Triad Pro Am Highlights 2010

August 8, 2010

We’ve discussed the Triad Pro-Am in previous years, a summer league that features a lot of the Wake Forest incoming players and some other area college players. This year featured several new Wake players, including J.T. Terrell and Travis McKie, along with guys who just finished up their careers at Wake such as L.D. Williams.

Here’s some video highlights of this year’s summer league:

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ACC Basketball Recruiting Profile: Jabari Brown

June 8, 2010

By Alex Kline

Jabari Brown
Image from MaxPreps

When Jabari Brown decided to leave national powerhouse Findlay Prep in January of 2010, critics believed it was the wrong decision. Brown, not only rose to the occasion, but jumped in the rankings and took his game to another level.

While the 6-foot-3 shooting guard (Class of 2011) returned to his hometown of Oakland, California, he would enroll at Oakland High School. The junior averaged over 23 points per contest as he helped lead his squad to a winning record. Through that and his jump in the world of AAU helped lift his recruiting to new levels.

Brown, who plays with the Oakland Soldiers, is part of one of the most talented teams in the country. The Soliders consist of players like Findlay Prep’s Nick Johnson and Jesuit’s Kyle Wiltjer, both top 50 players in the class of 2011. While playing in the top tournaments around the country this summer, Brown is attracting coaches’ eyes towards him.

The California golden boy currently has offers from Georgia Tech, Washington, Arizona State, California, Maryland, UNLV, Wake Forest and Next Mexico. Two ACC schools, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, were the most recent to offer Jabari. Another ACC squad, Maryland, has also become involved.

While the distance on paper from California to the East Coast doesn’t seem like one most players are willing to take, “distance is not a factor” for the sharp-shooter. Maryland appeals to Jabari due to their, “tradition, conference and Head Coach Gary Williams is a great coach.” He likes Georgia Tech because, “they have had so many good guards, their conference, and Head Coach Paul Hewitt.” Wake Forest is also a school he enjoys because of, “the feel that I have gotten from the new coaching staff, along with their style of play.” Despite the departure of Head Coach Dino Gaudio from Wake Forest, his replacement, Jeff Bzdelik of Colorado, has done an excellent job. “I think Coach Bzdelik is a good coach who would put me in the position to flourish from style of play,” said Brown. As of now, Brown has no favorites and is nowhere close to making a decision on where he will commit.

If you break down Jabari Brown’s game, it is simple, yet deadly. Jabari puts it best when he says, “I’m a guard that can score from anywhere on the court, as well as get my teammates involved.” He also said, “I’m a leader who hates losing.” He is simply deadly.

So far, Brown’s spring season of AAU with the Soldiers has gone well. They have been one of the top ranked teams in the country. Scout.com’s Evan Daniels even called them the best AAU team of the spring. Brown will take his talent to Chris Paul camp, Paul Pierce’s Skills Academy and LeBron’s Skills Academy.

Watch out for Jabari Brown this summer as he looks to explode onto the AAU scene even more. He has already been ranked as one of the top 15 players in the country by Scout.com and looks to go higher on the list. Just like his shot, this kid is nothing but net.

This article originally appeared on BasketballElite.com.


Wake Forest Lands First Recruit of Bzdelik Era

May 16, 2010

Wake Forest’s new head coach, Jeff Bzdelik, found his first order of business to secure the existing recruits with the help of his assistant coaches.

His second need was to get out on the recruiting trail and keep bringing in talent so he can compete in the ACC.

His first recruit is Chase Fischer (SG, 6’3″, 2011), a player who averaged 32.1 ppg last season, had originally committed to Marshall, but later de-committed after a coaching change.

A visit to Wake Forest convinced Fischer to head to Winston-Salem for his college career.


Dino Gaudio…Gone

April 9, 2010

Three coaches have already exited the ACC following the NCAA season, the latest of which being Wake Forest parting ways with Dino Gaudio. Many in Winston-Salem, NC, were left a little perplexed as to why, after making the NCAA tournament and beating Texas in the first round, and after bringing in several highly touted recruits, was Gaudio let go?

