Lance Stephenson a package deal?

April 21, 2008

A lot of noise came out a few days ago about the possibility of Lance Stephenson (6’5″, SF), currently being pursued by North Carolina and Duke, being part of a ‘package deal’ with Renardo Sidney (6’9″, PF) to UCLA. This is because of the close friendship shared by the two on the AAU circuit. However, Jeff Eisenberg of the Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) called Stephenson’s coach to dispel the rumor:

Dwayne Morton, coach at famed Lincoln High in Brooklyn, confirmed that Stephenson and Sidney are good friends from the AAU circuit but cautioned that a package deal with the two of them is still a long shot.
“It has to be the right situation for Lance,” Morton said. “He’s not just going to go somewhere because of Renardo.”

Right now, my understanding is that neither UNC or Duke are really in the mix for Stephenson, and I don’t know of any ACC schools in the mix for Sidney. Both players are ranked in many recruiting services’ top five. Meanwhile, outside the ACC, Stephenson has stated he likes Memphis, Kansas, Indiana and Arkansas.

Speaking of Sidney, a good story that shows insight into the intense fervor that high school recruits are subject to involves two men who tried to ‘woo’ Sidney to another high school:

More than 10 high schools have expressed interest in Sidney, his father said. Sidney ruled out some because, he said, players on their teams told him they don’t always have to do their own work to get grades.

But the Sidney family listened to one recruitment pitch, even though it began surreptitiously. Two men showed up in Mississippi, telling Sidney they were reporters with a new magazine in California and that he was the subject of their cover story.

His mother immediately called Vaccaro; the elder Sidney met the men for lunch. Vaccaro said he believes the two men were trying to persuade Sidney to transfer to Compton’s Dominguez High, which is sponsored by Nike.

“It was scary,” the elder Sidney said. “That was definitely a Hollywood act. They told me two names, but I don’t know if that is their real name. They could have been posing for an agent. . . . So you just never know.”

Sidney said he and his family later visited California and the men gave them tickets on the floor for a Los Angeles Lakers-Minnesota Timberwolves game.

“They took us to the Lakers game; we went out to eat every day,” Sidney said. “We hung out, late nights and stuff. We had fun. They showed us a good time. They wanted me to come out here just to visit Dominguez and see if I would like it or whether I’d go to it. We stopped messing with them. I never thought about [Dominguez]. It was in the ghetto.”

Their recruitment pitch included a phone call that the men said was from Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. When Sidney got on the phone, the man purported to be Bryant and told him he should stay humble and work hard. To this day, Sidney doesn’t know who he spoke to. Bryant could not be reached to comment.

Is it any wonder that kids get the idea to jump to the pros so quickly?

Real Deal Roundup

So the big stud of the Real Deal was apparently Kenny Boynton (6’2″, combo guard), and reports are also that Lance Stephenson also performed well. North Carolina signee John Henson (6’10” PF/C) had an up-and-down scoring output, but he really is a guy who looks like he could become a superstar.

I don’t think he’s quite there yet, but he sure looks like someone who could develop into an all-ACC player, and he looks like he still is adusting to being a ‘big man’. In that respect, Henson reminds me a little of Mike Dunleavy, a guy who never thought he’d be a forward and then had a massive growth spurt. Also at the Real Deal was UNC target Nolan Dennis (6’5″ SG). Dennis is being pursued by UNC heavily along with Memphis.

Derrick Favors

I keep hearing that Derrick Favors is likely to stay in the state of Georgia, and that would mean his recruiting would be between Georgia Tech and Georgia. I’m pretty sure North Carolina is out of the running, but that hasn’t stopped Duke from stepping up their recruitment of him.


Kenny Boynton at the Real Deal

April 21, 2008

ACC target Kenny Boynton was named the MVP of The Real Deal on the Hill, which took place in Arkansas this weekend. Boynton, a 6’2″ PG from Florida is reportedly very high on the Duke Blue Devils’ coveted list as well as Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami and Wake Forest.

Boynton has stated that he has no leader at this time.


Daniel Orton, lazy or just not challenged?

April 20, 2008

Maryland target Daniel Orton has gotten the ‘lazy’ tag, but he is a big body that entices a lot of top programs. In the last two tournaments, Orton showed that he can be a force when he puts his mind to it. It’s really tough to gauge how players like that develop in college, but a lot of times it can mean missed potential? I remember the knock on Major Wingate was taking plays off, and he did that at Tennessee, skipping out early.

