Top 25 USA Today – South

December 10, 2008

John Wall (PG,6’4″, 2009) had led Word of God to a number eight national ranking before their loss to Dudley (Greensboro, NC).

Here’s where the South region schools fall in place, according to USA Today:

1. Oak Hill, Mouth of Wilson, VA
2. Arlington Country Day, Jacksonville, FL
3. Leflore, Mobile, AL
4. Duncanville, Texas
5. Word of God Academy, Raleigh, NC
6. Wheeler, Marietta, GA
7. Christ School, Arden, NC
8. South Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
9. Callaway, Jackson, Miss.
10. Montverde Academy, Montverde, FL

Number one ranked team in the nation is still Lance Stephenson (SF, 6’6″, 2009) and Lincoln out of Brooklyn.


Tony Chenault video; Lance Stephenson rumors

July 24, 2008

Some video of Tony Chenault (PG, 6’1″, 2010), a Wake Forest recruit:

Chenault has Wake on his list of options and seems to like the Deacons at this point.

The Lance Stephenson Saga: St. John’s Edition

At one time, way back in the day, hearing that a top recruit was considering St. John’s was just another day in college basketball. Now, it seems unlikely, so when a story….er, rumor…surfaced that Lance Stephenson, a player who already has as many detractors as fans, was suddenly thinking of playing closer to home, people started wondering what was up. It seems the story, expounded and debunked by Adam Zagoria, was that a position would be given to Lance’s high school coach if he played for St. John’s.

Lance Stephenson Dime Magazine

The saga of Lance Stephenson has officially put Lance into the category of ‘more packaging than player’ as a high schooler. A few weeks ago, Lance made news when he was cut from the USA basketball U-18 roster. When Brandon Jennings decided to try his luck playing in Italy instead of Arizona, people immediately started talking about Lance doing the same. Bear in mind that almost none of these things which have gotten so much attention were Lance playing well, or even at all in the case of the USA Basketball roster.

FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman has been a critic of Stephenson in the past and wrote this about Lance’s recruitment:

How about the fact that Kansas’ Bill Self was the only high-major coach in the gym watching Stephenson.

That’s right. Self and his good buddy, Norm Roberts of St. John’s, are basically the only ones actively recruiting Stephenson.

In short, Lance has become famous in the recruiting world for being famous. He’s a very good player, but he’s not – at this point in his career – even the best player in the class of 2009. This is not to say he doesn’t have promise and star potential, but at this point, the media machine around Lance is more interested in “Lance the Personality” instead of “Lance the Basketball Player”. Here is the blunt truth: right now, the NBA isn’t any higher on the Lance Stephenson Show than Bob McKillop was. In other words, Lance needs to play a lot stronger to secure a place in the first round. Right now, we are not talking lottery. We are talking maybe first round. This isn’t to bring Lance down, but it’s time to stop talking about Lance going the Brandon Jennings route until Lance proves himself a lot more.

John Henson

While Lance has been getting press for things other than basketball, UNC commit John Henson (SF, 6’10”, 2009) has been getting press for playing the game well. Here is an interview with the future Tar Heel, in which he expounds on his game and why he chose UNC:

What do you contribute your high level of play and improved stock to?
“I think it’s just a combination of my hard work and being in the right situation to perform and show my skills against the best players.”

Right now it seems like there are three players in the running for the #1 ranking: Henson, Favors and John Wall. Of course, there is still a year left before the final rankings (which are worth about 8 cents American) are published, but Henson has not just played well, he’s been absolutely phenomenal, against Renardo Sidney (PF, 6’9″, 2009) and Derrick Favors(PF, 6’10”, 2009). The most interesting thing about Henson is that even though he’s playing against the best power forwards in the country, he’s most likely a wing in the NBA.

Ryan Harrow, suddenly popular

Think the phone stops ringing when a player commits? Not always, especially when that player is a relative unknown and hasn’t signed a LOI. Ryan Harrow was contacted by several schools after he committed to the NC State Wolfpack:

“I’m going to State,” he said. “That’s my school.”

Since his commitment to State, several schools, including Clemson, Florida, Tennessee, have called.

