Boston College Recruiting: Brady Heslip

March 31, 2010

Boston College doesn’t normally tread in the same recruiting pools as Kentucky, UNC and Duke, but they manage to find players who fit their style, contribute and often even land in pro careers despite not being recruited at more ‘name’ schools. This means that Al Skinner and company know how to find hidden gems and build an actual team of contributing players. It also means ACC schools shouldn’t wait until the BC bus unloads on game day to learn about the players on the Eagles roster.

One player that has committed to the Eagles is Brady Heslip (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2010), who brings a pure shooting stroke and range to Boston College. Heslip isn’t a burner, but he’s enough of a ball handler to share guard duties. But his real weapon is his shot. He’s the type of consistent shooter that teams cannot leave open, and he’s not just a deep threat, he’s got mid range game as well. He’s also a solid free throw shooter.

Heslip’s ability to nail the big shot should allow Boston College to stretch ACC defenses and will give some versatility at the guard position.

Here’s some Brady Heslip video:


McDonalds All American Game Is Wednesday

March 30, 2010

The biggest, or at least the most famous, most publicized, and most glamorous high school basketball all star game of the year is the annual McDonald’s All American games, with games for both the girls and the boys. We’ve chronicled the ACC recruits in this year’s game, which is played this Wednesday on ESPN.

There’s little defense to speak of, and the wide open play is often not a good representation of how players will be when they arrive in college. For some players, it has in the past created such hype that it solidified their position as immediate draft picks, but with the age limit of the NBA that’s far less likely. Brandon Jennings may have been able to secure an overseas deal and skip college by showing off his incredible point guard style in the Mickey D’s game.

For most players, it’s a statement simply to land on the roster of the game that serves as notice that they are likely college, and often pro, stars. J.J. Reddick shot the lights out in his 2002 appearance, landing the MVP in a game that featured Amare Stoudamire, Chris Bosh, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony. I remember watching that game in Madison Square Garden and knew he was going to be a big deal at Duke.

But the game’s wide open style often puts certain players at a disadvantage. While many teams would love to have a guy like Jennings or John Wall streaking up and down the court, a team also needs guys who know how to rebound, defend, set picks and pivot in the post. The All American game won’t always tell you the player who will be able to hit big shots at the buzzer to get to the Final Four, or the player who will set the record for most steals in a career in the NBA. It might, but it probably won’t.

What the game will show you is a few minutes of free flowing offense and give a glimpse, if you’re lucky and the players get a few balls to bounce their way, of what players can do. It can show you ballhandling skills or how a big man can run the court.

And, of course, it’s fun to watch and fun to dream.


The Harrison Barnes Odyssey

March 29, 2010

Jeff Reiners, a blogger who lives in Iowa and writes The Pete Myers Rules (a blog that often waxes poetic about days gone by in the NBA, such as when Charles Barkley was known as a stud power forward and not for being a complete buffoon), has written an extensive post about his journey to see Ames, Iowa high school basketball star Harrison Barnes (SF, 6’7″, 2010), a UNC commit and possibly the #1 pick in the 2011 draft.

Harrison Barnes

The journey to see Barnes in person is detailed, down to the stumbling up the stairs to the top of the Wells Fargo arena in a slightly inebriated state, the sets that the Ames High School team employs and how Barnes is used. It makes a strong visual, particularly if you’ve seen Ames play this season:

They basically try to bait teams into throwing lazy passes to the middle of the floor where Barnes lurks. Barnes’ job is to play the passing lanes and use his amazing quickness to pick off passes and head the other way for dunks.

Barnes effect on the games this season has been to pull the focus of the defense on him and free up several other Ames players, and Ames is not a one man show. Souix City East, Ames’ opponent, finally tried to slow down the Ames offense by taking the air out of the ball:

Sioux City East really jammed on the brakes in the 2nd quarter as the pace slowed to a crawl. It worked in that it prevented Ames from going on a huge run (they only scored 7 points) but they also stopped themselves from scoring (East totaled 2 points the entire 2nd quarter).

But even without a shot clock and perched high in the rafters, finally everyone got what they wanted to see from Barnes:

He caught an outlet pass at half court with a defender right in his path. He dribbled hard from half court all the way to the right side of the lane. Once there he planted, crossed over to his left leaving his defender in the dust, took off about a step inside the free throw line, hung for that extra half second and finished over the rim with one hand. Very rare to see a high schooler that can sky like that.

