Tag Archives: Recruiting

Needed changes coming to recruiting

22 Oct

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

The recruiting model for college basketball needed a change in a bad way. A change could be coming by the end of the month. Continue reading

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Inside the SEC: Oct. 11

11 Oct

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

“Madness” Festivities Kick-Off Season on Friday

The start of the college basketball season is nearly here, and teams can officially start practice this Friday. Nine teams from the SEC will get straight to work on Friday, while three schools Kentucky, Auburn, and Mississippi State have opted to have one more night of fun before getting down to business.

The three schools will all have some sort of “Madness” event on Friday night, giving their fans of preview of what to expect in the upcoming season.

Kentucky’s annual “Big Blue Madness”, which sold out Rupp Arena in just over ten minutes, will highlight both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Both teams will go throw drills and finish up with an intra-squad scrimmage.

Auburn’s “Tiger Hoops Madness” will include everything from an autograph session to a dunk contest. Both the men’s and women’s teams will also play an intra-squad scrimmage.

“It’s a great way to welcome back the guys and meet the new players,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “Get there early for a seat.”

While Kentucky and Auburn will focus solely on basketball, Mississippi State’s “Maroon Madness” will be an evening long affair.

The first activity will be the annual “Pumkinapalooza,” which is the football’s annual pep rally before playing South Carolina, in downtown Starkville. After the pep rally is over, Bulldog fans will be encouraged to attend the volleyball team’s match against Kentucky, in an attempt to set a new SEC attendance record. At the conclusion of the volleyball game, the basketball teams will get their shot on the floor of Humphrey Coliseum.

“There’s a lot of hype going into the basketball season,” the Director of Athletic Marketing, Chris Thomas said. “It’s the 100th year of basketball, so we really want to do something to kick off the season in true-maroon fashion.”

In an attempt to make sure The Hump is rocking Friday night, Mississippi State is giving away and iPad 2, courtside seats to a non-conference game, and $500 book scholarship.

Alabama’s Grant Talks New Faces; Gueye Injury Update

Not many coaches have the luxury of having JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell playing in the same frontcourt, but it isn’t all going to be easy for Alabama coach Athony Grant, who  will have to bring six newcomers into the mix as well.

Alabama’s high profile recruiting class featured shooting guards Trevor Lacey, Levi Randolph, and Rodney Cooper, point guard Retin Ojomoh, and centers Nick Jacobs and Moussa Gueye.

“We have got a lot of new faces. We have six new guys that need to learn the system, expectations, and each other,” Grant told Don Kausler Jr. last week before a speaking engagement. “We have to be able to blend the guys, who are returning, with the newcomers in a very quick order. But that is no different than any other college team is facing right now.”

Once practice starts on Friday, the Crimson Tide will have just over three weeks before their first exhibition game against Alabama-Huntsville. The first regular season game will be just four days later against North Florida.

Gueye, a 7-footer from Lake Land College, tore his ACL just after arriving in Tuscaloosa is a pickup game.

“I’m not a doctor, so it is really hard for me to judge where his is at, but I think he is progressing as expected,” Grant said. “And for his sake I hope he is able to continue on that path to a full recovery.”

Grant hope that the Gueye will be able to play later in the season, but he said it is too early to tell if that will be the case.

“It is way premature for me to even talk anything about that,” he said. “The biggest issue is getting him healthy, where he needs to be from a physical standpoint.”

Calipari Thinks Kentucky Is One Program State

Ever since arriving in Lexington, Kentucky coach John Calipari has not wasted a chance to throw a shot at the University of Louisville or Rick Pitino, but his latest jab may be the biggest yet.

While visiting the fans waiting in line for “Big Blue Madness” tickets, Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports TV caught up with Calipari to talk about how unique Kentucky basketball is.

“It’s a unique thing,” Calipari said. “There’s no other state, none, that’s as connected to their basketball program as this one. Because those other states have other programs. Michigan has Michigan State, California has UCLA, North Carolina has Duke. It’s Kentucky throughout this whole state, and that’s what makes us unique.”

