lot of newspapers are putting blog bites in their paper from somebody’s blog. It is one of those things that as we go on and look for more and more readers, I think that is what they are going to have to do is branch out to a younger generation on the Internet.”

Are you surprised more papers, more daily papers don’t go out to more national events if they are in a big basketball school market?

"I am surprised. I really am. I had a lot of calls the first full year we ran the blog from newspapers asking what we did and how we did it. It’s funny because everyone thinks it is a great idea but there is no follow through. Of course, the thing is, I’m lucky that our newspaper has kept this in the budget while a lot of other papers haven’t. I’m lucky. I get that. I get to go to these places and I know a lot of these papers want to do it but simply can’t because of the economic state of their paper right now. There are so many things that they are dealing with right now. Honesty, I’m very lucky. I get to travel to wherever I feel like I need to be to cover the top players. I’m very lucky. You can’t do this job or a recruiting job unless you are at all of the big events.”

On Rick Pitino vs. John Calipari: “You read things that they don’t like each other but they respect each other. Who knows? All I know is that it’s going to be fun to watch them against each other this year and the next couple of years. When Rick Pitino comes to Rupp Arena and looks over and there is John Calipari there on the same sidelines, it’s going to be interesting. They are already recruiting a lot of the same players. They are calling the same young guys. I’m sure the day will come when they are recruiting the same top level guy. All I know is that things are about to become very interesting with that rivalry. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

On covering the Las Vegas events and the surprising nature of recruiting: “The whole Vegas experience is totally crazy. You go from one gym to the next. I’ve met a lot of people in college basketball and in AAU and in the newspaper world and when you put those groups together, you never know what is going to happen. I’ve been shocked the last couple of weeks on scenarios that have played out. If you would have asked me if Fab Melo goes to Syracuse and Dominique Ferguson goes to Florida International, I would have never guessed. I would have been off the mark like everyone else. I think that plays into the whole scene of the wild, wild world that is AAU basketball. You can’t predict what is going to happen next. That’s what makes it so much fun for me. You are going to be wrong more than you are right. But you are going to be right sometimes. That’s what makes all of this fun.”

Best game you’ve ever seen from a player: “Last summer I Jeremy Tyler had a game where I said to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, that kid is going to be ridiculous.’ He was off the charts. Now, the next I saw, he was awful. But for that one game, it was the best game I’ve seen from a kid in three or four years.”

Archived Just a Minutes:

Jeff Goodman, Fox Sports
Rob Harrington, Prep Stars
Jerry Meyer,
Dave Telep,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Final National Hoops Report 2009 top 100

The class of 2009 is now on campus and ready to hit the hardwood. Who are the top 100 incoming freshmen to watch? The National Hoops Report believes these guys are the future.

