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.