Austin Rivers: A Player We’d Like To See In the ACC

July 5, 2010

It seemed like Austin Rivers was destined to stay near his home in Florida.

After he committed to the in-state Florida Gators, it seemed like a done deal. The Gators would get one of the best point guards in the 2011 class, Austin would stay close to home (Gainesville is relatively close to Winter Park, FL) and everything seemed settled.

But as Rivers continued to improve, he began to consider that he may have committed too early, and after mulling it over, eventually de-committed from the Gators and decided to weigh other offers. He still is considering Florida as a high possibility, but the full court press from other schools such as UNC and Duke is now in full effect.

Rivers, whose father is the famed ex-Atlanta Hawks PG, Doc Rivers, knows all about the world of basketball from his father’s current job as coach of the Boston Celtics, and an older brother who plays for Indiana:

“[Doc Rivers’] four kids like the idea of having a father who coaches in the NBA. Spencer loves shooting baskets at TD Garden before games. Austin Rivers is accustomed to seeing his father at a lot of his Winter Park High School games and fully understood that he had other responsibilities. Jeremiah Rivers will be a redshirt senior guard at Indiana.”

So where will Austin Rivers end up? Right now it’s still up in the air, but he is a special talent that we’d love to see in the ACC.

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Finding NBA News and College Basketball News In The Digital Age

July 4, 2010

Nolan Smith

We love college basketball around here.

As the season ended a couple of months ago, a lot has happened in the world of college basketball, even as the sports world turned its’ attention away from the Final Four and March Madness, and focused on the NBA Finals, and then the 2010 World Cup.

But that did not mean teams like UNC and Duke suddenly took a long break. The players immediately started working for next season, as being a high profile, high potential athlete today means “no offseason”.

So even as the demand for NCAA betting news might wind down for the rest of basketball nation, there are still a lot of basketball related news stories that just don’t make the front page, such as our recent coverage of the Chris Paul camp, where top NCAA players showed up just to work on their skills. Or the summer pro-am leagues, where players from Wake Forest, NC State, Duke and UNC are already playing against each other. For most fans, the first time they will see incoming UNC phenom Harrison Barnes playing against Duke returning upperclassman Kyle Singler will be sometime in February. However, Barnes has already been playing against the Duke star in the summer. So, who covers these events?

The answer is, “not many people”. There are a handful of sites and a few published media who even pay attention to what happens in college basketball once the final buzzer sounds on March Madness. That’s what makes the modern Internet age so wonderful for fans, in that when these events used to happen, no one knew about it. Now, with online media outlets able to provide at least some information, fans are slowly realizing that their favorite sport doesn’t stop.

Following their favorite players on Twitter, fans realize that those players aren’t just stars that show up a game time. College players tweet about class schedules, their opinions on current events, and talk to other team mates, giving an insight into their world.

It makes us wonder: what would Wilt Chamberlain have tweeted about?


For NC State, It Has To Be This Year

June 30, 2010

Sidney Lowe

By Marcus Shockley

Sidney Lowe has been feeling the pressure.

It is, unfortunately, the very same pressure that built to the point that it sent Lowe’s predecessor, Herb Sendek, to the desert clime of Arizona State, even after several years of making the NCAA Tournament. It’s the pressure of two major basketball powerhouses within minutes of NC State’s campus in Raleigh.

Duke and North Carolina aren’t just tough competition. Considering that the school own the last two national championships, and three of the last six, the two behemoths of basketball are beating the entire nation, not just the ACC. Add in the pounding that the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference can lay on any team and it’s a hard fight to win.

Sidney Lowe took over the team and pledged to make it competitive, but a quick slide back into obscurity has made the Wolfpack faithful edgy. Last season’s team finally showed some spark at the end of the season, but still lacked the deep reserves of talent that will be needed if they want to climb back out of the ACC cellar.

The recruiting class that Lowe has coming in this season can get it done. Much like Paul Hewitt last season, Lowe has the horses to compete, even though they will be young.

Now, he just has to prove he can coach a talented stable of young players, because one or more of them might bolt early.

Three five star players are coming in, and all of them might have futures beyond college. C.J. Leslie is coming in off a high school All-American season, Ryan Harrow, the speedy point guard, will be able to see time on the court quickly and Lorenzo Brown will finally add his combo guard skills after taking a year long detour. Added with NC State’s returning roster, it’s time for Lowe to prove himself by returning back the NCAA tournament.

Anything less, and the pressure from Chapel Hill and Durham will probably force him out the door.


Desmond Hubert: Heavy ACC Interest

June 29, 2010

Desmond Hubert is one of the better big men available in the 2011 class, a pure post player who comes in at 6’9″ and plays his high school basketball in New Jersey.

Desmond has said he will probably land in the Big East or the ACC, and in our related story on BasketballElite.com, Alex Kline reports that he has offers and interest from plenty of those schools.

