Ari Stewart picks Wake Forest

September 21, 2008

After narrowing his choices to Wake Forest and Oregon, Ari Stewart (SF, 6’7″, 2009) has decided on the Demon Deacons, joining C.J. Harris in the class of 2009. I think that if Wake was able to keep some of their big time players around for a couple more years, they would be a real powerhouse, but that’s a tall order.

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Michael Snaer: Basketball recruit to visit kansas

September 21, 2008

Micheal Snaer (SG/SF, 6’5″, 2009) a player who Florida State has been heavily recruiting, will visit Kansas for their Late Night event. The ‘Noles basketball recruiting has been on the upswing lately, but the battle for Snaer is one where he is carefully considering several schools.


Terrence Shannon Commits to Florida State Basketball

September 20, 2008

Terrence Shannon (PF, 6’7″, 2009), the tough rebounder who plays AAU ball with Derrick Favors has decided to play his college ball at Florida State. At one time, Shannon was in the mix with Georgia and Georgia Tech, as well as Memphis and Maryland.

In the end, it came down to the ‘Noles.


Basketball Recruiting at Kansas: Wall, Orton & Robinson

September 19, 2008

Two ACC basketball recruiting targets will be visiting Kansas this weekend, including John Wall (PG,6’4″,2009), a player who we’ve written quite a bit about and Thomas Robinson (PF, 6’8″, 2009), a player who still lists Miami as an option, although he seems to be leaning toward Kansas, Memphis or USC since those are the only schools he’s set up visits with at this point.

Daniel Orton (C, 6’9″, 2009) has been out of the ACC mix for some time, with a lot of rumors pointing him towards Kentucky, including a rumor that he and Wall would both up in Wildcat blue. Hard to say if that would actually happen, but both of them visiting Kansas almost makes it seem like they are looking at playing together. If a team – Kansas OR Kentucky – were to have a Wall-to-Orton passing combo, it would be a great pairing, only lacking outside shooting.


John Wall improves his game

September 17, 2008

John Wall fits the profile of a player who could easily develop an attitude problem. As a basketball point guard, he went from being a local high school star to a national high school star very quickly last summer, and went from being a ‘highly rated’ college prospect to possibly – ahem – possibly being a number one NBA pick in the 2010 draft.

Hype is a silly thing, and it would be normal for a teenager, which is exactly what Wall is, by the way, to develop a serious me-first attitude when being showered with attention and praise by national press. To be sure, John Wall isn’t exactly a household name like Lebron James or Kobe Bryant. He’s only famous to those fans who follow high school basketball recruiting and scouts. But it’s enough.

Wall developed a reputation for taking plays off and tirades. Message boards teemed with stories of prominent college coaches leaving games in disgust and there still continue to be tales of back-door dealings in Wall’s recruitment. But these stories have settled a bit, and for now another player, Lance Stephenson, is considered to be the ‘head case’ of the class.

Dave Telep has penned an article about John Wall’s attitude, how it’s improved, what initiated the change and where he thinks he needs to go from here:

“Then coach (Levi) Beckwith helped me out a lot. Attitude-wise, I had a bad one when I got (to Word of God). He changed all that around and didn’t let me play with that. (They) set me down and made me realize I had to trust my players and have a better attitude.”

These days, Wall’s attitude is in check. He’s grown up, learned some tough lessons and continues to check himself. “I got frustrated last year when I made passes and they were dropped,” he explains. “Now, I just pat (those guys) on the back and tell them to get it next time, so it doesn’t stop me from playing.”

Wall also talks about what he’s been told, by everyone, what he needs to work on in his game. He needs to develop an outside shot. He needs to play defense more consistently. These are the types of things that will make or break Wall during his likely one-year tour in the NCAA. It’s unclear if Wall will end up as the #1 pick in 2010. Ricky Rubio is no slouch as a point guard either, and he’s already playing pro ball against pro players. But Wall has the quickness and athleticism to be great.

Dominic Cheek eliminates Indiana?

A few days after saying he would visit Indiana, Dominic Cheek(SG, 6’5″, 2009) is no longer considering going to make an official visit to the Hoosiers. He will, however, have an in home visit with Tom Crean.


Rashad Whack Commits to George Mason

September 7, 2008

Rashad Whack (SG, 6’2″, 2009), a player who had some interest in Virginia Tech, has decided to play his college ball for “Giant Killer” George Mason.


Duke offers Ryan Kelly

September 4, 2008

It’s probably more surprising that this didn’t already happen, but Duke has officially offered Ryan Kelly (PF, 6’10”, 2009), a big man who will probably be a great four year player.

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ACC Basketball Recruiting Roundup, Volume 3

September 2, 2008

So, a lull in the action for the ACC over the past couple of weeks as several other conferences got some commitments, and now we’re right back into the fray.