“But I’m going to State,” he said. “I like Coach [Sidney] Lowe and the atmosphere there a lot.

In high school football, players commit and de-commit all the time, which makes the recruiting process almost silly by comparison to basketball. But with more de-commitments happening in the b-ball world, it’s small wonder that players keep listening to offers even after they make their decision. Although players can change their minds until they sign their LOI, players committing early cause problems for colleges, who take the scholarships off the board once they get a player’s verbal agreement. Maryland coach Gary Williams would have rather spent his scholarships elsewhere rather than have a player hold onto it for months and then bail to another school. There probably needs to be limits as to how early a player can commit, and most college coaches agree.

Ra’Sean Dickey to leave Georgia Tech

Some news that slightly affects recruiting for Georgia Tech: fresh on the heels of getting the commit from Mfon Udofia, fifth year senior Ra’Sean Dickey has decided to leave school and pursue his pro career overseas. I remember watching Dickey play in rural Marlboro county, SC, at a time when he was being looked at by schools like UNC, not far from where Charlotte Bobcats PG Raymond Felton played high school ball. Ra’Sean’s potential took a detour due to injuries, so hopefully he can find success playing pro ball elsewhere.


Lance Stephenson is still considering UNC

June 19, 2008

Alex comes through AGAIN with money interviews. This time it’s none other than ‘Born Ready’, AKA Lance Stephenson, who earlier reports claimed had trimmed his list to UK, Kansas and UCLA. Not so, says Lance:

NB: Are there any other schools that are a little bit further behind . . . that you’re also considering? Anyone in particular?
LS: Memphis, St. John’s, [Pause] Indiana, and North Carolina.

That’s right…UNC is still in the mix, along with Memphis. Check out the full run down here.

I just want to give a shout out to Alex for sending the email to let me know about this.


Lance Stephenson Updates his List

June 12, 2008

Lance Stephenson (6’5″,SG,2009) had narrowed his list to three schools (USC, Kansas and UCLA), but now he’s dropped USC and added Kentucky. I know it’s not an ACC story but it’s just too dang entertaining to ignore. Normally, I’d just send this little tidbit out to my email list.

This all started by this blog entry by Adam Zagoria, a very reputable source and cool guy (hey, Adam!). If you aren’t reading Adam’s blog regularly, you are missing out.


Lance Stephenson eliminates UNC; Kenny Boynton photos

June 1, 2008

It’s been thought for some time that Lance Stephenson [6’5″, SG, 2009] was no longer considering the Tar Heels, and now it’s been confirmed. His list is down to UCLA, USC and Kansas.

Kenny Boynton photos

Blue Devil Nation has some new photos of PG target Kenny Boynton [6’2″, PG, 2009].

Brandon Knight ACC interest

Brandon Knight [6’3″, PG, 2010] now has interest from Duke, Clemson and Miami.

J.T. Terrell ACC interest

J.T. Terrell [6’3″, SG, 2010] has offers from Wake Forest, Miami and Virginia.

Pangos All-American Camp

Meanwhile, several top players are in California for the Pangos All-American Camp.


Memphis:Stephenson, Wall & Henry

May 5, 2008

A lot of talk these days about Memphis going after a trio of 2009 superstars: Lance Stephenson, Xavier Henry and John Wall. I have speculated before that I think Wall is going to Memphis, and I really wouldn’t be surprised to see Stephenson pull a one-and-done in the city that birthed Elvis either. The big thing here is, Memphis has become the premier way station for hyped players to do their one year tour, especially if those players are ONLY going to college to position themselves for the NBA. It seems like USC is trying to do that as well, but Memphis success in the NCAA tournament has made them much more of a heavyweight.


Lance Stephenson a package deal?

April 21, 2008

A lot of noise came out a few days ago about the possibility of Lance Stephenson (6’5″, SF), currently being pursued by North Carolina and Duke, being part of a ‘package deal’ with Renardo Sidney (6’9″, PF) to UCLA. This is because of the close friendship shared by the two on the AAU circuit. However, Jeff Eisenberg of the Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) called Stephenson’s coach to dispel the rumor:

Dwayne Morton, coach at famed Lincoln High in Brooklyn, confirmed that Stephenson and Sidney are good friends from the AAU circuit but cautioned that a package deal with the two of them is still a long shot.
“It has to be the right situation for Lance,” Morton said. “He’s not just going to go somewhere because of Renardo.”

