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:


Kyrie Irving picks Duke; Update on Harrison Barnes

October 22, 2009

Kyrie Irving (6’1″, PG/SG, 2010) has officially committed to Duke, giving Coach K another guard to run the offense and adds a great passer to the Blue Devils. This recruit was needed by the Devils and many in Durham will be breathing easier with him in the fold.

Harrison Barnes (SF, 6′ 7″, 2010) is now officially a much watched ACC recruit, with his top three reportedly UNC, Duke and Kansas. While the Iowa high school star has taken an official visit to UNC and Oklahoma, he’s also taken one to Kansas among several ‘unofficial’ visits. So the question is, where would Barnes fit in the best? There’s no doubt that this battle for Barnes is heating up.


ACC Players in the Draft; UNC Offers McAdoo

June 26, 2009

A quick rundown of ACC players taken in the NBA draft last night:

First Round

#12, Charlotte – Gerald Henderson , Duke
#13, Indiana – Tyler Hansbrough, UNC
#16, Chicago – James Johnson, Wake Forest
#18, Minnesota – Ty Lawson, UNC (traded to Denver)
#19, Atlanta – Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
#28, Minnesota – Wayne Ellington, UNC
#29, New York – Toney Douglas, Florida State

Second Round

#46, Phoenix – Danny Green, UNC
#51, San Antonio – Jack McClinton, Miami

Some initial head scratches in the overall draft, such as why Jack McClinton wasn’t drafted higher or why the Bobcats took a guard when when they need post players so badly.

James McAdoo offered by UNC

James McAdoo (PF, 6’8″, 2011) now has another offer from an ACC school, and it’s a big one. The UNC Tar Heels have offered McAdoo according to Scout.com, and this offer is added to the existing ones he has from Virginia, Clemson, Kentucky and Florida. McAdoo is one of the top ranked recruits for 2011 and has several big schools after him. He’s also strongly considering Duke at this time.

McAdoo is a strong player with good patience and timing. That timing allows him to be both a shot blocker and a scorer when combined with his solid 10 foot floater and ability to wade through traffic to get through the hoop. Definitely a big time prospect.

Here’s some video of McAdoo:


Noel Johnson Commits to ACC; NBA Draft Notes

June 25, 2009

Last summer we tracked Noel Johnson (6’6″, SF, 2009) as an ACC recruit, but despite looking at several ACC schools, Johnson ultimately committed to Tim Floyd and USC. However, Tim Floyd was found to be guilty of recruiting violations and is now no longer the head coach of the Trojans.

Johnson decided to withdraw his commitment from USC and now has decided on Clemson, giving Oliver Purnell some talent on the wing to help replace K.C. Rivers and Terrence Ogelsby.

Sean May, Raymond Felton & J.J. Redick

A quick note on some former ACC stars, if you watched the NBA Finals a few days ago you know that J.J. Redick has played well but seems to be underutilized by the Magic. However, it is apparent that he’s going to stay in the NBA for now, and I expect the Magic to try and trade JJ and Rafer Alston during the draft.

Meanwhile, two former UNC stars from the Tar Heels’ 2005 national championship team are seeing their careers continue in different directions. The Charlotte Bobcats have decided not to make a qualifying offer to Sean May, which would make him a restricted free agent. At the same time, Charlotte has made a qualifying offer to Raymond Felton. A qualifying offer is just a starting point, which means that the player can look at other teams but the Charlotte has the first right to match the offer in order to keep the player.

I’m not surprised with Felton, one of the few bright spots for the Bobcats and one of the more underrated starting point guards in the NBA. The Bobcats have never been a serious playoff contender and thus, no one on the Bobcats gets much publicity, not even Gerald Wallace or Emeka Okafor.

With Sean May, it’s all about injury. He’s been injured or dealing with chronic pain for nearly his entire stint in the pros. In three seasons he’s been unable to play even one season’s worth of games. The reality is that the Bobcats still might sign Sean, but the team can’t keep money tied up at the PF spot when they are so thin there. I believe that the move not to offer May is a sign that they want to see what they can get in the draft.

NBA Draft

Ah, the NBA draft. One of the most annoying things about the NBA is how much they promote personalities over teams, and it often starts right here on draft day. This year the perennial losing L.A. Clippers are sitting on the number one draft pick, and everyone expects them to take Blake Griffin, a monster PF who should be an impact player. I like Griffin’s game, which involves basically leaping from the half court line and dunking on anyone who gets in his path. The only concern I would have is that when UNC thumped his Oklahoma Sooners in the NCAA tournament, he seemed to have a hard time handling the double team and doesn’t seem to have much mid range game. Still, the NBA is about man-to-man and he is an athletic freak.