1. John Wall, PG, Word of God (N.C.) KENTUCKY
2. Derrick Favors, PF/C, South Atlanta (Ga.) GEORGIA TECH
3. DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Leflore (Ala.) KENTUCKY
4. Avery Bradley, SG, Findlay Prep (Nev.) TEXAS
5. John Henson, PF, Sickles (Fla.) NORTH CAROLINA
6. Kenny Boynton, SG, American Heritage (Fla.) FLORIDA
7. Lance Stephenson, SG, Lincoln (N.Y.) CINCINATTI
8. Mouphtaou Yarou, PF, Montrose Christian (Md.) VILLANOVA
9. Michael Snaer, SG, Rancho Verde (Calif.) FLORIDA STATE
10. Xavier Henry, SG, Putnam City (Okla.) KANSAS
11. Dante Taylor, PF, National Christian Academy (Md.) PITTSBURGH
12. Wally Judge, PF, Arlington County Day (Fla.) KANSAS STATE
13. Abdul Gaddy, PG, Bellarmine Prep (Wash.) WASHINGTON
14. Renardo Sidney, PF, Fairfax (Calif.) MISSISSIPPI STATE
15. John Jenkins, SG, Station Camp (Tenn.) VANDERBILT
16. Keith Gallon, PF, Oak Hill (Va.) OKLAHOMA
17. Jordan Hamilton, SF, Dominguez (Calif.) TEXAS
18. Alex Oriakhi, PF, Tifton (N.H.) UCONN
19. Daniel Orton, C, Bishop McGuinness (Okla.) KENTUCKY
20. Mfon Udofia, PG, Miller Grove (Ga.) GEORGIA TECH
21. Dominic Cheek, SG, St. Anthony (N.J.) VILLANOVA
22. Ryan Kelly, PF, Ravenscroft (N.C.) DUKE
23. Durand Scott, SG, Rice (N.Y.) MIAMI
24. Eric Bledsoe, PG, Parker (Ala.) KENTUCKY
25. Milton Jennings, PF, Pinewood Prep (S.C.) CLEMSON
26. Rakeem Buckles, PF, Pace (Fla.) LOUISVILLE
27. Maalik Wayns, PG, Roman Catholic (Pa.) VILLANOVA
28. Solomon Hill, Fairfax (Calif.) ARIZONA
29. Thomas Robinson, PF, Brewster Academy (N.H.) KANSAS
30. Royce White, SF, Hopkins (Minn.) MINNESOTA
31. Elijah Johnson, PG/SG, Cheyenne (Nev.) KANSAS
32. Reginald Buckner, Manassas (Tenn.) OLE MISS
33. Kawhi Leonard, SF, Martin Luther King (Calif.) SAN DIEGO STATE
34. Peyton Siva, PG, Franklin (Wash.) LOUISVILLE
35. Noel Johnson, SG, Fayette County (Ga.) CLEMSON
36. Aaric Murray, C, Glenn Mills (Pa.) LASALLE
37. Mason Plumlee, PF, Christ School (N.C.) DUKE
38. Kyryl Natyazhko, C, IMG (Fla.) ARIZONA
39. D.J. Richardson, SG, Findlay (Nev.) ILLINOIS
40. Maurice Creek, SG, Hargrave (Va.) INDIANA
41. Ari Stewart, SF, Wheeler (Ga.) WAKE FOREST
42. Tyler Honeycutt, SF Sylmar (Calif.) UCLA
43. Dexter Strickland, SG, St. Patrick (N.J.) NORTH CAROLINA
44. Christian Watford, PF, Shades Valley (Ala.) INDIANA
45. Rashanti Harris, C, Patterson (N.C.) GEORGIA STATE
46. Zeke Marshall, C, McKeesport (Pa.) AKRON
47. Andrew Fitzgerald, C, Brewster Academy (N.H.) OKLAHOMA
48. Tommy Mason-Griffin, PG, Madison (Texas) OKLAHOMA
49. Glen Rice, SG, Walton (Ga.) GEORGIA TECH
50. Jeronne Maymon, PF, Memorial (Wisc.) MARQUETTE
51. Isaiah Armwood, PF, Montrose Christian (Md.) VILLANOVA
52. Hollis Thompson, SF, De La Salle (Calif.) GEORGETOWN
53. Ray Penn, SG, Bush (Texas) OKLAHOMA STATE
54. Richard Howell, PF, Wheeler (Ga.) N.C. STATE
55. Cadarian Raines, C, Petersburg (Va.) VIRGINIA TECH
56. Brendan Lane, PF, Rocklin (Calif.) UCLA
57. Nolan Dennis, SG, Richland (Texas) BAYLOR
58. Brandon Paul, SG, Warren Township (Ill.) ILLINOIS
59. Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, SF, Tilton School (N.H.) UCONN
60. Cory Jefferson, C, Killeen (Texas) BAYLOR
61. Karron Johnson, PF, Laurinburg (N.C.) OKLAHOMA STATE
62. Kammeon Holsey, PF, Hancock Central (Ga.) GEORGIA TECH
63. Leslie McDonald, SG, Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) NORTH CAROLINA
64. Anthony Marshall, SG, Mojave (Nev.) UNLV
65. Hassan Whiteside, C, Patterson (N.C.) MARSHALL
66. Mangisto Arop, SF, Hamilton (Ont.) GONZAGA
67. David Wear, PF, Mater Dei (Calif.) NORTH CAROLINA
68. Shawn Williams, PF, Duncanville (Texas) TEXAS
69. Lamont Jones, SG, Oak Hill Academy (Va.) ARIZONA
70. Roberto Nelson, SG, Santa Barbara (Calif.) OREGON STATE
71. Marshawn Powell, PF, Miller School (Va.) ARKANSAS
72. Junior Cadougan, PG, Christian Life (Texas) MARQUETTE
73. Kenny Hall, PF, Redan (Ga.) TENNESSEE
74. Dane Miller, SF, Rush Henrietta (N.Y.) RUTGERS
75. Roger Franklin, SF, Duncanville (Texas) OKLAHOMA STATE
76. Jon Hood, SG, Madisonville North (Ky.) KENTUCKY
77. Derrick Nix, C, Pershing (Mich.) MICHIGAN STATE
78. Darius Smith, SG, Marshall (Ill.) UCONN
79. Tristan Spurlock, SF, Word of Life Academy (Va.) VIRGINIA
80. Chris Braswell, PF, Hargrave Military (Va.) CHARLOTTE
81. Mike Moser, PF, Grant (Ore.) UCLA
82. Erik Murphy, PF, St. Mark’s (Mass.) FLORIDA
83. Garrick Sherman, C, Kenton (Ohio) MICHIGAN STATE
84. Jordan Williams, PF, Torrington (Conn.) MARYLAND
85. Aaron Dotson, SG, Rainer Beach (Wash.) LSU
86. Jared Cunningham, PG, San Leandro (Calif.) OREGON STATE
87. Matt Vogrich, SG, Lake Forest (Ill.) MICHIGAN
88. Travis Wear, PF, Mater Dei (Calif.) NORTH CAROLINA
89. Sam Dower, C, Osseo (Minn.) GONZAGA
90. Rodney Williams, SG, Robbinsdale Cooper (Minn.) MINNESOTA
91. Terrell Vinson, PF, St. Frances (Md.) UMASS
92. Jamil Wilson, SF, Horlick (Wisc.) OREGON
93. Garrius Adams, SG, Middle Creek (N.C.) MIAMI
94. Johnnie Lacy, PG, Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) PROVIDENCE
95. Mike Bruesewitz, PF, Sibley (Minn.) WISCONSIN
96. Rodney McGruder, SG, Arlington Country Day (Fla.) KANSAS STATE
97. Lakeem Jackson, SF, Christ School (N.C.) SOUTH CAROLINA
98. Darius Morris, PG, Winward (Calif.) MICHIGAN
99. A.J. Walton, PG, Hall (Ark.) ARKANSAS
100. D.J. Byrd, SG, North Montgomery (Ind.) PURDUE

Monday, August 17, 2009

Class of 2011 rankings: 1-5

The top players in the class of 2011 are now officially unveiled. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Michael Gilchrist (pictured above) is the best in the class. The New Jersey native could even be the best high school player in the country right now.

