Brandon Knight Still Wide Open

March 15, 2010

The biggest prize still on the board for 2010 is probably Brandon Knight (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2010) , who is still considering Miami, Florida, Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky and Connecticut. Knight is a fierce scorer who can put up big numbers and cause problems for the defense, a sure fire big time scoring machine. However, he plays much more like a shooting guard than a point guard, so he still needs to improve his PG skills.

Of the six schools on his list, Knight has visited five, including Kentucky, Miami, Connecticut, Kansas and Florida. It’s hard to say where Knight will fit in best, but it does seem that his chances to play early will be better if he can play the point depending on where he goes. I’m sure Miami would love to be able to play Knight at the point with Durand Scott at the 2, and Kentucky could either move Bledsoe to the 1 (assuming John Wall goes league after this season) and put Knight at the 2 or vice versa. Florida could be interesting, with Boynton playing point and Knight at SG, especially because they played AAU together with that exact strategy.

If Kemba Walker is still at UConn running the point, you could see Knight getting time at the SG spot there as well. At Syracuse he’d probably have to help shore up the loss of Andy Rautins at SG. Xavier Henry could leave for the NBA after this season at Kansas, creating SG playing time there, although the current Kansas PG, Sherron Collins, is a senior and definitely gone for next season. So even though long term it will help Knight to be able to play the point (6’3″ shooting guards often have a tough time landing in the pros), there are several possible scenarios where he could get some big minutes off the ball right from day one.

For me, Knight moving to PG might be a mistake considering how effective he is at off guard. He reminds me somewhat of Dexter Strickland, a player who is incredibly dynamic at the SG spot but could be limited when running the point. Of course, with a player of his talents, it all remains to be seen.

Here’s some recent video of Brandon, much of which at point:

Here’s some video of Knight showing off his stupifying scoring abilities and near-impossible-to-guard quicks:

The Jump Manual


Look Ahead: 2011 ACC Basketball Recruiting

March 14, 2010

With the 2010 class getting finalized over the next couple of months, we turn our attention to the 2011 classes for ACC teams. UNC has the top rated recruit that has committed to an ACC team with James McAdoo (PF, 6’8″, 2011), a big forward that plays in the paint, rebounds well and runs the floor. UNC is also competing for Adonis Thomas (SF, 6’6″, 2011).

Wake Forest, Duke, NC State and Miami are all recruiting Quincy Miller (PF, 6’8″, 2011), and I should have some new video of Miller soon.

Duke’s landing of Michael Gbinije (SF, 6’6″, 2011) just a couple of days ago has started their 2011 class with a solid wing.

UNC and Miami are both in the mix for Norvele Pelle (PF, 6’8″, 2011), and UNC has gotten a commit from P.J. Hairston (SG, 6’5″, 2011), who attended the same high school as current Tar Heel Will Graves and former UNC big man Brendan Haywood.

Virginia Tech has a top player already on board with C.J. Barksdale (PF, 6’7″, 2011) who picked the Hokies over Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Wake Forest and Florida.

Wake Forest, Charlotte, Clemson, UNC and Virginia Tech have all shown interest in Marquis Rankin (PG, 6’0″, 2011), who plays high school ball in Charlotte, NC.

NC State is still recruiting LaQuinton Ross (SF, 6’7″, 2011), a player we’ve been following for some time, while Clemson and Florida State are looking at Kentavious Caldwell (SG, 6’4″, 2011).

UNC, Duke and Virginia are all trying to land the third Plumlee big man in Marshall Plumlee (C, 7’0″, 2011) and I’m not sure if Duke has the inside track. Virginia and Virginia Tech are also recruiting Nick Johnson (PG, 6’4″, 2011) out of Findlay Prep.

Duke, North Carolina and Maryland have all been keeping up with Quinn Cook (PG, 5’11”, 2011) from Dematha although only Maryland has offered so far. Cook is the type of player who will be focused on running the offense, pushing into the defense and kicking to an open big.

North Carolina and Virginia have been paying attention to Angelo Chol (C, 6’8″, 2011), player from San Diego, CA, a state where UNC head coach Roy Williams has landed several players, most recently the Wear twins.

Virginia Tech has a commitment from C.J. Barksdale (PF, 6’7″, 2011), beating out Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Wake Forest and Florida.

We’ll do more player scouting on these and other 2011 athletes in the months to come, and of course we’ll start looking into the 2012 class as well.

The Jump Manual


Notes From The ACC Tournament

March 13, 2010

The ACC Tournament, along with the Big East Tournament, are the two most publicized and popular college basketball tournaments played after the season is over. Almost all college basketball tournaments have lost a bit of luster since the NCAA tournament has expanded, and it’s no longer a requirement to win your conference tournament in order to get a bid to the Big Dance. The result has been lower fan interest and lower ticket sales to a tournament that used to sell out right away.

Now, the larger, um…’BCS’ conference tournaments are important for teams who want to prove their seeding, or get off the bubble. Sometimes a ‘bubble’ team can blow their NCAA bid with a bad tournament showing. This year, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech went into the ACC Tournament hoping to get off of the bubble.

