Fastbreak Friday

17 Jun

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

It is was a busy week for recruiting. Juniors received phone calls. The NBA camp is in full swing. The National Hoops Report is on the road.

ROSE CITY SHOWCASE

I’m off to the Rose City Showcase for the weekend and I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym. It has been long overdue. The event is relatively small and it isn’t the traditional pool play first, tournament second type of event. It is a simple three-game showcase series.

Team Takeover, the top team in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, is in town. Most of the top players from Keith Steven’s program are at the NBA Top 100 camp in Virginia. The same can be said for Boo Williams, Spiece and Cal Supreme. Nevertheless, there should be some good players in town and the class of 2013 and 2014 should yield some good talent.

New England Playaz Kaleb Tarczewski is expected to be in town. The top 25 prospect is the highest rated player  in the class of 2012 field at the event. Indiana commitments James Blackmon and Trey Lyles, both class of 2014 prospects, are expected to be in town with Spiece.

You never know who will show up for events like these in June. Nevertheless, I’ll be updating daily from Portland so be on the lookout for the stories from the sidelines and be sure to follow me on Twitter for real time mini nuggets of informational goodness.

LATE NIGHT RECRUITING

I stayed up late on Wednesday night and watched Twitter explode about recruiting calls to the class of 2013. It marked the first time college coaches could, by NCAA rule, call rising high school juniors.

And like 13 year girls waiting for Jonas Brothers concert tickets, some aggressive recruiters dialed up the top young prospects the first chance they could get.

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports wrote about Brannen Greene, a top level prospect from small town Georgia, and how he was on the phone until 2:30 in the morning with coaches. Two dozens coaches called him in that period.

Read Eisenberg’s story. It is a great look into the night.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner and his assistants convened on campus at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night, discussed the order in which they wanted to call recruits based on stature and time zone and then spent the next few hours on the phone with prospects across the country. Although Pastner acknowledges being the first to call seldom will be the decisive factor in landing a recruit, he feels pressure to make the midnight calls each year since he knows his competitors will be.

“It’s part of making sure you have all your “i’s” dotted and your “t’s” crossed,” Pastner said. “It’s like in July when you’re out recruiting and you’ve seen a kid so many times that you don’t need to evaluate him anymore, but you’re there watching him anyway so nobody can say you weren’t there.”

USC assistant coach Bob Cantu understands the pressure other staffs feel not to let anyone outwork them, but he said the Trojans traditionally have waited until morning to call recruits the first day phone contact is permissible.

For Cantu, being the first coach to show interest in a prospect isn’t nearly as important as having the time to talk to him or his family peacefully for 20 minutes. As a result, he’ll often wait three or four days after phone contact is allowed before using the USC staff’s lone permissible call to a recruit for the month.

“If I was a parent, I wouldn’t want my 16-year-old son to be called at midnight by a college coach,” Cantu said. “I think there’s too much put on being the first one to call. If a player gets 10 calls in an hour, he’s probably not going to remember much about all the calls.

“The right thing to do is have respect for the family and make sure you’re calling at an appropriate time.”

Preach on, Bob. I’m with you. Call the kid at 8 a.m., coaches. My kid is going to be in bed at that hour.

WHO ELSE WAS UP LATE?

Brian Flinn, one of the new writers for the National Hoops Report, sampled some of the top players in the class of 2013 and asked who they had talked to. Here’s what he dug up:

Troy Williams – Duke, Louisville, Northwestern, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Alabama, DePaul, and Oklahoma State.

BeeJay Anya – Duke, Miami, Maryland, Rutgers, Florida, Georgia tech, Virginia Tech, UVA, Indiana, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, and N.C. State.

Brannen Greene – UGA, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Tennessee, Duke, Wake, Alabama, Xavier, Florida, Virginia Tech, Stanford, Ohio State, Harvard, Ole Miss, Kansas, Indiana, OK State, Louisville, DePaul, South Carolina, and Seton Hall.

Isaiah Lewis – Florida, Florida State, Texas Tech, Miami, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, West Virginia, and Villanova.

Brian Bridgewater – New Mexico, Texas Tech, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, Arizona, LSU, and Alabama.

Isaiah Hicks – Wake Forest

Jahmel Taylor – Penn, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Maryland, SMU, West Virginia, USC, Washington, Washington St., Oregon, UNLV, Colorado, Stanford, and Northwestern.

NBA TOP 100 CAMP IN FULL SPRINT

The Top 100 camp sounds like a tremendous event this year. That doesn’t surprise me. It is my favorite event of the year. The match-ups at the camp are intense. The talent is top-notch. Dave Telep spends the entire year looking for the best talent possible to be at the camp. He loses sleep on the process. Trust me. There is a level of seriousness and competitiveness that doesn’t exist at the show camps. You see the true colors of players at the NBA camp.

The stands are empty – just parents and media. There aren’t hype men on the sidelines. NBA players of today and yesteryear are working with the players. It is a hands-on event. The purpose is competitiveness, learning and getting better. The army of mix tape soldiers isn’t on the sidelines looking to befriend the teenage players. Players are playing to get better instead of finding fame on YouTube. You can’t ask for much more than that.

You know where to find the updates from Charlottesville. Read them. They are the most telling of who the players really are. Trust me.

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