Louisville coach Rick Pitino obviously didn’t like the statement and offered a not-so-subtle jab at Calipari in return.

“Four things I have learned about people in my 59 years about people. I ignore the jealous, I ignore the malicious, I ignore the ignorant, and I ignore the paranoid,” Pitino told Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com. “If the shoe fits anyone. Wear it.”

The two sides will play their annual meeting on December 31st at Rupp Arena.

Gamecocks’ Harris Out Four Weeks

South Carolina sophomore forward Demontre Harris is out four weeks after suffering a right big two sprain a little over a week ago.

The 6-foot-9 forward sustained the injury in a pickup game on September 30th.

Like the rest of the college basketball, the Gamecocks will begin practice on Friday, but their first regular season game is not until November 15th against Elon, so it doesn’t appear that Harris will miss any games. He could, however, miss the team’s two exhibition games against Kentucky Wesleyan and Western Carolina.

No Jail For Florida’s Larson

It appears as if Cody Larson is one step closer to rejoining the Florida men’s basketball team.

Larson will not have to serve any jail time for a violating his probation, when he and fellow Gator Erik Murphy were arrested in April. Instead he will face two more years of probation and his license is suspended for 120 days. He is also not allowed to consume alcohol or any other controlled substance.

Murphy was reinstated to the team last month, but Florida coach Billy Donovan refused to comment at that time.

Sina Opens Up recruitment

Jaren Sina, one of the better point guards in the class of 2013, is back on the market after de-committing from Alabama.

“Yes, I de-committed,” the 6-foot-1 guard from New Jersey told Zagsblog.com

According to reports, Sina was just not sure about his decision to join the Crimson Tide and wanted to check out his other options.

“I visited the campus a couple times and I still have a good relationship with the coaches and everything. I want to have the opportunity to get a better look at some other schools and some other options just to compare it to.”

While Alabama is still among his list of suitors, that list now also includes Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Johns, and Cincinnati, among others.

California Dreaming: How Arizona is taking over the Golden State

6 Oct

Photo: Getty Images

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report        

Just a few short years ago, legendary Arizona coach Lute Olson decided to hang them up. The Wildcats had reached new heights under their longtime head coach, and after controversy, illness, and a drop off in production, the team that had once made the NCAA’s 25 times in a row ceased to exist.

What was Arizona’s answer to replacing such a legend? Hiring Xavier coach Sean Miller.

Xavier has had a history of being a launching pad for good young coaches, producing the likes of Skipp Prosser, Thad Matta, and Miller. Within his first season as the new boss for the Wildcats, Miller had proven that Arizona would be a power on the recruiting trail, despite a disappointing 16-15 record that year.

While Miller has gotten top players from all over the country, recently he has set his eyes on the fertile recruiting area that is California. What makes this foray into the area more interesting is that fellow PAC-12 teams UCLA, Cal, USC, and Stanford all reside in the state as well, meaning the Wildcats are doing a lot of recruiting in their neighbors’ backyards.

The pipeline from California emerged this past season with Miller getting top point guard Josiah Turner to come to Tucson as well as fellow top 100 prospect Angelo Chol. Turner was the best player in the class of 2011 to come out of California, and Chol was the second best big man to come from the state. While those two should team with fellow freshmen Nick Johnson and Sidiki Johnson to form a solid nucleus this season, its next year’s class that have Arizona fans really excited.

Three top 50 players in the class of 2012 have already committed to Arizona, and all of them are from California. Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett are two of the top big men in the country as well as the two best players in the state. Gabe York is a talented combo guard who is the third best player and best guard coming out of California this season.

To put it bluntly, Arizona has put a stranglehold on recruiting California. It is worth mentioning that the Wildcats are also involved with center Robert Upshaw, the fourth best player in the state. While Upshaw seems to be a backup plan if Arizona can’t land Kaleb Twarzewski, it would be impressive if they were able to land the top 4 players in the state.

