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.


Coach Bzdelik Keeps Wake Recruiting Class Intact

April 22, 2010

The first job of most new head coaches is to assess the current roster, and immediately attempt to keep any committed recruits from jumping ship. While some coaches don’t pay as much attention to this as others, in the case of new Wake Forest head coach Doug Bzdelik, keeping a top ten recruiting class intact was the top priority.

The class, comprised of Tony Chennault, J.T. Terrell, Carson Desrosiers, Melvin Tabb and Travis McKie, have all signed letters of intent and are bound to play for Wake next season, but could have asked for their release with the recent firing of former head coach Dino Gaudio.

Assistant coaches Jeff Battle and Rusty Larue, both of whom remained as assistants following Gaudio’s departure, worked quickly to ensure that all five recruits still intended to play for the Demon Deacons. Joining Bzdelik on an impromptu tour of all five players over two days, the three coaches were able to reassure the recruits that the situation in Winson-Salem would still be the one they expected when they originally committed.

This was no doubt helped by the consistency of keeping Battle and Larue on as assistants. Both Battle and Larue have ties to the local community, and Larue played for Wake Forest in both basketball and football before playing with Micheal Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Eventually, once his playing career was over, he returned to Winston-Salem to coach both college and then high school before taking the assistant job at Wake.

As the coaches were able to complete the quick tour to keep their solid recruiting class intact, they also have to look to how they are going to create a competitive team after losing their mainstay senior point guard in Ish Smith and their top scorer in Al-Farouq Aminu, who declared for the draft and is likely gone. The coaches will need to find a way to win with the dominance of youthful talent on their roster, which is no small feat in the ACC.


ACC Basketball Recruiting: Marquis Rankin

April 3, 2010

Marquis Rankin (PG, 6’0″, 2011) is a Charlotte area player with interest and offers from several ACC schools. His offers include Virginia, Wake Forest and Clemson, and UNC has also contacted Rankin and is keeping up with him. The UNC contact is significant, in that last summer Rankin listed the Tar Heels and Wake Forest as his leaders at that time, and with an offer from the Demon Deacons on the table, it would seem he’s at least got some great options.

Rankin is a pure point guard who can penetrate the defense and dish to the open man, and his ability to shoot the three means teams can’t really play back to stop him. It’s unclear if Rankin would push the ball as hard as Roy Williams wants, but the Deacons aren’t a grind it out team either, and over the past season Rankin has worked to show his aggressive abilities and as he’s gotten stronger, shown how can finish. A sure handed ball handler, Rankin also moves his feet well on defense and has a solid understanding of what it takes to play and defend the point.

Marquis Rankin video:


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


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.


Final Scouting Report From The Frank Spencer

December 30, 2008

The final round of the Frank Spencer Classic features two games, the battle for third place and and the title game.

The first game featured Ashe County against R.J. Reynolds. Ashe is led by big man Tommy Spagnolo (PF, 6’7″, 2009), a Radford commit. Spagnolo was the best pure post player in the tournament, and already has the build of a collegiate athlete. He is a paint player, with a good array of moves around the basket. In this game, he was careful not to get trapped on the baseline and the RJR defenders had a lot of trouble stopping him inside. He also finished several times after contact, and he has a lot of control on his shots around the basket.

At first, Reynolds doubled him as soon as he touched the ball in the post, and then the Ashe guards stopped going inside for a while to avoid the double team. Spagnolo still scored double digit points in the first half, mostly by grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring putback shots. He establishes position in the paint well, sealing his man and boxing out well. Spagnolo finished with 20 points for the night. He is extremely good from about 12 feet in, even putting the ball on the floor a couple of times and slashing to get better looks.

Spagnolo was guarded most of the night by Matt Kunz (SF, 6’7″, 2009), a player who is playing out of position in the paint, being more of a forward than a post player. Kunz was active, had three steals and at least four blocks in the game, but was forced to play post most of the game and had to sit for extended minutes due to foul trouble. Kunz was a player who looked like he has promise if he could be consistent from mid range and become a slashing forward.

The prominent player for R.J. Reynolds is Will Carpenter (SF, 6’6″ 2009), a player who ended up making the all-tournament team. Carpenter did not score until the second half, but showed flashes of strong play in the second half, getting active and even bringing the ball up on the break.

Kunz and Carpenter are playing the post in high school but in my opinion should be scouted as forwards. They look more like players who can face the basket.

A player of interest is Alex Greven (SG, 6’3″, 2009), who hit a couple of threes early for R.J. Reynolds and even though he wasn’t playing point, he was usually defending the point. He has excellent defensive skills and a good release on his shot.

The game was back and forth with Reynolds leading 18-15 at the half.

