The rumors of Glen Rice, Jr. (SG, 6’4″, 2009) committing today turned out to be true, and he’s going to be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket. Rice is a big guard (which Hewitt likes), and he plays a lot like a small forward, but he’s another good pickup in what is becoming an excellent class for GT.
Some video of Tony Chenault (PG, 6’1″, 2010), a Wake Forest recruit:
Chenault has Wake on his list of options and seems to like the Deacons at this point.
The Lance Stephenson Saga: St. John’s Edition
At one time, way back in the day, hearing that a top recruit was considering St. John’s was just another day in college basketball. Now, it seems unlikely, so when a story….er, rumor…surfaced that Lance Stephenson, a player who already has as many detractors as fans, was suddenly thinking of playing closer to home, people started wondering what was up. It seems the story, expounded and debunked by Adam Zagoria, was that a position would be given to Lance’s high school coach if he played for St. John’s.
The saga of Lance Stephenson has officially put Lance into the category of ‘more packaging than player’ as a high schooler. A few weeks ago, Lance made news when he was cut from the USA basketball U-18 roster. When Brandon Jennings decided to try his luck playing in Italy instead of Arizona, people immediately started talking about Lance doing the same. Bear in mind that almost none of these things which have gotten so much attention were Lance playing well, or even at all in the case of the USA Basketball roster.
FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman has been a critic of Stephenson in the past and wrote this about Lance’s recruitment:
How about the fact that Kansas’ Bill Self was the only high-major coach in the gym watching Stephenson.
That’s right. Self and his good buddy, Norm Roberts of St. John’s, are basically the only ones actively recruiting Stephenson.
In short, Lance has become famous in the recruiting world for being famous. He’s a very good player, but he’s not – at this point in his career – even the best player in the class of 2009. This is not to say he doesn’t have promise and star potential, but at this point, the media machine around Lance is more interested in “Lance the Personality” instead of “Lance the Basketball Player”. Here is the blunt truth: right now, the NBA isn’t any higher on the Lance Stephenson Show than Bob McKillop was. In other words, Lance needs to play a lot stronger to secure a place in the first round. Right now, we are not talking lottery. We are talking maybe first round. This isn’t to bring Lance down, but it’s time to stop talking about Lance going the Brandon Jennings route until Lance proves himself a lot more.
While Lance has been getting press for things other than basketball, UNC commit John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009) has been getting press for playing the game well. Here is an interview with the future Tar Heel, in which he expounds on his game and why he chose UNC:
What do you contribute your high level of play and improved stock to?
“I think it’s just a combination of my hard work and being in the right situation to perform and show my skills against the best players.”
Right now it seems like there are three players in the running for the #1 ranking: Henson, Favors and John Wall. Of course, there is still a year left before the final rankings (which are worth about 8 cents American) are published, but Henson has not just played well, he’s been absolutely phenomenal, against Renardo Sidney (PF, 6’9″, 2009) and Derrick Favors(PF, 6’10”, 2009). The most interesting thing about Henson is that even though he’s playing against the best power forwards in the country, he’s most likely a wing in the NBA.
Ryan Harrow, suddenly popular
Think the phone stops ringing when a player commits? Not always, especially when that player is a relative unknown and hasn’t signed a LOI. Ryan Harrow was contacted by several schools after he committed to the NC State Wolfpack:
“I’m going to State,” he said. “That’s my school.”
Since his commitment to State, several schools, including Clemson, Florida, Tennessee, have called.
“But I’m going to State,” he said. “I like Coach [Sidney] Lowe and the atmosphere there a lot.
In high school football, players commit and de-commit all the time, which makes the recruiting process almost silly by comparison to basketball. But with more de-commitments happening in the b-ball world, it’s small wonder that players keep listening to offers even after they make their decision. Although players can change their minds until they sign their LOI, players committing early cause problems for colleges, who take the scholarships off the board once they get a player’s verbal agreement. Maryland coach Gary Williams would have rather spent his scholarships elsewhere rather than have a player hold onto it for months and then bail to another school. There probably needs to be limits as to how early a player can commit, and most college coaches agree.
Ra’Sean Dickey to leave Georgia Tech
Some news that slightly affects recruiting for Georgia Tech: fresh on the heels of getting the commit from Mfon Udofia, fifth year senior Ra’Sean Dickey has decided to leave school and pursue his pro career overseas. I remember watching Dickey play in rural Marlboro county, SC, at a time when he was being looked at by schools like UNC, not far from where Charlotte Bobcats PG Raymond Felton played high school ball. Ra’Sean’s potential took a detour due to injuries, so hopefully he can find success playing pro ball elsewhere.