Right now, my understanding is that neither UNC or Duke are really in the mix for Stephenson, and I don’t know of any ACC schools in the mix for Sidney. Both players are ranked in many recruiting services’ top five. Meanwhile, outside the ACC, Stephenson has stated he likes Memphis, Kansas, Indiana and Arkansas.

Speaking of Sidney, a good story that shows insight into the intense fervor that high school recruits are subject to involves two men who tried to ‘woo’ Sidney to another high school:

More than 10 high schools have expressed interest in Sidney, his father said. Sidney ruled out some because, he said, players on their teams told him they don’t always have to do their own work to get grades.

But the Sidney family listened to one recruitment pitch, even though it began surreptitiously. Two men showed up in Mississippi, telling Sidney they were reporters with a new magazine in California and that he was the subject of their cover story.

His mother immediately called Vaccaro; the elder Sidney met the men for lunch. Vaccaro said he believes the two men were trying to persuade Sidney to transfer to Compton’s Dominguez High, which is sponsored by Nike.

“It was scary,” the elder Sidney said. “That was definitely a Hollywood act. They told me two names, but I don’t know if that is their real name. They could have been posing for an agent. . . . So you just never know.”

Sidney said he and his family later visited California and the men gave them tickets on the floor for a Los Angeles Lakers-Minnesota Timberwolves game.

“They took us to the Lakers game; we went out to eat every day,” Sidney said. “We hung out, late nights and stuff. We had fun. They showed us a good time. They wanted me to come out here just to visit Dominguez and see if I would like it or whether I’d go to it. We stopped messing with them. I never thought about [Dominguez]. It was in the ghetto.”

Their recruitment pitch included a phone call that the men said was from Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. When Sidney got on the phone, the man purported to be Bryant and told him he should stay humble and work hard. To this day, Sidney doesn’t know who he spoke to. Bryant could not be reached to comment.

Is it any wonder that kids get the idea to jump to the pros so quickly?

Real Deal Roundup

So the big stud of the Real Deal was apparently Kenny Boynton (6’2″, combo guard), and reports are also that Lance Stephenson also performed well. North Carolina signee John Henson (6’10” PF/C) had an up-and-down scoring output, but he really is a guy who looks like he could become a superstar.

I don’t think he’s quite there yet, but he sure looks like someone who could develop into an all-ACC player, and he looks like he still is adusting to being a ‘big man’. In that respect, Henson reminds me a little of Mike Dunleavy, a guy who never thought he’d be a forward and then had a massive growth spurt. Also at the Real Deal was UNC target Nolan Dennis (6’5″ SG). Dennis is being pursued by UNC heavily along with Memphis.

Derrick Favors

I keep hearing that Derrick Favors is likely to stay in the state of Georgia, and that would mean his recruiting would be between Georgia Tech and Georgia. I’m pretty sure North Carolina is out of the running, but that hasn’t stopped Duke from stepping up their recruitment of him.


Video: UNC Recruit Dexter Strickland

April 16, 2008

Possibly the highest rated player to sign with any ACC school thus far is Dexter Strickland, a 6’3” combo guard who looks like he might fit in well with the fast paced style that Roy Williams likes to employ.

It is unclear if Strickland will play much point at UNC, and his lanky shooting style reminds me some of current Tar Heel Wayne Ellington, with a better handle. His movements are very fluid, not quite as slick as Spanish wonder kid Ricky Rubio, but cut from similar cloth. Strickland probably has better hops than Rubio, and both are deceptively fast, streaking down the court, lulling their opponents to sleep before slashing to the rim.

UCLA’s Package Deal?

BruinReportOnline is reporting that top recruit Lance Stephenson might be a package deal with Renardo Sidney. I have not heard of any ACC schools involved with Sidney, so if that’s true Stephenson might be out of the ACC mix as well.

Georgia saving room for Derrick Favors

Georgia has signed a shooting guard for the 2008 class, and many from the Bulldogs fanbase believe they are saving room for Derrick Favors.