Overall, the class is stacked with big-time prospects. A number of players will be fighting for position in the top 25 for the next two years. How it all shakes out is exciting to watch.

1. Michael Gilchrist, SF, Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick – Could the 6-7 wing be the most complete player in all of high school hoops? We think so. He does it all from all spots on the floor. Gilchrist has a work ethic, humble approach and killer instinct to boot, too. His competiveness and approach to the game is a rare trait amongst today’s elite players. The best part of Gilchrist’s game? He still thinks there is much more to improve upon.

2. Marquis Teague, PG, Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike – His speed, athleticism, aggressive attacks to the rim and his court demeanor are similar to those of Derrick Rose and John Wall. Teague has game-changing speed and a burst to the basket that could even make him the top overall player in the class before it is all said and done.

3. Rakeem Christmas, C, Bryn Athyn (Pa.) Academy Of The New Church – The best shot-blocker in the country regardless of class. Has an Al Horford body and the best upside of any big man in the high school ranks. Right now, he’s a defensive specialist that can impact the game as a rebounder. When his offense comes around, there is good reason to believe the 6-9 big man could be a top 10 pick in the NBA Draft.

4. James McAdoo, PF, Norfolk (Va.) Norfolk Christian School – A shoulder injury kept him out of the spotlight this summer but understand this: he’s cut from the Derrick Favors cloth. Has the work ethic, mindset and skill just like Favors. Scary. McAdoo is more skilled offensively than Favors, too. Even scarier.

5. Anthony Wroten, SG, Seattle (Wash.) Garfield – By far the best passer in the class of 2011. He’s a strong, aggressive guard cut from the mold of Dwayne Wade. The bigger the moment, the better he plays. Wroten mixes natural strength with amazing body control and athleticism better than anyone in the class.

Class of 2011 rankings:

Class of 2010 rankings: 1-25

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Class of 2011 rankings: 6-10

6. Quincy Miller, PF, Winston-Salem (N.C.) Quality Education Academy – Sheet shooting big man that has a refined face up game but also knows his strengths as a rebounder and interior scorer. Enjoyed a productive summer and showed great leadership qualities, too.

7. LeBryan Nash, SF, Dallas (Texas) Lincoln – Big time physical specimen that continues to add dimensions to his game. The 6-7 forward is developing into one of the toughest match-ups in all the class.

8. Austin Rivers, PG/SG, Winter Park (Fla.) Winter Park – Crafty combo guard that can burn you with his perimeter scorer, athleticism to the rim and enough court awareness to run the team from the point. He’s the total offensive package.


9. Bradley Beal, SG, St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade – Elite scorer that limits his shot attempts but maximizes his scoring opportunities because of his high hoops I.Q. Beal is the best pure shooting guard in the class and should be a great college scorer.

10. Wayne Blackshear, SF, Chicago (Ill.) Morgan Park (pictured) – Great live bodied wing that can play multiple positions. Athletic, strong and full of untapped potential, there is a lot to get excited about with the 6-6 wing.

Class of 2011 rankings:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Class of 2011 rankings: 11-15

The rankings fun continues with the class of 2011. Today, we unveil 11 to 15.

11. Johnny O’Bryant, PF, Cleveland (Miss.) East Side (pictured) – Relentless worker and high energy big man. He’s a major match-up problem because of his skill inside and out. He’s still trying to find his basketball voice but the end product is what has all of the elite programs excited.

12. Adonis Thomas, SF, Memphis (Tenn.) Melrose – Meet the nation’s top defender in the 2011 class. He has a great body and natural strength. Has a chance to play at the highest level because of his smarts, work ethic, defensive approach and upside as an offensive player.

13. Damien Leonard, SG, Greenville (S.C.) J. L. Mann – See Ray Allen. Leonard has one of the prettiest strokes in all the land. He’s a sniper from deep and his range almost seems endless in the halfcourt. Very smart guard with a very bright future.

14. LaQuinton Ross, SF, Jackson (Miss.) Murrah – Was hyped early as the “it” guy by yours truly. And there were times where he was legitimately one of the top three players in the country. But the passion has fizzled and the effort almost non-existent. Too much too early? Maybe. But when he’s at the top of his game, Ross is down right deadly.

15. Michael Chandler, C, Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence North – Huge prospect inside the paint, one of the biggest and more skilled players at his position nationally. Huge upside to boot. Should be a name to watch for the pros.


Class of 2011 rankings:

Friday, August 14, 2009

2011 rankings: 16-20

16. Myck Kabongo, PG, Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's – Jet quick point guard that excels at passing, shooting, scoring and ball-handling. One of the elite guards in the class and his résumé is stocked deep with wins. He’ll be the best point guard to play for Rick Barnes since D.J. Augustin.