The reasons given for Gaudio’s dismissal were the late season collapses during Gaudio’s tenure and inability to win in the postseason. If true, this should serve as a shot-across-the-bow to all of those coaches who think that expanding the NCAA tournament will somehow guarantee more coach’s jobs in the future, where Gaudio’s appearance in the tournament and last year’s number one ranking weren’t enough. In the ACC, Athletic Directors want to compete with Duke and UNC, and often just being a solid program isn’t enough.

This doesn’t mean that schools don’t often make mistakes. NC State became a mainstay in the NCAA tournament under Herb Sendek, but while his Wolfpack teams were solid and putting players consistently into the NBA, the Pack faithful soon tired of finishing behind the Blue Devils and Tar Heels and Sendek finally resigned and took a position at Arizona State. The Pack have been pretty much cellar dwellers ever since. While the NC State fans may be glad Sendek is gone, the case of Sendek, Gaudio and several other coaches serve as a legacy of impatience.

It’s not clear what, exactly, Wake Forest expected from their team and coach this season that would have saved Gaudio’s job. To be fair, last season was a bitter disappointment, given that the 2008-09 Demon Deacons had three future NBA players in Jeff Teague, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jeff Johnson, and a strong supporting cast in Ish Smith, L.D. Williams and Chas McFarland. By all rights, it was a team that should have made the Final Four. Ranked number one in February, they eventually limped into the tournament and were quickly bounced.

But this year’s team only has one lock for the NBA in Aminu, although Smith, Williams and McFarland all returned, and promising underclassmen were contributing. Looking at the talent level of the ACC, the Deacons would have been considered overachieving if they’d finished any higher than they did, and considering that many ACC schools got an unexpected bonus when UNC fell apart this season, Wake’s late season losses wouldn’t be enough to lose a coach his job in most cases after only three years.

It could have been last year’s flop or this season’s late loss to the flailing UNC that did Gaudio in. It could also be noted that while Gaudio was bringing in solid players, he wasn’t bringing in the type of players that his predecessor, Skip Prosser was. Prosser landed Aminu, Teague and Johnson prior to his untimely death and Gaudio had yet to bring in a single player of that hype. This isn’t to say Wake Forest doesn’t have NBA talent on it’s roster, but Johnson, Teague and Aminu were early-exit type players before they ever landed on campus. It’s possible that Ron Wellman, the Wake Forest AD, saw the lack of star power coming in, combined it with the late season underachieving and decided to make a change. It’s also a highly pressurized situation in the ACC. UNC had a horrible year by Tar Heel standards, but they are likely a possible favorite to compete again for the NCAA title as quickly as next season. No doubt Wellman considered that as well. However, his statements that Gaudio was fired because of the late season losing is insight into the fact that many ADs are too quick to pull the trigger, despite claiming otherwise, and this firing seems more the result of an irrational expectation of the current team. Unless Wake Forest is willing to take the risks that Kentucky is taking (everyone around the nation is wondering how fast the NCAA is going to show up in Lexington), the concept that they can bring in another coach who can immediately build a national power is a pipe dream. Even Prosser, by all rights a solid coach and recruiter, hadn’t really been able to prove he was the long term solution in the ACC. In the year of his death, he’d finally put together a team that had the talent to compete, but he still needed that major season to really show he was a coach to be reckoned with in the ACC, a league where you need a national title to be considered one of the big boys.

Was this firing the right move, or was it another case of a school being too impatient, giving up consistency in hopes of getting a big time winner? Only time will tell. Consider that Kentucky’s John Calipari had enough talent to win the NCAA and should have been a lock for the Final Four, but his job isn’t in jeopardy because he already has been to a title game, he’s got a reputation and he’s in his first year at UK. The margin between winning ‘enough’ and ‘not enough’ can be thin, and Gaudio had much less leeway.