A key point for players to get recruited and then have a successful career is consistency, consistency, consistency. This is one of the factors why so many programs are salivating over Derrick Favors, who is known for playing hard and consistent, regardless of the opponent.

Can you guys think of players who had the ‘lazy’ tag in high school that ended up looking great in college?


Derrick Favors is Consistent

April 19, 2008

The latest on Favors’ recruitment is officially that he is considering “all” schools, and spectators are commenting on his consistency as a player. Regarded by most as the top prospect of the 2009 class, Favors’ Atlanta Celtics pounded their first over matched opponent in the Real Deal at the Hill.

The Real Deal at the Hill tournament is played at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AK), through Sunday (April 20), with only $8 all-day tickets. This is not some out of the way tournament for just Favors, there are several ACC recruits scheduled to play, including Kenny Boynton.

Arkansas is the center of the prep basketball universe this weekend with the Old School Super Regional going on in Conway, AK, with tickets only $10.

Jordan Classic on ESPN2

For those not traveling to Arkansas, you can catch some of the top prep stars from the Class of 2008 on ESPN2 tonight at 9pm in the Jordan Brand Classic. Good chance to see some guys who might be household names for ACC fans in the next couple of years.

ACC commits:

Al-Farouq Aminu, F (Wake Forest)
Ed Davis, PF (North Carolina)
Iman Shumpert, PG (Georgia Tech)
Tony Woods, PF (Wake Forest)

One guy who is not coming to the ACC and will probably be one-and-done is point guard phenom Brandon Jennings, but I still like to watch him play. He plays with the arrogant abandon of of someone who is one step quicker than everyone on the court.


Video: Dexter Strickland, Dominic Cheek, Kenny Boynton

April 19, 2008

Some more video of several players, including UNC commit Dexter Strickland and ACC targets Dominic Cheek, Lance Stephenson and Kenny Boynton can be found here.

These clips are pretty good, just highlight moves and some slow motion replays. Hard to tell from these clips, but Strickland’s follow through looks pretty good. He may have a little “sharp right turn” at the end of his shot, which could be a bit of a problem when he’s covered by bigger guards in the ACC (shots have to be a lot more accurate when you’re guarded by a guy two inches taller than you and every bit as fast), but whenever I’ve seen him, his shots are almost always in transition – his shot may not have any flaws, it could just be the momentum of the particular play.

Kenny Boynton has a nice running jumper, although on his three pointers I noticed a little tendency to “slingshot” a little bit. Of course, I’m more of the school that thinks consistency of shot may be more valuable than form. I do tend to notice little things about player’s shots. Boynton plays pretty much like a shooting guard, which at 6’2″ he can get by with in college. I think he might struggle initially if he had to handle the ball against pure point guards, but he can handle the ball well enough for a SG. He tends to carry the ball a little bit, which can turn into a full blown problem when facing a little guy with good hands. Boynton does seem to have nice body control, even in the lane. He can take a bit of contact, alter his shot and finish.


Kenny Boynton setting visits

April 18, 2008

Rivals is reporting that ACC recruit Kenny Boynton has started setting up his visits[Subscription Required].

ACC Schools recruiting Boynton include Duke, Miami, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Florida State, although I’ve heard that Duke is really gunning for him.
Boynton was also just named to the Florida first-team All-State.

I haven’t seen Boynton play in person yet, so I will have to either travel to an event he’s at, get him on film, or fly down to Florida next season.


Dominic Cheek on ACC Schools

April 17, 2008

New Jersey shooting guard Dominic Cheek talks about his recruiting in this interview at North Star Basketball. Cheek is actively being recruited by several schools in the ACC, but he has always been a fan of UNC:

NB: What are some of the schools?
DC: Villanova, Texas, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Florida, Marquette, Kansas, it’s just . . . a lot of colleges.

NB: What are you looking for in a school?
DC: Great academics and a great coach that can get me to the next level.

NB: Is there a school that growing up you’ve always wanted to play for, that you always dreamed of playing for?
DC: Oh yeah, it was North Carolina, [that was] my school really, [while] growing up.

However, Cheek points out that he does not have a clear leader at this point.

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