Watching Georgia Tech play live shows two things: one, Georgia Tech has some very talented players and a lot of size. Two, Georgia Tech is not using that talent nearly as much as they should. However, after scraping by UNC in the first round, Georgia Tech played better to beat Maryland (after blowing a 19 point lead) and advance to play NC State today in the semis.

However, NC State has come alive. As I sat and watched them outplay Clemson on day one, they had a large showing of fans rooting them against Clemson’s full court press. NC State suddenly looks like a team that understands their roles and understands Sidney Lowe’s offense. Not sure what has caused the sudden improvement, but the players are cutting well, moving the ball and passing the ball in the post at the right times. Horner is very active, moving in the paint to the perimeter, and really altering the defense. If any team has managed to show it really cares about winning the tournament, it’s NC State.

Duke played consistently and wasn’t challenged by Virginia, but even though I think Duke is the best in the ACC this season and I think they’ve already locked up a number one NCAA seed, I just don’t see them beating the top teams from the Big East. It’s unfortunate, but I just don’t think the ACC has the talent this year to match up. Maybe next year with Duke getting Irving and UNC getting Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall, but this year it remains to be seen. However, in the ACC, I expect Duke to win the tourney unless Georgia Tech suddenly figures out they have four or five NBA players on their roster (Sorry, Tech. But you know it’s true).

Finally, there’s Wake Forest. Wake probably blew their NCAA bid with their late season collapse and loss in the ACC tournament. It’s not official, but Wake just seemed to run out of steam down the stretch of the season.

The Jump Manual


Michael Gbinije Commits To Duke (with Video)

March 12, 2010

Duke has landed Michael Gbinije (SG/SF, 6’6″, 2011), out of Richmond, VA. Gbinije is a fluid player with some offensive flash, a forward who can handle the ball well enough to get to the hoop and plays well in the open court. He can also shoot from outside the perimeter, which makes defenders vulnerable to his ability to put the ball on the floor and slash to the hoop.

Duke and UNC were both competing for Gbinijie, but he has said in the past that UNC was already heavy with players at his position. In the end, he decided to play his college ball for the Blue Devils.

Here’s some video of Gbinije:

The Jump Manual


Duke Recruiting: Kyrie Irving (plus Video)

March 11, 2010

Duke’s big name in the 2010 class is combo guard Kyrie Irving (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2010) out of St. Patrick HS in Elizabeth, NJ. Irving will likely have to play PG quickly and excels in the transition game, pushing the break at a high octane clip. He can handle the ball at an elite level, even on the break and can score effectively from the PG spot.

Irving has the type of speed that sometimes makes his teammates look like they are moving in slow motion, with open court spin moves, crossovers and behind the back dribbles at full speed without ever losing control. He will need to get stronger to really handle the physical play in the ACC, but his passing is extremely adept and he will definitely be racking up assists at Duke. Irving can finish around the rim better than most point guards, and he’s not the type of PG that a defender can play off of, since he’s dangerous offensively. He also has the hops and the hang time to dunk on the break.

Irving’s passes are crisp, accurate and quick on the break; Big men who run the floor well will get the ball in the right place or in an alley oop.

The areas for Kyrie’s game to improve are that I’ve not seen if he can effectively hit mid range shots, his need to get stronger, and I haven’t seen enough perimeter shooting to know how solid his outside shot actually is. That comes with a caveat; I’ve seen Irving swish long, collegiate length threes several times, but rarely when he’s being guarded the way he’ll be guarded in the ACC. So that just remains to be seen.

Most people have only seen the slow-mo special effects mix tape for Irving, so here’s some great in-game video:

More, Irving is #4 in these clips:

The Jump Manual


ACC Basketball Recruiting Roundup March 10

March 10, 2010

One day before the ACC Tournament begins, let’s take a quick trip around the league to see what the latest recruiting news has to offer.

Clemson

Kendall Williams (SG, 6’2″, 2010) has chosen to play at New Mexico, picking the Lobos over Clemson despite Clemson’s best efforts to land him. Clemson has already gotten a commitment from Marcus Thornton (SF, 6’7″, 2010) for the class but is still looking to land Juco forward Ricardo Ratcliff (PF, 6’9″, 2010). Ratcliff is also considering Arkansas, Missouri and Alabama.

Virginia

Virginia has already pulled a large class for 2010 and is still looking to bring in more. With James Johnson (C, 6’8″, 2010) anchoring the class that includes K.T. Harrell (SG, 6’3″, 2010), Will Regan (C, 6’8″, 2010), Joe Harris (SG, 6’5″, 2010), Billy Baron (PG, 6’1″, 2010) and Akil Mitchell (PF, 6’7″, 2010), the Cavaliers will be looking to bring in a major new look next season. 2011 is still wide open for the Cavs.

Wake Forest

Wake Forest is in the top three for Tyler Olander (PF, 6’9″, 2010), who is also being pursued by Virginia but doesn’t list them as a favorite. Wake’s main competition for Olander is UConn (he’s from Storrs, CT) and Florida. Wake already has commits from Carson Derosiers (C, 6’11”, 2010), Travis McKie (SF, 6’6″, 2010), J.T. Terrell (SG, 6’3″, 2010), Melvin Tabb (PF, 6’8″, 2010) and Tony Chennault (PG, 6’1″, 2010).