17. Branden Dawson, SF, Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace – Great physical specimen that has developed into a fine wing prospect. His ceiling is incredibly high and his work ethic could justify this lofty status. The 6-foot-5 wing is just scratching the surface on his potential.

18. Kentavious Caldwell, SG, Greenville (Ga.) High School (pictured) – The multi-skilled guard can play three positions in the backcourt and can shine as a passer, scorer, slasher, rebounder and defender. Once his jumper becomes reliable, he could be one of the scariest guards in the country.

19. P.J. Hairston, SG, Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley – Big time scorer and very good from deep. Has big, strong frame that he uses well to power through defenders. Think Mitch Richmond. Hairston should score a lot of points during his career in Chapel Hill.


20. Angelo Chol, PF, San Diego (Calif.) Hoover – Big bodied forward is a brute on the low blocks and he uses his size quite well. The lefty is solid in the post as a scorer and rebounder. He’s developing into a fine defensive player, too.

Class of 2011 rankings:


Thursday, August 13, 2009

2011 rankings: 21-25

We released our top 25 rankings for the class of 2010 last week. This week the focus shifts to the class of 2011. We'll count them down from 21-25 and every day move closer to the top overall spot in the junior class.

21. Dai-Jon Parker, SG, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton (pictured) – Electric scorer that can hurt you from deep and with the dribble penetration. Parker can score in bunches and loves to get hot from the perimeter.

22. Norvel Pelle, PF, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez – Long, athletic and intriguing. The 6-8 forward is still quite raw in his development and he’s ranked this high based on potential. The ceiling is very high with Pelle.

23. Michael Gbinije, SF, Christchurch (Va.) School – Versatile wing with a knack for scoring the ball. Good size for a wing at 6-6 and good enough ball-hanlder to create mismatches in the backcourt.

24. Sheldon McClellan, SG, Houston (Texas) Bellaire – Great scorer that is only getting better with time. Has great athleticism, good size and enough savvy to play multiple positions.


25. DeAndre Daniels, PF, Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft – The 6-7 big man loves to float to the wing and pop the three-pointer. He’s caught in between positions but skilled enough where he can burn you inside and out.


Class of 2010 rankings

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

12 @ 12: August commitments of note

August has been a crazy month for commitments. There have been more pledges in the last 12 days than there were in the entire month last year. Which ones are the biggest and most important? Here are the dozen that stand out the most in today’s 12 at 12.

J.D. Weatherspoon to Ohio State (pictured above) - Could this be the commitment of the month? Weatherspoon is a good player, no question about that. But he’s not the singular reason why this could be the commitment of the month. The reason is he is the fourth member of the widely successful All-Ohio team that has won more games as a collective unit than any other team of 2010 players. Weatherspoon joins Jared Sullinger, Jordan Sibert and Aaron Craft in the class. The four also join DeShaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith in the class. Can the six help push this team to a Final Four run? It is an interesting case study to watch.

Dominique Ferguson to Florida International - Isiah Thomas has made a big splash since taking over the dormant FIU program thanks to his recruiting efforts. On the surface, landing the former Kentucky commitment is one of the top stories of the summer. A surprise? No question about it. A really giant land? Not so sure about it. Ferguson is a high ceiling prospect. But he’s also a low motor player, too. His effort level in July was non-existent and he fell from grace with a lot of high-major schools. If Thomas can help the Indianapolis forward focus and play with some passion, Ferguson could indeed live up to the hype.

Fab Melo to Syracuse - Talk about a surprise. Maybe even the surprise of the 2010 recruiting class. A week prior to this commitment, the belief was Melo to Louisville. Where did that belief come from? Primarily from those that were recruiting him. But the Brazilian pulled off a shocker and pledged to Jim Boeheim. As if the Big East needed more fodder for rivalries, Melo’s decision should add a fun storyline to the series next year.

K.T. Harrell to Virginia - This commitment is a big deal. Tony Bennett needed to land a savvy point guard with a high basketball IQ and he got it in the Alabama prospect. Harrell is a highly skilled combo guard that plays with a high level of energy and intelligence. Those types of players have shined under the direction of Bennett, arguably the best Xs and Os coach in all of basketball.

P.J. Hairston to North Carolina - Was anyone surprised by the class of 2011 guard’s decision. When word came down that the home state Tar Heels offered a scholarship, the hoops recruiting world knew it was only a matter of time before he accepted the free ride. Hairston will be a good four-year scorer for Roy Williams and could be one of the top scorers in ACC play during his career.

Mardracus Wade to Arkansas - Memphis is turning into one of the elite recruiting hot beds in the nation for basketball talent. It makes sense that the Razorbacks raided the city for a player like Wade. The 6-foot-4 guard could be an important piece of the puzzle in Fayetteville. He’s an aggressive scorer that could develop into a top-notch defender. In the long term, Arkansas needed to establish itself in talent-rich Memphis. Keep an eye on the ripple effect.

Marvin Baynham to Georgia Southern - New Eagles head coach Charlton Young was a proven recruiter at Georgia Tech and Auburn. Now at the helm of his alma mater, he’s hit the ground running with recruits. The Miami native went home and stole away the 6-foot-7 forward. Baynham played well with the Florida Rams over the summer and he could have been recruited higher the longer he waited. Instead, Young has an instant impact big coming to Statesboro.

