Inside the SEC: July 12

12 Jul

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

College coaches are bouncing around the country recruiting this month. Where did coaches from the SEC go and who did they watch? We know. A big transfer, a coaching move, a big injury and a new name all highlight this week’s Inside the SEC.

Rapid Rewind Recruiting Style

With nearly a full week of the first evaluation period in the books, it is time to check and see who all the coaches from around the league were watching.

While entering July without a commitment for 2012, Kentucky is in on a lot of prospects, but the list of priorities seems to be shrinking. The players that John Calipari and staff seem to focus on most were Shabazz Mohammed and Perry Ellis. Calipari watched Ellis five times over a three day period. Mohammed has had a member of the Wildcats staff at almost all of his games as well. T.J. Warren of North Carolina seems to be a new name that the Wildcats are high on.

Alabama head man Anthony Grant was one of the first coaches at the LeBron James Skills Academy, the reason Marcus Hunt and Jimmie Taylor. Hunt is a 2012 wing prospect out of the state of Georgia, and Taylor is a 2013 center prospect that already holds an offer from Auburn. Alabama commit Jaren Sina had to make his future coach proud, by burying a game-winning three pointer with Grant in attendance.

Auburn’s Tony Barbee also checked in on Taylor in Akron as well as evaluating other young players.

South Carolina’s Darrin Horn split time between the Adidas Invitational and LBJ Skills Academy. One of the prospects he was checking out was Bryce Johnson. Johnson, a slender power forward out of the Palmetto state is also considering several other SEC schools.

Only in July will you find rival coaches sitting close to each other in small crowded gyms. Ole Miss’s Andy Kennedy and Mississippi State’s Rick Stansbury both spent Saturday at the Mississippi High School All-Star game, watching a ton of instate players including Devonta Pollard, who is considering both schools as well as UK and Alabama. Mississippi State and Ole Miss not only had representation at the game, but also the practice of the South team, which Pollard played for.

Billy Donovan spent much of the week tracking New Jersey super recruit Kyle Anderson. The 6-foot-7 Anderson, who has the size of a forward but the court vision of a guard, is down to five schools including the Gators, Villanova, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and St. Johns.

Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stalling was in Indianapolis at Adidas and watched Alex Polythress and the Georgia Stars. Plenty of other coaches also made sure to catch a glimpse of Poythress, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Tennessee.

New Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin also made time to watch Poythress, while also heading up to Akron to make sure recruits have Volunteer orange on their mind, now that Bruce Pearl is no longer there.

Southern Select’s Charles Mann was the first prospect that Georgia’s Mark Fox watched in Indiana. Mann’s new high school coach at annual power house Milton High Dave Boyd said that the 6-foot-3 point guard from the Peach State is a top target for the Bulldogs.

Arkansas spent Sunday in Texas taking in the action including watching a loaded Texas Pro team that featured Danuel House and Danrad “Chicken” Knowles.

After a couple of frustrating years, Trent Johnson looked to build on the momentum of the 2011 recruiting class, by looking for this year’s Johnny O’Bryant at the LBJ Skills Academy.

Most of the coaches and their staffs will head to the EYBL’s Peach Jam Tournament that begins Tuesday in North Augusta, South Carolina.

Once Heralded Recruit Leaves Bulldog Program

John Riek was once considered the best center prospect in the country, but he never lived up to expectations and has now decided to transfer out of Mississippi State.

Justin Young goes in depth on how Riek  seeming came out of nowhere to take the grassroots scene by storm in 2008.

As a sophomore Riek played in 14 games, scoring a total of 17 points and grabbing just 18 rebounds.

Former Associate UT Head Coach Takes HS Job

Tony Jones took over head coaching duties for Bruce Pearl, during his NCAA suspension, but now Jones has a program he can call his own.

Last Wednesday Jones was named the head coach of Alcoa High School, located in Tennessee. He will also teach several heath and physical education courses.

“I am truly blessed,”Jones told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “I’m so excited about this opportunity. I get to keep my family in the area, I get to teach and work with young people in a classroom setting, and I get to coach in a special community at a great school.”

The Tornadoes finished last season 23-7, finishing the season with a 65-58 lose to Stone Memorial in the AA Region 2 semifinals.

USC’s Cooke Dislocates Ankle

With several transfers and the basketball future of Bruce Ellington uncertain, the Gamecock basketball team was already lacking depth. Now one of the more experienced players will miss at least the rest of the summer.

While playing in a pickup game last month Malik Cooke dislocated his right ankle, and could be out up to three months. Practice cannot begin until mid-October, so it doesn’t appear that Cooke will miss any time.

Last season as a junior Cooke averaged 9.4 points per game, while hauling in almost 6.5 rebounds.

Kentucky Player to Honor Deceased Uncle

Incoming freshman at the University of Kentucky Michael Gilchrist, has decided to change his last name to Kidd-Gilchrist, to honor his uncle.

Darrin Kidd passed away the day the Kidd-Gilchrist was set to sign his letter of intent with the Wildcats back in April.

Michael’s father, Michael Gilchrist Sr. died in back in 1996, when the 6-foot-7 forward was just three years old.

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