North Carolina

This year’s North Carolina team has had to deal with unexpected losses on the court and the whispers about talented recruits coming in next year. Without a doubt, UNC is loading up on guards and wings with possible one-and-done superstar Harrison Barnes (SF, 6’6″, 2010), along with Reggie Bullock (SG, 6’6″, 2010) and Kendall Marshall (PG, 6’3″, 2010). These players will have to shore up a depleted back court and try to get the ball in to the UNC big men.

Duke

The pride of the 2010 class for the Blue Devils is Kyrie Irving (PG, 6’2″, 2010), who also might be gone after one year. Duke also landed Josh Hairston (PF, 6’8″, 2010) and Tyler Thornton (PG, 6’2″, 2010), both solid players who should see court time quickly.

Maryland

Maryland missed on Tobias Harris but landed Mychal Parker (SF, 6’6″, 2010) , Terrell Stoglin (SG, 6’0″, 2010) and Ashton Pankey(PF, 6’8″, 2010). Pe-Shon Howard (PG, 6’2″, 2010) is also in the class but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to step in and replace Vasquez’ output by himself. Maryland also has a commitment from Hankur Palsson (SF, 6’6″, 2010).

We’ll cover more of the ACC next, and work in our coverage of the first round of the ACC Tournament (in person).

The Jump Manual


ACC Tournament Tickets 2010

March 9, 2010

I will be in attendance for the 2010 ACC Tournament after seeing how cheap the acc tournament tickets were, probably because UNC fans aren’t as interested this year. But, I will be there taking in the action and checking out some players I haven’t seen in person since they were in high school.

The ACC tournament is one the best college atmospheres, rivaled (in my mind) only by the Big East’s tournament because of the depth of talent in both conferences. Although I expect Duke to prevail this year, that’s not to say it’s an easy field for them.


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:


Georgia Tech’s Recruiting Woes

February 3, 2009

You’ve got to wonder how Paul Hewitt will be able to continue to cope with what has become a standard M.O. during his tenure as the head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Every year or two Hewitt brings in top recruits, such as this year’s Iman Shumpert, or a few years ago with Chris Bosh, and watches them bolt for the NBA before they ever get a chance to really make an impact on the program.

Unlike other programs, like Duke and UNC, Georgia Tech hasn’t managed to recover as quickly from NBA defections. With a top tier class coming in from 2009, including Derrick Favors (PF, 6’9″, 2009), it would appear that Hewitt’s Jackets might be the sleeper team for the 2009-10 season.

But not so fast.

It turns out that already, even in a lackluster season, players on the roster are looking toward the league, and the league is interested. Gani Lawal, a 6’9″ Sophomore, is projected to be a potential lottery pick in the next draft:

With 19 NBA scouts and executives watching him play Saturday, Gani Lawal gave an impressive performance.

The sophomore made 7 of 10 shots from the field and 11 of 14 from the free-throw line, and he grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots in Georgia Tech’s upset of Wake Forest.

What this means for recruiting is that if Lawal goes pro, suddenly a team deep at the post with NBA talent is right back where they started. What Paul Hewitt needs to really compete in the ACC is more than a couple of NBA prospects; Duke, Wake and UNC are loaded with NBA prospects and more are coming.

However, Lawal’s not a given to go pro early:

“I plan on being here,” Lawal said. “I just want to keep playing, take it day by day and see where it goes. When the season’s over and everything is in the books, I’ll just sit down, discuss it and see. … Right now I can’t even begin to get into it.”

If Lawal returns, expect Georgia Tech to be one of the better teams next season.


Georgia Tech vs. NC State Recruiting

January 30, 2009

The state of Georgia has been and continues to be a primary source of basketball recruits for the ACC, and not just because of Georgia Tech. NC State and Yellow Jacket fans are already closely watching the ongoing game battles between Mfon Udofia (PG, 6’1″, 2009), who is committed to Georgia Tech, and Lorenzo Brown (SG, 6’4″, 2009), a NCSU commit:

I don’t know if Udofia starts right away at the point for Georgia Tech but I think he should. I agree with your comment about him at the point and Shumpert at the two. The Tech coaches tell me that won’t happen right away. One of the biggest issues with the Yellow Jackets is a collective lack of toughness on the team. The team needs a leader in the clubhouse and they need someone to push them to new heights. Udofia clearly does bring that element to the table.

As far as Udofia as the number two player in the state…he is right now. After his performance against Centennial and Lorenzo Brown, it is hard to argue against that. All of that being said, I think Brown has a higher upside, albeit not by much. If Brown can continue to fine tune his point guard skills, he is a better professional prospect. Udofiia’s work ethic and competitiveness will be hard to argue against. He reminds me of former Virginia star Sean Singletary in that regard.

This should develop into a nice ongoing conversation as these guys hit conference play.