Rion Brown to Miami - It’s important to note which prospects are ascending on their way out of high school. Brown will be one of those guys. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard took off on the national scene in the spring and a number of coaches spent the first day of the evaluation period in July to see the Georgia native in action. Miami beat the punch and got in early and eventually won his commitment. Brown is a great shooter with great athleticism. He’s on the way up and should fit in nicely in the guard-friendly ACC.

Richard Solomon to Cal - It seems like the Bears always sneak in and land a commitment from a big man that could develop into a major player in the Pac-10. One West Coast evaluator told me that Solomon could blow up to Devon Hardin status. That’s big praise and certainly one to watch. If that’s the case, Montgomery landed a big time player.

Sidki Johnson to Arizona - There will be a new brand of basketball in Tucson now that Sean Miller is in town. Look for the team to make a transformation into a gritty, hard-nosed team both inside and out. Johnson, a class of 2011 prospect, brings the team an athletic big man that can run the floor like most Pac-10 players but also a guy that isn’t afraid to dive into physical match-ups on the low blocks. Over time, his commitment should prove to be a big one.

Austin Etherington to Indiana - Teams are always looking for knock down shooters and the Hoosiers were able to find one with size in their own back yard. The 6-foot-5 class of 2011 prospect is one of the top perimeter threats in the class and for a team that is looking for a threat on the wing, Etherington should step right in and play a major role for Tom Crean.

Adam Jones to Fairfield - Jones may be a surprise pick here for one of the top 12 commitments so far in August. He shouldn’t be. The Floridian should prove to be an important pick-up for the Stags. The 6-foot-7 forward has the skill set to be a producer at the level he’s going to and he should be a guy that helps push a team to wins in March.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

12 @ 12: Commitment predictions

Every one loves a bold prediction in sports. And if you are a hardcore recruiting fan, there is nothing better than a bold commitment prediction. I’ll take a shot at the top 12 uncommitted players in the class of 2010. If I get it wrong, save your email. If I get it right, send chocolate chip cookies.

Harrison Barnes – The gut says he goes to Duke. The Blue Devils have been high on his list and the Iowa native has been to Durham for a visit and raved about it. Reminds me of a Shane Battier personality, too. Keep an eye out for Kansas, too.

Brandon Knight – Tough to get a read on this one. But there is something about UConn that makes sense with the strong combo guard from Florida. The Huskies have a proven guard-to-the-NBA pipeline. UConn needs to add a big-time guard in 2010, too.

Adreian Payne – Behind the scenes whispers have connected William Wesley, a.k.a. Worldwide Wes Kentucky, with the 6-10 forward from Ohio. Translation: Look out for Kentucky. West Virginia is very strong, too.

Joe Jackson – The hoops mavens in Memphis swear Joe Jackson will be a Memphis Tiger. And when the hoops mavens talk, they are always right. Jackson told last night that his list now consists of three schools – Memphis, Tennessee and Kansas. I’m banking on the Tigers.

Tony Mitchell – Georgetown head coach John Thompson, III was at every game Mitchell played in Las Vegas and quietly sat on the sidelines with a smile on his face. Maybe the Hoyas are in their deeper than the public realizes. Kansas State wants to reclaim a commitment from the Grand Prairie, Texas native. I like GU for this one.

Tobias Harris – Very hard to gauge who is in favorable position here. Syracuse, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Kentucky all have a good shot, in my opinion. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it come down to ‘Cuse, ND and GT. From there, it’s a tight race. Today’s prediction is Syracuse. Tomorrow could be a different answer.

Jelan Kendrick – Don’t sleep on Georgia Tech. The hometown team has been in with the versatile backcourt player since his freshman year. He’s familiar with the team, familiar with the coaches and obviously familiar with Atlanta. This one will probably go to the second recruiting period.

Kyrie Irving – This one will come down to Duke and Indiana. And from there it is a crap shoot. If Harrison Barnes commits to Duke, it wouldn’t shock me if Irving follows suit. The two have developed a relationship and have talked in passing about playing together. Right now, I’ll say it’s 60/40 Duke over Indiana.

Dwight Powell – After a dynamic summer with Grassroots Canada and on his own at camps, Powell rose up the rankings and can now pick his place to call home in college. Big on academics, don’t be surprised to see the skilled big man at Stanford in what is shaping up to be a solid class for Johnny Dawkins.

Doron Lamb – Kansas and Oklahoma – two places every kid from New York lists, right? The Oak Hill scorer said those two are high on his list. The Sooners are a sleeper to watch with him. But, as always, keep an eye on Kentucky. I like OU for some reason here.

Josh Selby – As soon as his commitment to Tennessee broke open, the common belief was the Baltimore native would be Kentucky. The only question was when will it happen. However, Selby is now reportedly visiting Connecticut on Wednesday. Don’t count the Huskies out. I believe they land Selby or Knight. It might be a matter of who goes first. With that in mind, Selby could be Kentucky bound. It wouldn’t surprise me if he waits until the spring to make that decision, too.