Dominic Cheek at Rucker

Here’s some highlight video from Rucker Park of Dominic Cheek; the ragged basketball of this game isn’t something to brag about, but enjoy the clip:

Josh Smith gets interest from UNC

Duke has been recruiting big man Josh Smith(PF/C, 6’9″, 2010) for some time, battling west coast programs UCLA, Washington and Arizona, and some think UCLA is the current team to beat. Smith has a long list of potential colleges, including all of the aforementioned programs plus Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Gonzaga, Syracuse,Texas, UConn and Tennessee.

Well, add UNC to that list, according to Scout:

At this point, UNC’s interest seems to be in the beginning stages and the Tar Heels are just starting to form a relationship with the talented big man.

In a time where so many players of his height who come out of high school wanting to play the small forward spot, 2010’s Josh Smith is all big man, a shot blocker, presence and lane scorer, although in limited action I’ve seen him play mostly below the rim, getting timing rebounds and garbage buckets. Fans should not confuse him with the former high school phenom of the same height and same name who now resides in the NBA as a human catapult, although as a pure big man it will be interesting to see how the new high school phenom (Josh Smith 2.0?) develops.

Brandon Knight

A player who looked surprisingly good in a bad game at Rucker Park was Brandon Knight (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2010), AAU teammate of Kenny Boynton(PG/SG, 6’2″ ,2009) and fellow Duke target. Alex has an interview with Mr. Knight, where he talks about his playing time for Team Breakdown, and where he reveals that he has offers from Wake Forest and Miami (scoop!):

NB: Who do you already have offers from?
BK: [There are] a [few] schools, I’m not sure, I’m thinking of Wake Forest, Miami, . . . Syracuse maybe. . . . That’s a [few]. I’m not sure; I don’t really talk to them like that. My dad really does the talking for me.

Brandon also talks about the possibility of going to college with Boynton.

Scott, Harris make visits to U of L

Durand Scott (SG,6’4″, 2009) and Tobias Harris (PF,6’8″, 2010) continue to make the rounds on their recruiting visits, with both visiting during the Louisville – Kentucky football game

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Cody Shuffler Gets More Looks

August 29, 2008

We mentioned Cody Shuffler (SF/PF, 6’7″, 2009), a player with interest from NC State a few weeks ago, and now it seems Shuffler also has interest from Virginia Tech as well. A bevy of schools are recruiting Shuffler, including Davidson, Cornell, and West Virginia.

Shuffler apparently is high on Davidson’s list, and it would not be surprising to see him end up there.

The same article mentions that Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009), a high school teammate of Wake Forest commit C.J. Harris (SG,6’3″,2009) has received an offer from Penn.

Meanwhile, Tobias Harris (PF, 6’8″, 2010) recently visited Virginia with his family to see what the school has to offer:

“Coach Leitao and his coaching staff broke down Virginia’s offense and defense on film. Tobias had the opportunity to watch the team practice while coach Leitao was able to show how effective his offense works when done correctly. Coach Leitao stressed the importance of strong team, individual defense and positions on defense.

Harris reportedly also visited Maryland and Georgetown as well.


The Army of Confidants

August 25, 2008

What’s the difference between a coach, a trainer, and a ‘hanger-on’?

During the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, as the hundreds of athletes paraded into the Bird’s Nest, announcer Bob Costas referred to the crowds of people as ‘athletes, coaches, trainers and the other various hangers-on’. As if the coaches and trainers were somehow simply there through no effort, knowledge or skill of their own. I’m not sure if Costas was simply trying to keep talking during the five-hour presentation, but it’s a statement that I wanted to open for discussion regarding when a person is actually involved with a sport/ahtlete in a mutually beneficial relationship and when a person is simply a ‘hanger on’.

Getting into coaching is both extremely difficult and extremely easy (relatively). Texas head coach Rick Barnes broke into coaching by reportedly waiting eight hours to be interviewed after a head coach forgot he was waiting. It’s hard from the perspective that Barnes had to be smart enough to coach well, willing to work long hours for little pay, but it’s ‘easy’ from the perspective that Barnes only needed to put himself in the right place at the right time to get his start. One eight-hour wait for an interview isn’t equal to the years required just to be an entry level medical doctor.

Rick Barnes is certainly not a ‘hanger-on’, and I consider him to be an excellent coach (who I wish had stayed in the ACC) but given that all it often takes to secure a position in coaching is to show up and know the right person, often people in positions of sporting authority are hardly qualified to do so. USA Today reports that there is some thinking that coaches should have at the very least some psychosocial training in dealing with kids:

“So many coaches come from outside of the school system — as much as 60-75% — and in many cases the age of coaches is getting younger,” said Chris Stankovich of Columbus. “Yet they have in many cases, zero training to work with kids. As a result, there have been a spike in the number of inappropriate relationships.”

In other words, daycare workers usually need more credentials than coaches. While on one hand, this is acceptable – many youth coaches simply are volunteers who are willing to help kids – many others are the very definition of ‘hangers-on’, and this is extremely prevalent in basketball. Many kids are not only being recruited by top level universities, but they also have dozens of people whispering in their ears about their decisions. Those people whispering are looking for some kind of benefit.