Tobias Harris visits UConn; Melvin Tabb commits

February 9, 2009

Tobias Harris (PF, 6’8″, 2010), a player that several ACC schools are after, visited UConn for the Michigan game:

“They liked the trip,” Torrel Harris, the boys’ father, said. “Ray Allen, Cliff Robinson and Chris Smith were present at the game. Coach Calhoun was glad to see both of my sons at the game and spoke to them at length.”

Harris is still being recruited by Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Boston College.

Meanwhile, speaking of Wake Forest, the Deacons continued to get wins on the recruiting circuit by landing Melvin Tabb (PF, 6’8″, 2010), another in-state player. The Deacs have had quite a bit of success landing high profile North Carolina high school players. Tabb will need to improve his post play but might see time early if Wake epxeriences NBA defections between now and when he arrives. He’s got a lot of raw athletic ability, which appears to be one of the things Dino Gaudio looks for in building his roster.


Tobias Harris’ Blog

January 10, 2009

You might be following the recruitment of Tobias Harris (PF, 6’7″, 2010), one of the ACC’s top recruits, and you might have see our recent Q&A with Harris and heard that a few ACC teams are still in the mix for him.

Syracuse is another school interested in Harris, and one of the most interesting aspects of his high school basketball career is his blogging on Syracuse.com, which means that the Orangemen definitely are keeping up with his career, and with his recent injury, he’s blogging about being sidelined and missing games:

The next morning i got MRI results stating that the ligaments in my ankle were torn. It was devestating news for me. But everything happens for a reason and what doesnt kill you makes you stronger. The doctor said I’ll probably miss six to eight weeks.


Tobias Harris Q & A

January 3, 2009

Special thanks to C.J. Watson of GrassRootsBallin’ and Premo Hoops recruiting for providing this interview with ACC target Tobias Harris (PF, 6’7″, 2010)

Tobias Harris Q&A
Contibuted By: C.J. Watson
Premo Hoops Recruiting

PHR: What schools have offered you a scholarship?
TH: Arizona, Baylor, UConn, Florida State, Indiana, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Miami, Rutgers, St. John’s, Syracuse, Texas, Virginia, Wake Forest, WVU, Xavier, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Notre Dame, Providence, USC and Georgetown.

PHR: What schools do you have on your list?
TH: I have a top 11 as of right now but this list could definitely change. Louisville, Marquette, UConn, Maryland, Virginia, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Georgetown, WVU and USC.

PHR: What are some of the deciding factors for you when picking a school?
TH: The coaching staff and academics along with me feeling comfortable with the area.

PHR: Can you talk a little bit about the recent school visits you have taken and things you liked about each one?
TH: I went to Louisville and really liked the program they have and coach Pitino is a great guy. They play in a tough conference so that is a plus also. Maryland, Virginia and Georgetown were all great schools with great coaching staffs and atmosphere as well.

PHR: How was your summer on the AAU circuit?
TH: My summer went well I thought I played well at the events and really impressed many people.

PHR: How was your experience at the RBK All-American camp?
TH: The RBK camp was probably one of my best experiences this summer. I thought I played really well in a camp where everyone is an elite player.

PHR: What parts of your game did you focus on improving the most this summer?
TH: My defense and speed.

PHR: What do you feel are the strengths to your game?
TH: My versatility and shooting along with finding ways to score.

PHR: What do you feel are the weakest parts in your game?
TH: I don’t call out a true weakness; I just call it something to improve on the most which is my defense which I am working on.

PHR: What were some of the deciding factors on you transferring to a new high school?
TH: I wanted to play better competition and to be pushed to the limit.

PHR: What goals have you set for your junior season?
TH: I want to win a state championship.

PHR: Who are the biggest role models in your life?
TH: My father and George Gervin.

PHR: If you’re not playing ball what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
TH: As weird as it sounds I love to sleep it’s like a hobby for me.