Cameron Clark – Look for this one to be an Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State battle. The Texas scorer will take some visits in the fall and eventually sign with a Big 12 school in my opinion. Lock this one up for Oklahoma State.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Street Stops Here

Just push play.

For more information on the film, click HERE.

12 @ 12: Weekend lessons

August is supposed to be an uneventful month in basketball recruiting. But with two major events with 60 high-major players in action, August is no longer the time to recover from the busy summer schedule.

The Nike Global Challenge and the adidas Nations events finished up over the weekend and some familiar faces did what they are supposed to do and dominated. Some, however, struggled. In today’s 12 at 12, nothing goes unnoticed.

1. Duke may not have to worry about it’s lack of depth in the backcourt for too long if two 2010 studs decide they want to be Blue Devils. Kyrie Irving and Harrison Barnes were the talk of the Nike Global Challenge. The two are thought to be very high on the ACC school at the moment and have talked about playing with each other in the past, too.

Irving finished his summer as good as he started it. The New Jersey point guard scored 26 points and dished out four assists in his team’s 104-103 win over Canada at the Nike Global Challenge championship game. Irving was outstanding in Orland at the AAU Super Showcase and the AAU Nationals. He has proven himself as one of the elite point guards in the country and the separation between him and the rest of the pack is widening.

The talk from Portland started and ended with Barnes. The 6-foot-6 wing from Iowa went to work in the Rose City. His 44-point performance in an overtime win over Serbia was epic, so says the eyes that saw it. One analyst even called it the performance of the summer. Barnes set a goal prior to the grassroots season to not only be the number one player in the class but to be the number one player in the class across the board. It will be interesting to see how the reputable services rank him now that the summer events are all officially over. For the record, he’s number one here at NHR.

2. Gonzaga may have a star in waiting in 6-foot-6 wing Mangisto Arop. The Canadian star was outstanding in three games in Portland and played a major role in his country’s run to the title game. Arop averaged 19.3 points and 8.6 rebounds all the while shooting 60 percent from three. Gonzaga always has a legitimate NBA prospect on it’s roster and even as a freshman, Arop could be a guy that pops into top 20 pick discussion next summer.

3. For a player that I recently ranked second in the nation, Perry Jones must learn the value of playing well in the moment. The Baylor commitment is ranked as high as he is in large part because of potential. He’s a freakish prospect because of his size, versatility and shooting touch. But, and this has always been a big but, Jones doesn’t always bring it. Four points and four rebounds in 22 minutes of play. Zero points and three rebounds in 17 minutes of play. Zero rebounds and 16 points in 17 minutes of play. Uninspiring for perhaps the most intriguing pro prospect in the 2010 high school class? You betcha. Jones must realize the moment that these types of camps are. If NBA teams were watching, Jones could have cost himself millions of dollars.

4. The same under-performing and under-whelming tag could be applied to Adreian Payne and Tony Mitchell. Both big men are on NBA radars but the motor and desire isn’t always there. That’s a bit worrisome.

5. I am probably sleeping on the value of North Carolina forward C.J. Leslie. I left him out of the top 25 rankings in 2010 and I may have to reconsider that. The ultra-athletic 6-foot-8 forward has struggled in games I’ve seen of him in the past, particularly at finishing around the rim on shots that weren’t dunks. Apparently, he didn’t struggle as an interior scorer and rebounder. There is a strong chance he makes his way into the top 25 next go round.

6. Don’t be surprised to see Canada win a medal in the Olympics in 2014. The kids from north of the border are winning games left and right and challenging this group of Americans every time out. The 2009 to 2011 classes could be the best group of Canadians ever. Hyperbole? Doubt it.

7. One of the reasons why is Cory Joseph (pictured). Want proof? How about his 22.8 points per game average in Dallas and a trip to the championship game for Team Canada? Joseph is one of the best combo guards in the class of 2010 and when he gets into a groove, watch out. Joseph scored 33 points, handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds in the loss. Nevertheless, the future I bright in Canada and if history shows us anything, this group of kids should be something special to watch on the world’s biggest stage in the near future.

8. Jared Sullinger won another event. Shocker, right? His 22 points and 10 rebounds against the aforementioned Canadians played a big role in USA 2010’s championship run. Could Ohio State be back in the Final Four with Sullinger leading the way? Why not? He’s won everywhere else. Don’t be surprised to see Sully go a similar route that Kevin Love went.

9. Follow me for a second: Derrick Rose then John Wall then…Marquis Teague? It wouldn’t surprise me if it did go that route for the Indianapolis star. The class of 2011 guard scored 17 points handed out five assists, grabbed four rebounds and beat his USA mates from the class of 2010 at adidas Nations. Teague is better than his brother Jeff, a first round draft pick out of Wake Forest this year. The younger Teague is a better shooter than Wall and Rose at this point. He’s just as quick and maybe right there athletically, too.

10. Final random thoughts from Dallas: There is a huge value in players that pick the right system and Jordan McRae picked the right system. The Georgia guard is headed to Tennessee next year. He’ll be one of the top scorers in the SEC in three years…Playing in his home town, LeBryan Nash was outstanding in Big D. The 6-foot-7 forward could be a top five guy in the 2011 class…2011 guard Damien Leonard has one of the prettiest strokes in all of high school hoops…2012 prospect Devonte Rivera-Smith played with Team Latin America and shined. Every Big Ten wants him. Can’t say I blame them.

