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2011 ORLANDO AAU NOTEBOOK (PART 3): GARY HARRIS IMPRESSES; JERAMI GRANT UPDATE & AQUILLE CAR TALKS RECRUITING & MORE UPDATES
By Alex Schwartz
As things begin to head towards the climax in Las Vegas the action in Orlando continues to heat up. More and more of the nation’s attention will turn to the sunshine state in the recruiting world. NBE continues to be ahead of the game with continued coverage from the land of Mickey. On Sunday the 17U pool play got going with an impressive slate of games while the 16U Super Showcase playoff action got underway.
Here are some player evals and recruiting updates from Aquille Carr, Gary Harris, Kennedy Meeks, Jerami Grant, Marcus Hunt, Robert Carter and Sindarius Thornwell to highlight the action occurring in Orlando…
Aquille Carr listed offers from Syracuse, Memphis, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Texas, LSU, Texas A&M, and Connecticut. His favorites at this point are Wake Forest, Syracuse and UConn.
“Memphis is coming at me the hardest,” Carr said.
The 5-foot-6 blur has not visited any schools yet, but did say, “Coming up I’m gonna try to get to Memphis and Syracuse.”
Carr, who is in Orlando with the Baltimore Stars, does not have a timetable for a commitment.
Jerami Grant has started to narrow down his school list, saying, “It’s like six schools now, yeah. I’m starting to cut it down.”
The half dozen finalists for the 6-foot-7 combo forward out of DeMatha HS and Team Takeover AAU are Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Texas, Oklahoma, Syracuse and Rutgers. Of those, he does “not really” have any favorites.
“All of them,” Grant said of who is recruiting him the hardest. “I had to narrow my schools down by who came at me hardest and like me the most and need me the most and that’s what I ended up with.”
Grant has visited Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and Oklahoma. Of his planned visits, he said, “Yeah, on the first . . . of August I’m gonna take a visit to Texas and I’m gonna take a visit to Oklahoma right after that. [I will] probably take visits to all those schools.”
On his timetable: “I’m trying to make my decision by my school year or towards the end of the summer.”
Asked if location will be a factor, Grant replied, “Yes, definitely, I kinda wanna stay somewhere close, but if somewhere better for me is farther that’s where I’m gonna go.”
He has always been a highly-regarded prospect, 6-foot-5 shooting guard Gary Harris continues to develop and improve. Also a standout on the football field for Indianapolis’ Hamilton Southeastern HS, Harris is a superb athlete who can flat out score the ball on the hardwood. Despite relatively odd form, he can shoot it quite well and has a nice pull-up jumper off the bounce. Harris can get to the basket off the bounce and finishes well at the basket. He can really defend on the perimeter and has a great build. Harris went up against Rodney Purvis on Sunday and not only outplayed his more highly touted classmate, he also led his team to the upset victory.
When first asked about his recruitment, Marcus Hunt said, “I’m still open, I’ll make a list in mid-August.”
The 6-foot-6 small forward with the Georgia Stars went on to list scholarship offers from Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Pittsburgh, UMass, UTEP, Miami, Clemson, Wichita State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Louisville. There are others who have offered him as well.
Hunt had a big game at the Peach Jam against Team Takeover and when college coaches could contact him in thew week after the event he picked up new offers.
Hunt has visited Georgia, Alabama and Georgia Tech. He said of planned visits, “Me and my parents [are] still talking about it.”
Hunt does not have a timetable for a commitment.
The knock on Sindarius Thornwell has been his consistency and effort. On Sunday night the 6-foot-3 shooting guard out of Lancaster (SC) had it working and scored the ball throughout. Thornwell is a touch undersized at the two and he needs to continue to work on his perimeter jumper, but he is a big-time athlete who can really get to the rack. He has good body control in the air and finishes well at the rim. Thornwell is another kid who has the length, build and athleticism to become a terrific defender. As is the case with his game as a whole, the question is simply how bad he wants it.
Robert Carter, quite simply, is a beast at the offensive end of the court. The 6-foot-8 PF can bang down low with the best of them and finish through contact. Carter has a thick, strong build and he knows how to use it to post up, carve out space and overpower defenders. As one of the Top Performers at the UA Summer Jam Presented by NY2LA Sports, Carter again showed in Orlando to be a superb offensive rebounder who gets to the free throw. Carter does have some face-up ability, but his bread and butter is bullying people with his back to the basket on the blocks. He needs to get better with his defensive rebounding, but Carter is a high-level big man.
Kennedy Meeks is one of the more fun kids to watch play. The 6-foot-8 center seems to really enjoy playing the game and is so nimble for his large size (260+ lbs) it is quite impressive. Meeks can really move for a big kid and he also has some good post moves to finish at the cup. He is a superb shot blocker with good timing on his jumps. Meeks is not the most athletic kid around and he could stand to lose a few pounds to help him increase his stamina, but he is one of the best bigs in the crop of rising juniors (Class of 2013).
Meeks holds offers from Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Miami, Maryland, North Carolina State, North Florida, Louisville, Clemson, and Tennessee. He is also hearing from Georgetown and others, specifically noting, “Everybody in the ACC [is] showing interest, but I’m just not sure of them that haven’t offered.”
Meeks’ most recent offers have come from Clemson, Miami and Tennessee. The West Charlotte (NC) High School standout said Maryland is recruiting him the hardest.
At this point, Georgetown is his favorite. He is “not sure” if he would commit on the spot to the Hoyas if offered.
Meeks has visited South Carolina and North Carolina State. He has planned a visit to Georgetown, which he thinks is in the beginning of August.
He does not have a timetable for a commitment.