So why the sudden dominance of Arizona in California?

Stanford has had problems returning to the level they were once at when the Lopez twins were roaming the paint. USC is still dealing with controversy sparked by Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, and UCLA will always have the image of a team that doesn’t let its players reach their potential under Ben Howland. Cal is a solid program that has yet to make the jump to be a consistent contender in March, and until they do, it will be hard to lure in the top recruits in the state.

The recruiting area that is California is up for grabs right now, and Arizona is making a serious push to take over as the top dogs in the conference because they recruiting the state so well.

Look for Miller and company to continue to pull top prospects out of the state as long as he is the boss there. If the Wildcats can do that, it might be another 25 years before they miss the tournament again.

Big Visit Weekend & Commit Signal Harvard’s Arrival as a National Recruiting Player

27 Sep

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

When you think of programs that can recruit consistently at a national level while bringing in talented players a few schools come to mind. Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, Arizona, and more recently St.Johns, Florida, and Ohio State have all been able to draw top talent from all around the country to their programs.

While they aren’t going after quite the same talent level, schools such as Xavier, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, Butler and Gonzaga have been quietly expanding their recruiting territory to a more national stage over the past decade or so, causing the line between mid and high major to become more blurred than ever.

There is a new program that is attempting to join the elite mid-majors and take the next step towards becoming a top non-BCS program in their own right – Harvard. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: Sept. 27

27 Sep

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Texas A&M To Join SEC July 1, 2012

When the Southeastern Conference Presidents voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M several weeks ago, there was one condition, that the conference would not be sued by the Big XII or any of its member schools.

With the announcement Sunday night that the Aggies would officially join the conference on July 1, 2012, it appears that that condition has been met, although not explicitly stated

“On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence—athletically, academically and culturally.”

Texas A&M President R. Bowen Lofton offered up part of the schools reasoning for joining the SEC.

“The Southeastern Conference provides Texas A&M the national visibility that our great university and our student-athletes deserve,” he said in a statement released by the conference.  “We are excited to begin competition in the nation’s premier athletic conference.  This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically, and I believe the Southeastern Conference gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country.”

When the idea of adding a fourteenth team was brought up at Texas A&M’s press conference Monday, Commissioner Mike Slive said, “We anticipate being a 13-team league.” He did acknowledge that scheduling would be a challenge with the odd number.

“Clearly scheduling with 13 is not easy, and we’ll work through that,” he said. “But we will remain very thoughtful and very strategic about what we do in terms of further expansion.”

Georgia Signee Gets Go Ahead

Georgia’s top recruit Kentavios Caldwell-Pope has been cleared by the NCAA to suit up for the Bulldogs.

“The University of Georgia compliance office was notified by the NCAA on Tuesday that freshman basketball player Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been cleared to compete in the 2011-12 season,” the school said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Caldwell-Pope’s eligibility was in question because his mother’s cell phone bill was paid for by Tony Adams out of an unauthorized bank account. Adams coached the Georgia Blazers AAU team, which was sponsored by the Columbus, Georgia Parks and Recreation Department and apart of the EYBL.  Adams used the unauthorized account to pay for the phone bill as well as plane tickets for former USC linebacker and current Georgia player Jarvis Jones. Jones was declared eligible earlier this month.

“I am pleased that the situation regarding Kentavious’ eligibility has been resolved,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said in the statement. “Kentavious can now put these issues behind him and focus on becoming a better student-athlete.  We can all move forward in our preparations for the coming season.”

Earlier in the summer it was unclear whether or not the 5-star shooting guard would qualify academically, but the issue was resolved in early June.

Goodwin Gives Wildcats First 2012 Commitment

Archie Goodwin’s plan had always been to wait things out and sign in the spring, but after some deliberation the 6-foot-4 guard knew there was no reason to wait any longer.