During the second half, Ashe took at 37-29 lead at one point, but Reynolds tried to neutralize the inside power of Spagnolo by moving Kunz to the high post and feeding Carpenter under the basket. This worked enough that Ashe moved Spagnolo back to the low post, but Reynolds managed to cut the lead 37-35 with transition points and the interior passing.

With 1:29 left to go and leading 37-35, Ashe called a timeout. Matt Kunz fired a terrific interior assist to tie the game 37-37. Ashe missed a shot on their next possession, and as Alex Greven was making a back door cut to the basket, Spagnolo was forced to foul him, and he fouled out of the game. Greven hit one free throw and RJR went on to win, 38-37.

Championship Game: Mount Tabor vs. West Forsyth

Mount Tabor came in wanting to defend their Frank Spencer Classic title from a year ago, and being led by a trio of star guards in C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009), Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009) and Josh Hicks (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2009).

This game was tight in the opening quarter, but Mt. Tabor, led by explosive games from Mike Grace and Josh Hicks, pulled away with a run at the end of the first half and West Forsyth never recovered. Mt. Tabor won 73-54 in a bit of a blowout, so I’ll just rundown some of the player notes:

C.J. Harris (Mt. Tabor) – Still under control, had some nice slashing moves and a sick spin move inside to get shots off. Not a huge scoring night for him, but it wasn’t needed. A big guard who plays with a lot of poise, was named to the All-Tournament team.

Josh Hicks (Mt. Tabor) – A player I was again impressed with, fast, good handle, excellent scorer and defender.

Mike Grace (Mt. Tabor) – A terrific game where he showcased his ability to pull up in transition and hit the mid range jumper or three pointer. He absolutely has a solid mid range game, can finish and is a pure PG.

Turner Simpson (SG, 6’3″, 2009), (Mt. Tabor) – A very active shooting guard who gets a lot of minutes and plays tenacious defense. He finds holes in the defense and works the backdoor cut effectively.

Chrishawn Rhyne (PG, 5’11”, 2009) (West Forsyth), speedy ballhandler who can defend and score. Finishes in traffic, athletic.

Tabarris Hamilton (SG, 6’2″, 2011) (West Forsyth), showed flashes of offensive ability as a sophomore, will be one to keep an eye on.

Allan Jones (SF, 6’5″, 2009) (West Forsyth), a strong player with a good first step but had trouble finishing. Made the All-Tournament team. Needs to work on his mid range shooting and free throw consistency, his shot comes off a little flat on release. Could be tough to stop offensively with a little work on his jumper; he’s the kind of player who, if played close, might put the ball on the floor and slash past the defender. Relies too much on his strength to score around the basket, and at his size will need to improve his forward skills.

Tyler Alberts (SF/PF, 6’6″, 2010) (West Forsyth), runs the floor well and is active on defense. Had a little trouble catching interior passes at times, managed to seal his man in the post but did not use the drop step to get a shot off. Has good size and had some good moments. Needs to be more active in the paint at times, has potential.


Weekend Basketball – Frank Spencer Classic

December 24, 2008

This weekend is the conclusion of the Frank Spencer tournament in Winston-Salem, which includes Mount Tabor High School, whose star players are C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2009), a Wake Forest commit, and Mike Grace (PG, 6’0″, 2009), who has committed to Yale, and along with Josh Hicks (SG, 6’2″, 2009), are the defending Spencer Champs and are still the team to beat this year.

Here’s a preview write up on the tournament:

“We have finally got some time to practice without preparing for a game,” Muse said. “We have had three of the hardest practices of the year – the day after the Page game and Monday and Tuesday of this week. We worked on our fundamentals – shooting, passing, dribbling and footwork as well as a great deal of conditioning to be ready to play on a college size court.

Meanwhile, at the City of Palms Classic title was won in a UNC basketball recruit studded affair, with Travis and David Wear (PF,6’9″,2009) going against UNC commit Dexter Strickland (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2009) and St. Patrick. Mater Dei is ranked #1 in the country in some polls. In other City of Palms action, future Tar Heel John Henson scored a triple double with 22 points, 12 rebound and 10 blocks. I’ve always been very, very impressed with Henson’s game and think he’s got an NBA paycheck in his future, as long as he can build his frame up to withstand the contact. Playing in the ACC will help.


Dominic Cheek Eliminates the ACC

October 9, 2008

Bad news for Deacon fans, who had been in the mix for Dominic Cheek (SG, 6’5″, 2009), a serious sharpshooter who hails from New Jersey. According to Adam Zagoria, Cheek has eliminated Wake Forest, UConn and Tennessee from his list, keeping Kansas, Memphis, Indiana, Villanova and Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Rutgers.

More on Trae Golden

Adam has followed up our update on Trae Golden with one of his own, where he confirms offers from Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. Interestingly, he is not listing Georgia Tech or Clemson.