10 Basketball Recruiting Faces of the Future

November 30, 2008

Slam Online has a list of 10 Faces of the Future, and it’s probably a familiar list to anyone who follows college basketball recruiting, especially ACC basketball recruiting.

Topping the list is one the prizes of the 2010 class is Harrison Barnes (SF, 6’6″, 2010), a player who is being recruited by Duke and UNC, along with hometown Iowa State, Kansas, UCLA and Florida. Barnes is obviously one of the top players of the class.

Barnes has a very polished offensive game, smooth and always under control. He can handle the ball, shoot outside and slash to the rim. He’s not a burner or speedster, he’s definitely a very gifted small forward.

Top Freshman, Etc.

November 29, 2008

Although we pretty much stick to high school recruiting, it’s hard to ignore talking about the ACC now that the season has started. I noticed this post from the Bernie Ball blog, where he lays out his picks for the upcoming college basketball season, and he names the following players as his all-freshman team:

-Willie Warren, Oklahoma
-Samardo Samuels, Louisville
-Greg Monroe, Georgetown
-Tyreke Evans, Memphis
-Jrue Holliday, UCLA

This is a good group but I might knock off one of these guys in favor of Al-Farouq Aminu, when it’s all said and done. This list looks like it was created after watching only the first five games of the season and without actually being familiar with these players from their high school days. I’d be interested how this all ends up at the end of the season. Of course, that’s not to take anything away from these guys, and lists are just lists, nothing really meaningful.

Wake Forest’s Prospects

Over the summer, whenever I was asked which team in the ACC was going to surprise people, I answered, ‘Wake Forest’. I said that UNC would be the team to beat (that’s not hard to predict), Duke would be significantly better but still might struggle with post play down the stretch, and Wake Forest and Clemson would make some NCAA noise. So now the season has kicked off and I’m waiting to see how right or wrong I was. UNC has absolutely beaten the living daylights out of everyone they’ve played, even Kentucky and #8 Notre Dame, while Duke has looked really good against really weak teams. That’s not a knock; all of the ACC teams make a habit of playing as many ‘tune up’ games as possible, with one or two actual games in the mix, before going into the brutal ACC play. It’s not uncommon for teams to have stellar records before starting ACC play.

Some early thoughts so far? Boston College might really be in for a rough season, Maryland already looks completely inconsistent, UNC and Duke look like they are ready for the NCAA tournament already and Wake is playing well, despite being so young. Jury’s still out on Miami.

Basketball Recruiting Roundup 11/27/2008

November 27, 2008

Some minor notes today… Jamil Wilson (SF, 6’7″, 2009), the slashing player who was at one time listing Duke as a possibility seems to have completely moved away from the Blue Devils and is leaning more towards Michigan State, Texas, Oregon or Marquette. We are moving our tracking of Wilson over to our Basketball Recruiting blog, where we discuss national players.

Wilson is not expected to decide on a school until March, but he has said he was impressed with his visit to Michigan State and it seems that if he was to decide before then, possibly the Spartans would be the team he’d go with.

John Henson Makes An Impact

If you are a high school basketball coach, hearing that a 6’10” player suddenly transferred to your school is great news. When that player is UNC recruiting commitment John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009), a player who has a great shot at being a first round NBA pick, it’s the surprise of a career.

John Henson arrived at Florida’s Sickles High School and made an impact before he’d even played a game or attended a practice, putting the high school into the national recruiting scene. He continues to bring good fortune to the school, and should make them a serious contender for the state title. Yeah, he’s that good.

ACC fans who root against Carolina are not going to like the lineup next season of Davis, Zeller and Henson – three players who will likely all end up in the NBA.

NCAA Throws the Booklet at Indiana

November 26, 2008

It was pretty obvious that Kelvin Sampson broke NCAA rules while recruiting high school players when he was the Indiana Hoosiers basketball coach. When Sampson left the Hoosiers and went on to be an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, he left IU holding the bag and Hoosier fans worried that the NCAA would lower the boom on their beloved program, sending it further down the road into basketball obscurity.

It seems that the NCAA realized that Sampson was the person responsible and not so much the school, which means that even though the Hoosiers only forfeit one scholarship and are on three years of probation, Sampson cannot recruit players until 2012, and then only in a limited fashion. This is designed to keep Sampson out of college basketball for at least five years.

Of course, I have to bring up the fact that Sampson already ignored recruiting rules, and he apparently lied to the NCAA, so if he landed another coaching job before the five years is up, what’s to really prevent him from breaking the rules again?