Barnes’ run is described here are length, but it’s only a snippet of the phenom he has become and the attention he’s brought to Iowa.


Wake Forest Recruiting: Tony Chennault

March 28, 2010

Wake Forest’s loss in the NCAA Tournament this season wasn’t just the end of the season for the Deacs, it also marked the end of Ish Smith’s career for the black and gold. Since his freshman season, Ish has been the dominant ballhandler for the Demon Deacons and now they will have to find someone who can step up and run the offense. While C.J. Harris is a competent, smart guard, he isn’t the pure point guard that Smith was, and it’s probably going to fall on the shoulders of Tony Chennault (PG, 6’2″, 2010) to organize the offense.

Chennault isn’t the blistering speedster that Wake fans are used to from Ish Smith, but he brings toughness and scoring that will likely fit in well with the style the Deacs play. Wake fans will love Chennault’s toughness as he moves to the hoop, it’s a bit like watching a gifted running back tear through gaps in a defensive line. He also is an excellent passer and can finish in the lane or with running floaters. Double teaming Chennault is a dangerous ploy, because his court vision is strong enough for him to quickly find the open man.

With Harris returning the SG spot, the Deacons should benefit from smart, competitive basketball from the backcourt.


UNC Recruit Reggie Bullock Wins AP POY

March 27, 2010

Reggie Bullock (SF, 6’6″, 2010) capped his senior session at Kinston High School with another state title, and in the process landed the 2009-2010 AP Player of the Year award for the state. Bullock’s been a UNC commit for some time now, and had current UNC players like John Henson rooting him on as his team played the championship in Chapel Hill.

“I just stayed humble with it,” Bullock said. “I didn’t want to try to let it get too overwhelming and be like, ‘Yeah, I’m that dude.’ I tried to stay low-profile when I walked in the gym.”

Bullock is a big, smooth small forward with a lot of shooting guard skills and potential. He can shoot from deep and that opens up for opportunities to slash to the hoop. He also is effective in transition because of his poise and size, making him difficult to guard. If he could develop a mid range floater, he’d be a deadly offensive player and definitely has a lot of potential.


North Carolina is Recruiting Austin Rivers

March 26, 2010

It seems that it is official, despite what Austin Rivers (PG/SG, 6’4″, 2011) says about being committed to Florida, he isn’t. After saying he was still committed to the Gators, he started entertaining discussions with the Duke Blue Devils and even took an unofficial visit to Durham. While it isn’t clear if Rivers is just looking around, or if there are real problems in Gainesville that might be giving him pause, one thing is for sure: Austin Rivers is not really committed to Florida, and he might end up somewhere else.

Now that has come to fruition as the news that the North Carolina Tar Heels are also in the mix for Rivers, and he told Scout.com that he was listening. UNC has already lined up to see Rivers play and Rivers seems ready to add them to his ‘list’, which is an odd discussion for someone to have if they are committed.

This recruitment is now back in full swing it seems, with the old rivalry between the Heels and the Devils right on the front lines.

Rivers, a slight-of-build player from Florida, has really started to come into his own as possibly the top SG of the 2011 class. The son of Doc Rivers, he’s developed into a very prolific big guard.

Austin Rivers video:


ACC Recruiting: Round Up, March 25, 2010

March 25, 2010

Lorenzo Brown (PG/SG, 6’4″ , 2010), one of the two solid guards coming in for the Wolfpack, continues to communicate with current players as they made a small run in the NIT. Brown was encouraging his future teammates with text messages, a sure sign that he’s already mentally on the roster.

Video of Lorenzo Brown:

Tyler Adams (C, 6’8″, 2010) now has an offer from the Duke Blue Devils. He was already being recruited by Clemson, Alabama and Memphis, but with Duke in the picture, he now says Duke is his leader.

C.J. Leslie (SF, 6’9″, 2010), down to the NC State Wolfpack and the Kentucky Wildcats, has a nice write up on HoopDoctors, although there’s no new information regarding his recruitment.

Austin River
(PG/SG, 6’4″, 2010) is still considering Duke as well, even though he says he’s committed to the Florida Gators.

Papa Samba Ndao
(SF, 6’8″, 2010), a commitment for the Boston College Eagles, not only has the best name for a 2010 recruit but also adds size for the Eagles on the wing. Look for Ndao to help shore up BC’s graduation losses.


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