I see a lot of mock drafts picking UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet as the number 2 pick, and I’ve got to say I see that as a huge mistake. I’d take Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, James Johnson or Stephen Curry over Thabeet. I think Thabeet is the most overrated player in this year’s draft.

Most underrated player going into the draft? Possibly Tyler Hansbrough. It’s fashionable to hate Hansbrough and claim he’ll be a joke in the pros. Throw all the college awards out the window, because they mean nothing to the NBA, but in Hansbrough, I see a better version of Glenn “Big Baby” Davis or Corliss Williamson. He has developed a better shot than either of those players but he will need to be more of a rebounder in the pros. Charlotte worked out Hansbrough, Gerald Henderson, Steph Curry, K.C. Rivers and Ben McCauley over the past couple of weeks. Charlotte’s roster move with Sean May could make room for Hansbrough at the 13th pick. Most drafts have Tyler going late first round, but it’s probably going to depend on the Bobcats. There aren’t many PF players to pick from this year, and the ‘Cats will have to decide if they want to take the best player available (which could be Brandon Jennings) or draft for need.


Big Games Help Basketball Recruiting

December 18, 2008

Adam Zagoria has a post about the Duke Xavier game and how it helps recruiting, and that’s why it was scheduled:

Both teams want to continue to draw on the rich talent pool in the New York/New Jersey area…

Xavier’s emergence this season as a power team (which they’ll get a chance to prove when they take on the Blue Devils) is due in part to their ability to recruit the NY/NJ region.

Meanwhile, Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, tops the PrepNation.com poll:

1. Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei
2. Newark, N.J., St. Benedict’s
3. Mouth of Wilson, Va., Oak Hill
4. Elizabeth, N.J., St. Patrick
5. Los Angeles, Calif., Fairfax
6. Duncanville, Texas
7. Henderson, Nev., Findlay
8. Brooklyn, N.Y., Lincoln
9. Minnetonka, Minn., Hopkins
10. Rockville, Md., Montrose Christian

Of course, Mater Dei boasts Travis Wear (PF, 6’9″, 2009) and David Wear (PF, 6’9″, 2009), both of whom have committed to UNC, as well as Andy Brown (PF, 6’8″, 2009), a big man who has committed to Stanford.


Harrison Barnes Gets Big Looks

December 4, 2008

Being one of the best high school basketball players in the country is a progression, and when you are junior and you are a rising star, the scrutiny ramps up quickly as you head into your ‘rising senior AAU summer’.

Consider what’s going on with Harrison Barnes (SF, 6’6″,2010), who UNC and Duke are both recruiting (along with UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky and Florida), who recently had several big name coaches watching him play:

Kansas’ Bill Self, Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins and hometown hope Greg McDermott were in attendance. Barnes holds two dozen scholarship offers already.

Meanwhile, Justin Young has a nice writeup to help catch up on Derrick Favors and other Georgia related hoops.


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.


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.


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.


Dexter Strickland Makes His Move

November 9, 2008

Dexter Stickland (SG,6’3″,2009) has enough skill as a shooting guard to get an offer (which he accepted) from UNC. He can blast up and down the court, streaks to the hoop with dominating slashing moves, and can finish. He also has excellent hops.

But…

Strickland knows that at 6’3″, even with the talent he has, it’s an uphill battle. 6’3″ is a good height for a college shooting guard, but it’s even better for a point guard, and so Strickland is working on being able to play pure point by the time he reaches Chapel Hill, as seen on Nathan Blue’s blog (what’s up, Nathan!):

…when Strickland gets to North Carolina next year, he’s not going to be able to rely solely on his ability to put the ball in the basket. So the 6-foot-3, 180-pound playmaker has spent the past year learning what it takes to become a floor general, from running an offense to feeding the post.

It’s pretty common when an explosive player like Strickland to bring the ball up in high school and also be the team’s dominant scoring guard. Basically, he’s playing two positions depending on where he is on the floor. But when he gets to the ACC, he’s going to need to be more than a great shooting guard who can handle the ball ‘some’. In order to play point at this level, he’ll need to learn how to actually run an offense, and he’s already got the main thing he needs: patience.

Some of the best point guards to play in the ACC were outstanding at knowing when to push the ball and when to wait, such as Raymond Felton, Bobby Hurley, Jay Williams or Chris Paul. It’s a shooting guard’s natural tendency to push the ball, get to the hoop, be aggressive, score. It’s not always easy for players who are adept at this to learn how to switch gears when running the point. Only time will tell how well Strickland is at making the switch.