The best part about all of this is Sampson’s official reaction, a statement which said he was “deeply disappointed” by the NCAA ruling and “things that happened on my watch and therefore I will take responsibility.” Uh…yeah, ok. You made phone calls to recruits. That’s a far cry from ‘happened on my watch’ and it’s even farther from ‘take full responsibility’. Taking full responsibility means admitting that you, Kelvin Sampson, repeatedly called players when you weren’t supposed to, even though you knew the rules. It means admitting that you not only knew the rules, but you did it because you thought it would help you land those players. It means admitting that you cheated, you knew you were cheating, and you did it anyway, and you shouldn’t have. That’s taking ‘full responsibility’.

All Sampson is doing is what has become common in the United States culture: break the rules, break the law, and then, even when caught, admit nothing. Then, go on about your life as though nothing ever happened and wait for people to forget.

Although I honestly don’t know how seriously making extra phone calls really ranks on the ‘rule breaking’ scale, it bothers me more that Sampson can’t even admit to this minor offense.

UNC Basketball Recruiting Loads Up

November 24, 2008

It’s no secret that the UNC Tar Heels have had a lot of recruiting success over the years, and the last few have brought in quite a few stars. Now UNC has loaded up again for the 2009 class, with Dexter Strickland (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009), who is expected to share point guard duties with Larry Drew II, Leslie McDonald (SG, 6’4″, 2009), Travis Wear (PF,6’9″,2009), David Wear (PF,6’9″,2009) and John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009).

These players have secured the #1 ranking class for 2009, but I think a lot of has to do with the pure potential of John Henson. Dexter Strickland should see significant minutes quickly, and with Hansbrough graduating this year, the Wear twins will have time to share the paint with Tyler Zeller, Ed Davis and Deon Thompson, who will be a senior and likely starter. The quadrangle of Davis, Zeller, Thompson and Henson will be a huge force in the paint for a team that has banked for several years on guards with supersonic speed like Ray Felton and Tywon Lawson, and although Strickland is a fast player, he’s still making the transition to point guard and only time will tell if he’s able to do so.

Wake Forest Basketball Tickets

November 22, 2008

Wake Forest Basketball Tickets

Wake Forest has a team that I’ve been praising since last spring, with the high octane offense of future NBA talent. This is going to be a team that’s fun to watch…unless you are the opposition, of course.

Click Here For Wake Forest Basketball Tickets

Notable games this season include home and away versus Duke, which in recent years has gone from being an ACC rivalry to a ‘bad blood’ brawl, Indiana, NCAA tournament giant-killer Bucknell and of course, North Carolina.

Durand Scott Picks Miami

November 21, 2008

Big win for Miami’s basketball recruiting efforts as Durand Scott (SG/SF, 6’4″,2009) has decided to play his college basketball in the sun of Coral Gables. Scott is a player who thrives in the pressure of big games and should get his chance to show off his skills in the ACC.

Scott fits in well with the chip-on-their-shoulder attitude that Miami basketball has adopted in order to survive in the ACC. He will need to work on his handle in order to become a true SG, right now he’s got more of a small forward’s game.

However, he is a skilled addition to the Miami roster next season and Frank Haith continues to bring up the level of Miami basketball.

Tyler Zeller’s Injury Makes Him a 2009 Recruit

November 20, 2008

Bad fortune struck the Tar Heels in the waning minutes of their blow out victory over Kentucky. As Tyler Zeller raced down the floor for a lay up, he was fouled and landed awkwardly on the floor beneath the basket, breaking his wrist. This most likely means Zeller will redshirt this season.

Zeller had looked really good in his debut for the Heels but looked a little out of sorts in the second game. Now he’s effectively a 2009 recruit, getting so little time this season.

Kelly and Plumlee Sign With Duke

November 19, 2008

Even though it’s not as common for basketball recruits to back out of their commitments as high school football players, coaches still breathe a little easier once their prized recruits actually turn in their letter of intent.

Duke got two of it’s commits when two big men, Ryan Kelly (6’10”, PF, 2009) and Mason Plumlee (6’11”,PF, 2009), signed the LOI’s and Duke was able to officially announce them as future Blue Devils.

Duke fans are hoping that the lack of inside play will be helped by the additions of Kelly and Plumlee next season.

Meanwhile, UNC Asheville got a commit from Jaron Lane (SF, 6’4″, 2009), from Greenville, NC.

Duke is Recruiting John Wall

November 18, 2008

So maybe it’s something that nobody thought would happen, but Duke is recruiting top point guard John Wall.

Since NC State has been recruiting Wall for some time, who knows if Duke even has a chance to get involved? But it seems that Wall has shown at least a little interest. Duke going after Wall is either:

1. a sign that they feel they will need a point guard next season (with rumors that Nolan Smith might want to try to turn pro) after losing the recruiting battle for Kenny Boynton to Florida.

2. John Wall’s attitude may have changed, and possible the ‘factors’ that have been, up until now, keeping Duke and UNC away from Wall are losing potency.

I guess time will tell.