The consensus top-15 player in the county gave Coach Calipari and the University of Kentucky his verbal commitment late last Tuesday night, becoming the first commitment of the 2012 class for the school.

“If you don’t know by now I’m a Wildcat,” he announced on Twitter.

The Little Rock native chose Kentucky over Arkansas and Memphis.

Not everyone in Arkansas was happy with Goodwin’s decision to head out of state, so he tried to explain his rationale to ESPN’s Dave Telep.

“That’s one thing that is the toughest. Growing up here and with so many expectations to go there, it’s been a lot of pressure,” he told Telep “Arkansas is a great school and I love Coach [Mike] Anderson and his staff. I love my state but it’s a business decision and this is best for my career and my family.”

It wasn’t playing time that Coach Cal promised the shooting guard; actually it was quite the opposite.

“Coach Cal already told me that it’s not going to be easy. I don’t want anyone to give me anything. I’ve worked for stuff my whole life,” Goodwin said. “I’m going to compete and that’s going to make me and my teammates better. I want to go work every day. From a competitive standpoint, it’s the best decision for me.”

The competition could be very still at the guard spot by the time Kentucky’s recruiting class is done. The Wildcats will we hosting the number one player in the country Shabazz Muhammad on October 14th for Big Blue Madness, and they have recently increased their recruitment of Gary Harris, another highly ranker shooter. That doesn’t even take into account the possibility of Doron Lamb, returning to Lexington for his junior season, either.

Goodwin has already spoken to several top recruits, including Harris, about joining him in Lexington. Coach Calipari and staff have quite the list of visitors headed to Big Blue Madness and there is no doubt Goodwin will be in the ear of all of them.

Poythress Down to Four; Walker Sets Date

One of the top forwards in the 2012 class, Alex Poythress, has narrowed his list of college suitors to Vanderbilt, Memphis, Florida, and Kentucky.

The 6-foot-8 native of Clarksville, Tennessee eliminated the Duke Blue Devils from consideration.

Another recruit who severeal SEC schools are hot on the trail of is 2013 forward Chris Walker. Walker announced on Twitter he would be announcing his college decision on November 15th.

The native of Holmes, Florida will choose from Florida, Connecticut, Kentucky, Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, and Memphis.

August 30th is national signing day?

30 Aug

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

Most everyone that follows college basketball recruiting looks forward to two dates: November 10th (start of the early signing period) and April 13th (start of the late signing period). Well everyone, Christmas has come early. Continue reading

Missing the point?

9 Aug

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

A few weeks ago I did a piece on how Dominic Artis to UCLA affected a lot of the point guards and programs in the class of 2012. Now another domino has fallen with Javan Felix announcing that he will be attending Texas next season. Where does this leave guys like L.J Rose, Ray Lee, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera? Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading

When opportunity arose, Cavanaugh took advantage

3 Aug

Tyler Cavanaugh took advantage of his opportunity in Orlando at the end of the evaluation period. (PHOTO: AP)

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

Not many people have heard about 6-foot-7 Albany City Rocks forward Tyler Cavanaugh, but that’s all about to change. Continue reading

King of the Hill

27 Jul

Florida PG Kasey Hill says he has connected with a local SEC school. (PHOTO: Scout.com)

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

ORLANDO — Kasey Hill is one of the top point guards in the class of 2013. He could one of the best point guard in the nation when it is all said and done. He can score the ball, is lightning quick off the dribble, and possesses   ridiculous court vision. All of these attributes where on display as Hill helped the Florida Rams Black squad dismantle the Boo Williams Summer League team 60-51 on Wednesday at the AAU Nationals. Continue reading

Just a Minute: July 25

25 Jul

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

College coaches are chasing kids all over the country and offering scholarships left and right. Oregon could be a sleeper to watch. High how can Brandon Ashley climb the rankings and just how good is the CBS Sports team of writers? Well, there’s a way to find out. Continue reading