11. Final random thoughts from Portland: Kendall Marshall could be one of the best assist men in UNC history. When he’s around elite talent, he knows who to get the ball too…Wake Forest bound guard J.T. Terrell may just be the best streaky shooter in the country. He doesn’t know what a good shot is but when he’s connecting, he’s deadly…I’m not high on Josh Selby like others are in this business but I respect his game. He was at his best in Portland. Food for thought: Selby always plays better when he’s not with his regular teammates…I like Austin Rivers but something tells me he may not be one of the top 10 guys in the 2011 class when it is all said and done…

12. Twitter is still very cool. Despite being off line for half a day and then rough turbulence after the down time, there were some tweets that made it through cyberspace that caught my eye. The best, in my opinion, came from Indiana head coach Tom Crean. He wrote:

“Always remember there is a huge difference between evaluating a prospect and actually offering one.”

So, so true.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Best of July

I’m ready to put July to bed already. With that said, here’s my best of from the wild month that is the evaluation period. If you have any other “Best of” ideas, let me know via Twitter (see below), post a message or even shoot me an email (

Best event: adidas Super 64. The Peach Jam was a close second. Both were loaded with talent. Both showcased the best in the country. Adidas may have had better games from start to finish.

Best player I saw at…

Ultimate Exposure Camp: DeMarcus Daniels, 2012/Turner County, GA
Power 48: Aryay Strong, 2011/J-Smoove All-Stars
Peach State Showcase: Willie Clayton, Team Georgia Elite 16U
Nike Peach Jam: Harrison Barnes, Howard Pulley
GBOA Challenge of Champions: Terrence Jones, I-5 Elite
adidas Super 64: Joe Jackson, Memphis Magic
Reebok Summer Championship: Trey Zeigler, Team Detroit
Center Stage: Perry Jones, Dallas Seawolves
17U AAU Nationals: Jared Sullinger, All Ohio Red

Best sight on the road: A number of coaches brought their young sons out events this year. Some coaches brought their whole families, too. And it seems that more and more coaches have sons that are playing on the circuit. Good to see coaches not losing themselves in the 20 craziest days of basketball. Their kids will have great “traveling with dad” memories and hopefully kids, players and coaches are taking notice of those that preach “we are all about family at XYZ University” and really mean it.

Best eating hole: Bee's Knees in Augusta, GA. The place never fails. I had a chance to go with two rising stars in the coaching ranks, Fordham’s Steve Treff and College of Charleston’s Andrew Wilson, and we darn near put the tapas menu to bed. If you ever go to the Peach Jam, find Bee’s Knees, order at least five items from the menu. Thank me later. (And Bee’s Knees, my email is Feel free to send me a gift certificate. Your welcome.)

Best unintentional recruiting tool/fashion item: Scepter Brownlee, assistant coach at Georgia State, rocked a pair of blue suede adidas Gazelle shoes. Vegas brings out the back of the closest gear sometimes.

Best off the court moment: The poker room at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas treated the National Hoops Report quite well in a four hour period. And Scarlett Johansson was 15 feet away from me when it all went down.

Things I learned in July…

Twitter is pretty sweet
• Never, ever forget your GPS when in Las Vegas
Baja Fresh needs to come to Atlanta, headquarters of the National Hoops Report
• LeBron doesn’t like to be in the news in a negative fashion and successful executives worry way too much about the silliest of things
• The Harrison Barnes vs. Brandon Knight/Austin Rivers match-up was the best individual match-up of the Peach Jam. And it was a 30-point blow-out in favor of Knight/Rivers
Joe Jackson was Mr. Las Vegas
• Free-lancing and covering roughly 35 kids is much more exciting than trying to cover 1,000 kids
• We probably won’t see a dominating team quite like the All-Ohio machine on the AAU circuit in a while
• There is free WiFi at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, the only free thing in Orlando

I could live without from July…

• Traffic in Las Vegas
• The NCAA
• Five tournaments in Vegas
• The porous attitude from AAU officials when asking about their media policies
• Humidity
• Red-eye flights
• Red bull energy drinks
• Empty roster information in media guides
• Parents that start a conversation with “Don’t you do the rankings?”
• The over-talker at poker tables
• The walk from the parking lot to the Milk House in Orlando

Follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

12 @ 12: Top sleepers from July

I love lists. Who doesn’t? Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I’m listing 12 things at noon. Why not? There really is no rhyme or reason to the list. But there will be a dozen things and it will be released at noon EST. That’s the only rule.

Today’s initial list is the 12 best sleepers I saw in July.

1. Josh Heustis, Belmont Shore – The 6-7 forward from Montana (yes, as in the state that never produces Division I talent) was great against Brandon Bass Elite at the Reebok Summer Championships in Las Vegas. He went for 20 points and was the second toughest player to defend on the floor behind NBA prospect Tony Mitchell. Word is Heustis is looking at transferring to Findlay in Vegas. If so, watch out. The Montana star could be a coveted prospect in the fall.