Desmond is a big man who “plays” big, meaning he’s not drifting outside to shoot from the perimeter and works hard to get garbage buckets, or be in the right position for a slashing guard to feed.


Chris Paul Camp Scouting Report: Marquis Rankin

June 14, 2010

The Chris Paul Elite Guard camp is not a showcase event.

Players are looking to get better, not show off for college coaches or recruiters. That being said, it’s still interesting to see the players who attend and what they can show while working out with some of the best high school and college players in the country.

Marquis Rankin (PG, 6’0″, 2011) who committed to Virginia Tech in April, impressed with his ability to execute the drills, has a good floater and handles the ball solidly. In his group on the second day, he probably handled the ball handling drills the best, naturally keeps his eyes up while dribbling and has a lot of solid fundamentals.

He pushes the ball extremely well, is a tough player in transition and has a keen passing awareness. He should see extensive playing time at Virginia Tech and likely will contend for the starting PG spot.


Chris Paul Elite Camp 2010, Day One

June 11, 2010

By Marcus Shockley

The Chris Paul Elite Guard Camp is exactly what it sounds like: a high intensity skills camp designed to work specifically on the skills needed to be an elite point guard, not just at the college level but beyond.

This event is a no-nonsense camp not intended to showcase players, but to work strictly on their game. Chris Paul immerses himself and the attendees in all-out workouts, and the pace is fast, with only a couple of minutes per drill before switching to a new drill.

The court is divided into college and high school players, and on the college side is a bevy of known stars and up and coming players. Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Seth Curry from Duke, along with incoming UNC freshman Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes. Wake guard and local star CJ Harris is also in attendance, as well as Durand Scott (Miami), Brandon Triche (Syracuse), “Scoop” Jardine (Syracuse), and Kemba Walker (UConn). I’ll go more into the college players in a future post. It’s important to note the presence of Kyle Singler and Harrison Barnes, forwards working their butts off in a point guard camp.

Harrison Barnes high release is nearly indefensible by a guard, with Barnes’ 6’8″ size and high release getting off shots easily.

The first night features a single workout session and my focus was primarily on the high school players, and I’ll be posting more about several key recruits in attendance including Rodney Purvis (PG, 6’3″, 2013), Marquis Rankin (PG/SG, 6’0″, 2011) and Bishop Daniels (PG, 6’2″, 2011) as well as many more which I’ll cover in more detail. Rankin has committed to Virginia Tech.

The camp is intensely instructive, with coaches giving constant instruction to players on position, footwork and most notably defense. Although scouting players isn’t as accurate after these workouts as their legs tire, there was still much to glean from the first night.

One highlight of the camp was watching Harrison Barnes working out in drills with Chris Paul, and one on one with Chris Paul taking part, going against Kendall Marshall and several other players.

Quinn Cook (PG, 6’1″, 2011) was unable to participate in the first night of workouts because he tweaked his ankle the previous night in a summer league game. He said he felt confident he could participate the next day and was icing his ankle.


ACC Basketball Recruiting: Brandon Ashley

June 9, 2010

By Alex Kline

Brandon Ashley basketball recruiting
Image from ESPN

Brandon Ashley isn’t your typical sophomore in high school. Standing at 6-foot-8, this young, athletic man is developing his game for the next level. At Bishop O’Dowd in California, Ashley is striving at a very young age.

While playing with both Bishop O’Dowd, as well as his AAU team the Oakland Soldiers, Brandon is bound for a big summer. Slam.com ranks him as the seventh best prospect in the class of 2012. This summer he will attend events at the Nike Hoop Jamboree in St. Louis, Peach Jam and Las Vegas. Along with that, Ashley is on the US National team and will attend tryouts very soon.

While his game is still developing, Ashley competes with the ranks of big men in his class like Jamesville-Dewitt’s DaJuan Coleman and Andre Drummond of St. Thomas Moore. While Ashley has not received as much hype as he deserves he will get there soon. His game is progressing along the way. “My game is developing right now,” said the 6’8 Power Forward. “I have a pretty good inside game and am currently working on my outside game. I have a solid jumper and my handle is progressing.” It may be progressing but colleges are already taking note.

That being said, Ashley is drawing plenty of interest from different schools. West Coast schools have primarily noticed his abilities so far. “California, Washington, Arizona, UCLA and Stanford have offered me,” said the California native. “There are no early favorites right now. I am still open to all schools.” Ashley is taking the recruiting process slow and is in no hurry whatsoever. “I haven’t really visited any schools yet. I have been in Stanford and Cal’s gyms but that is about it so far.” Look for more offers to roll in this summer for Brandon.

On a final interesting note, North Carolina recently got in contact with Brandon and expressed some interest in him. “UNC will always be a great school but at the moment they aren’t any higher on my list than any other school,” stated Ashley.

From the looks of it, Brandon will take his recruitment slowly. He has a long way to go in developing his game to the next level but he is bound for greatness sometime soon. Check him out on the west coast sometime and for people on the east coast he will be at the Peach Jam ready to do work!