2. Michael Bradley, Tennessee Tigers (pictured above) – It happens at least once a year with me. I’ll be leaving a venue to slide over to another game only to be stopped in my tracks. That happened in Orlando at the AAU Nationals when Bradley walked past me. I immediately cancelled my scheduled game to watch and took in the 6-9 center. He’ll be a fall riser, too. A no-brainer high-major kid, Bradley was one of the best “where in the world did he come from?” stories of July. Look for him to be a top 100 guy nationally and keep on stopping people in their tracks.

3. Will Sheehey, Florida Rams – The more you watch him, the more you respect him. The 6-5 guard is athletic, tough and he can shoot in the midrange and from deep. Mix in some mental toughness and big time grades and you have a guy that will have his pick for schools at different levels. Sheehey entered July with a number of academic programs in tow. Now he could be picking between schools like Northwestern and Stanford. There is a lot to like with the Sunshine State kid. He’s a top 150 guy nationally.

4. Jeremy Lamb, Georgia Stars – Rarely, if ever, do players really emerge in today’s instant information world of .com recruiting. Players are over covered and evaluated because of the number of events and the number of those that cover the game. But there are times when guys really do “blow up” on the national stage. Enter Lamb. The long-armed 6-4 guard was the talk of the Peach Jam thanks to his 20 points per game against some of the top teams in the land. Not bad for a guy that didn’t start in high school. He went from a low to mid-major must evaluate player to a must get prospect for teams at the high-major level. Big time summer for the quiet Lamb.

5. Hippolyte Tsafack, Albany City Rocks – Brice Kofane, Tsafack’s teammate with the City Rocks and Virginia’s Miller School, could be in this spot instead of the 6-7 rock of a post player. But Kofane, a shot-blocker extraordinaire, was hurt in Orlando and didn’t play very much. Tsafack stepped right in and took advantage of the opportunity. Rarely used earlier in the month at the Peach Jam, Tsafack was great on the glass in Orlando. He scored the chip shots and picked up an offer every time he snatched a ball off the rim. And the mid-majors aren’t happy because he went from an instant impact level player at their level to a guy that will probably sneak on with a high-major school.

6. Garrett Jackson, I-5 Elite – When you make shot after shot, people notice. He’s the ideal West Coast Conference player. But there is some wonder if some Pac-10 schools take the gamble on the 6-6 shooter from Portland. He was on fire in Augusta at the Peach Jam and was the second player on I-5 Elite’s team when I watched them in Las Vegas behind five-star Terrence Jones. Jackson is a great shooter with size and grades.

7. Jaylen Bond, Playaz – Could the 6-7 sleeper be a big-time sleeper? Like top 40 national level player in 2011 type of sleeper? Part of me wonders. He’s a versatile combo forward that does his best work in the post as a rebounder and scorer. But he does have some perimeter game that is worth charting. Don’t be surprised to hear bigger things from the Philadelphia area star this high school season. Chances are he’s on the brink of blowing up.

8. Chris Crawford, Memphis Magic – Onions! The 6-4 guard would have made Billy Rafferty proud. All Crawford did was hit big shots, including the biggest one in Sin City. The senior drilled the game winner at the adidas Super 64. Over the five day period in Vegas, Crawford was the pied piper with head coaches. He was a must-see guy because he made shots. Those types of players have a value that teams need, especially in March. Could Crawford be a star come NCAA tournament time?

9. Willy Kouassi, Team Breakdown – Florida State center Solomon Alabi was a highly rated prospect coming out of high school. But he was also a very quiet highly rated player. Now in his second year in college, there is talk about the 7-footer being a lottery pick because of his defensive abilities. Kouassi is in the same mold. The 6-10 big man from Miami was a fly-swatter at Disney and made it presence known in the paint. Now the question remains on what grade he is – 2010 or 2011? What isn’t in question is his value as a potential late-blooming defender.

10. Willie Clayton, Team Georgia Elite 15U – Playing on a team with four African imports that all stand over 6-10 and possess the bodies of Greek gods, Clayton emerged as the one player that college coaches kept asking the most about. Clayton, a 6-7 athletic specimen from Thomasville, Georgia, was called “the ultimate four-year SEC power forward” by one recruiter. That’s a great call and a great compliment. That coach is spot on. Clayton is a rough and tough big man with athleticism to intimidate and skill to score 16 points a game without you noticing. The class of 2012 prospect is a sleeper nationally but don’t be surprised to see Southern teams looking to lock him up early.

11. Henry Brooks, Southern Kings 16U – He and his teammates won the 16 and under division of the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas. It could be argued that Brooks played a large role in that run, too. The Kings have incredible guards. That’s never been the question. But Brooks was great each time he stepped on the floor in July. The Miller Grove product is getting better and better and developing into a confident post player to watch in 2011. It could also be argued that he was his team’s best post player all month. Not bad considering he suited up with Julian Royal (2011) and Tony Parker (2012) at different points in the summer.

12. Brandon Young, Team Takeover – When you run the point and weave a loaded team together into an indestructible line-up of talented players, people notice. The 6-2 guard helped pilot his team’s dominating effort at the Peach Jam. With a number of high-major guys around him, Young patiently and effectively stepped up during the moment and delivered a great week of work for his team. Now he’s on the list for a host of high-major schools. Young is a low-risk player that could develop into a starter for his final two years of college at the highest level.